June 16, 2010

KODJOE’S TIME HAS FINALLY COME

In tennis, patience is an attribute that could play a significant role in the outcome of a match. A player needs patience to fight through unforced errors, patience to figure out the opposition's weakness and patience that the shots will eventually drop.

With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that patience has played a key role in the career of former VCU tennis standout Boris Kodjoe.

After starring for the Rams from 1992-96 and graduating with a marketing degree, Kodjoe launched a stellar modeling career, which quickly led him to the bright lights of Hollywood. He spent years acting in supporting roles on television shows like "Soul Food" and "The Steve Harvey Show", movies such as "Love and Basketball", "Surrogates" and "Brown Sugar" and even an appearance on Broadway in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof".

It wasn't until recently that the former Ram got his break when landed the role of Steven Bloom, a recalled CIA agent, in NBC's upcoming fall drama "Undercovers", directed by J.J. Abrams (Lost, Alias, Felicity).

"Success in Hollywood is very random," Kodjoe said. "You have to be patient and stand in line for a long time until your number is called. There's no such thing as overnight success out here. The drive to keep wanting to get up every time you've been pushed to the ground really keeps you going and that's what led me to this point in my career."

When Kodjoe found out about the newest project from Abrams, he was eager to get involved.
 
"Everybody in Hollywood was curious what his new project would be," Kodjoe said. "I hate to sound cliché but when I read the part I thought it was made for me and believed it was my turn. I had to read for the part like everyone else, but once he called to tell me the part was mine, I was extremely excited."

His newest acting role is just one of Kodjoe's many endeavors. He is also teaming with his brother Patrick, a former VCU basketball star, on a new clothing line, ALFA, which provides customers with an opportunity to design their own hand-made dress shirts.

"Patrick was the one that discovered this concept and it's taken us about four years to really get it to this point, but we're both really excited about the future of ALFA," Kodjoe commented.

Kodjoe wears many hats, but being a husband and a father is his top priority.

"When it comes down to it, my acting or modeling adventures are secondary behind my wife and kids," Kodjoe said. "Being a father and a husband is the biggest role I'll ever land."

However, if things played out like he thought they would, life might be a bit different for the Baden-Württemberg, Germany native.

"It's really funny looking back because I didn't imagine staying in school that long," he said. "I thought I might stay a year or so then return to Germany. Once I got to the States, I realized how much I was benefiting from being at VCU. It really opened my eyes and made me aware of the opportunities that lay before me once I got my degree."

It was Paul Kostin, the VCU men's tennis coach, who gave Kodjoe a scholarship to take the court for the Black & Gold and opened up a world of opportunities.

"Boris is one of the most talented people I've ever met," Kostin said. "He's good at everything. I'm really proud of everything he has been able to accomplish. He's been a great ambassador for this University."

To this day, Kodjoe credits Coach Kostin with preparing him for everyday life.

"Coach Kostin is more than a great coach," Kodjoe said. "He was and is a mentor, father figure, friend, teacher and somebody I could always come to and rely on. He is very simple and to the point. He taught me discipline and commitment, always to be prepared and never to worry about things I can't control. I still find myself applying his teachings to my everyday life."

So while Hollywood may be 2,624 miles from VCU's campus, the lessons that Kodjoe learned while with the Rams are with him every day.

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