Back in June 2014, I was busy looking for a job — any job as long as it was in media. I was lucky enough to bump into an internship advertisement on the iHub blog. It was by Destination Magazine. I had been a fan of the magazine for many months prior to this discovery. I loved the fact that they interviewed big Hollywood celebs…Tyler Perry, Zoe Saldana, Avril Lavigne, Taraji P. Henson…you name them. They had all appeared on the covers of a Kenyan magazine whose HQ was in Karen.
Having given it a shot, I got a six months internship and the rest is history. The month I joined the magazine, Nikolaj Coster–Waldau (popularly known as King Slayer) was the cover of the magazine. This was in July. I had never heard of him but his cover story was a warm welcome into the media world.
Fast forward to this year, I met the widely acclaimed actor in person.
On Sunday 5th March 2017, Hollywood star Nikolaj Coster — Waldau was in Nairobi for a very important occasion. Popularly known as King Slayer in the hit HBO series Game of Thrones, Nikolaj was in town for charity.
He was a referee for the first ever African Global Goals World Cup held at Impala Grounds, where inspiring adolescent girls and women played to raise awareness of the global goals. The initiative seeks to build a movement for change to see lasting improvements in the lives of girls.
24 teams from diverse backgrounds were joined by artists, other celebrity referees, government dignitaries and civil social officials for this action-packed afternoon. Among the other high profile attendees were US ambassador to Kenya Bob Godec, Danish Minister for Higher Education and Science Ulla Tørnæ as well as United Nations dignitaries.
The teams playing were charged with loads of zeal and passion as they battled it out in the tournament. Nikolaj oversaw two games before doing a short press conference and interviews. His uniquely different personality makes him come across as a charming guy, with virtually no celebrity ego…he kept interacting with fans, taking selfies here and there and chatting with his hosts in between.
The star was named a UNDP Goodwill ambassador back in September 2016 and is big on campaigning against discrimination against women and girls as well as championing for climate action. Nikolaj expressed his love for Kenya, describing it as a nice place that he would like to visit in the immediate future accompanied by his wife and two daughters.
Some of the lessons I got from his tour is that he is a really chilled guy. Throughout the event, he would interact with virtually everyone. From the United Nations officials to the local players to the visiting fans. He took loads of selfies with them. Not to say that his security wasn’t tight but this guy left an impression.
His humility goes hand in hand with the fact that he grew up in a small village in Denmark. Having become a world renowned Hollywood star doesn’t make him full of himself.
The other major lesson I got from him is that he is keen on what he does. He is passionate about being a UNDP ambassador as he is in film. That’s why he was active throughout the sessions. The other thing that stood out is the fact that he loves Kenya. Back in 2014, he did an interview with a local magazine and still intends to visit the country soon. That shows how he loves the country.
Here’s a video from King Slayer’s visit!