A New Body, Mindset & Lifestyle
Photography::: Dennis Madigan | Cover::: NDO Champ | Jewelry Stylist::: Mike Nekta of Leon Diamond
Rolls Royce::: Thiago Bethonico of R/T Auto Center | Creative Director::: Gabriela Panduru
Interview::: Billie Blunt
“It’s a lot going on in the world, so I use my pain and my struggle to entertain the world.” - NDO Champ
BBM: Your success as a professional bodybuilding champ and a social media celebrity is being highly celebrated right now! How would you best describe your incredible success story?
NDO CHAMP: It’s amazing, amazing, amazing! It’s amazing because one day you’re cleaning the toilet and the next day, God is blessing you. I kept working and working and stayed patient, knowing that God will bless me. I was just waiting for my time. God time. I waited 14 years to get a check from this. Success is all about happiness and loving what you’re doing.
BBM: Where did your famous signature walk originate from?
NDO CHAMP: It just came from me living in a character. I remember doing a video, I was training a client and I said let me put myself in the shoes as if a personal trainer or an instructor had dedicated his time, his efforts, knowledge and wisdom into a client that he believed in and put him through a 60 day transformation where we’re going to do right! So you put him into training and you even invest an extra hour into him, then you tell him to go home. But then you say let me drive behind this client to see if he’s going to stay committed to his diet and routine. So I watched a client walk into Dunkin Donuts and got a box of donuts. It was my hurt and my anger that made me walk through that door and just kicked that shit out of his hands! You can’t stay committed for 5 hours? And that’s how the walk came about. I didn’t know that I was doing the walk because I was just mad. The video ended up getting millions of views with ESPN posting it, SportsCenter posting it! People started calling me, telling me that people are doing the walk! I was like, “What walk?” It’s just something that came naturally.
BBM: Your signature walk is very entertaining. We know that you’re a true professional in lifting, fitness and nutrition, but do you also see yourself as an entertainer?
NDO CHAMP: I see myself as an entertainer who motivates people. You know what I’m saying? It’s a lot going on in the world, so I use my pain and my struggle to entertain the world. Making people laugh is how I get my therapy; it’s how I get through life. Then I’m going to tap into your mind and your frequency. I know your life might be in a dark place right now, but you’re breathing and you have two hands: GET UP!
BBM: Absolutely, Champ! I’ve even seen Flavor Flav try to imitate your signature walk. Which famous person imitates your walk the best?
NDO CHAMP: Flavor Flav was one of the most natural that I’ve seen. I wasn’t ready for it. God is doing something! I’ve never seen Flavor Flav and for this man to say, “You’re the one who do the walk,” that’s amazing to me. Every time a celebrity shows me the walk, it’s amazing to me, man!
BBM: Right now people see your success. People see the accolades you are given. But your childhood in Liberia was greatly different from your current lifestyle. At 9 years old you were seeing brutal wars and poverty in your homeland. I was riding my dirt bike and playing basketball in the park at 9 years old. What was going through the mind of a 9 year old while witnessing extreme poverty and war in Liberia?
NDO CHAMP: It started when I was 3 years old when my father left and never came back. So I was looking through the window wondering when my pops is going to come back. People was dying over hunger. People didn’t even have money to bury them. No food. No water. No hospitals. The hospitals and schools were burnt down! Stray bullets were killing people. People was dying from hunger pain and people was vomiting with worms coming from their mouth! So I had to go to the bushes and hunt. My dad wasn’t there! I got two brothers and two sisters that I had to babysit and help take care of them. So while kids were playing with bikes, we were ducking bullets!
BBM: As a young boy in Liberia, were you aware of how average 9 year olds in America were living or was your lifestyle the only image that you had in your mind?
CHAMP: I didn’t know of anywhere else. I didn’t know that America existed. A lot of people were moving to Ghana and Nigeria. My mom said that we ain’t running nowhere. We stayed in our neighborhood and protected our neighborhood. I never seen a toilet. All I knew was the creek, water and a mud house. We didn’t have a TV to watch. Sometimes we would go to the bushes to play some soccer and when they started shooting, we would duck.
BBM: How old were you when you arrived to America? And what was your opinion of America when your mother brought you here?
CHAMP: I was 16 years old. My uncle told me when you first get to America you’re going to see money dropping from the tree. People will walk up to you and give you clothes so you don’t need to take any clothes with you. So when I got off the plane at JFK on January 19th, it was cold as hell! My grandfather forgot where he had parked the car and he left the winter coats in the car! Now I’m freezing outside! I said damn man, this is America, man!? I’m taking my butt back to Africa! (LOL) So when we started driving through Manhattan, I was like, yeah this is beautiful. As I’m looking through the window, I’m like yeah, we finally made it! When we drove through the tunnel and got to Brooklyn and he parked the car, I said grandpa, where we at? He said that we’re at the house! I said, “House?” There was crackheads in front of the house. A church house was across the street. A liquor store next to the church house. A bodega next to the liquor store. There was prostitution going on while kids play basketball in the street and drug dealers running back and forth. My grandfather had a church in the basement. He had that church for 20 or 30 years. He said that he’s been on that block for years and nothing ever happened to him and he’s not going anywhere. I said, “DAMN!”
BBM: You came to America with the mindset of doing the right thing. You went to school to learn, but was a victim of bullying. You handled it. You got a job at Wendy’s to make some legal money. You handled it. But then you was falsely accused for a crime, which changed your whole life. What took place?
CHAMP: Coming to America at the age of 16 from Africa is like being the chosen one. All of your friends never experienced America. It’s 16 hours away. You’ve never seen airplanes, never seen cars because you are from the swamp. So now when you to America there’s a lot of pressure on you. You have an opportunity to go to the greatest country in the world and become somebody. - Don’t forget about us. So now when I come to America the first thing that I see is poverty and I tried to adjust to it. People was donating clothes to us. I would wear red shirts, blue shirts and get jumped in the neighborhood. I would constantly get jumped in the neighborhood for wearing the colors. My grandfather would tell me to not fight back because you would get deported. How many times can you let a man put hands on you and disrespect you before you get tired of this shit!? So it messes with you mentally and you say enough is enough! All of the 16 year olds grew up together. They went to daycare together. They went to grade school together. Now they’re in high school together. I’m from a different country from the 3rd grade straight to the 9th grade. I was lost! I didn’t know what they were talking about. I was lost! So my moms moved us out to Newark. It was a one bedroom apartment for $650 for the 5 of us. I was great at playing soccer but I wanted to put my career to the side so I can help my mom pay the bills, so I took this job at Wendy’s. I was making $5.15 per hour and bringing home $120 every two weeks. I would buy some white rice, sardines, peppers and bread and make something for my brothers and sisters to eat. So now I’m bringing checks home. One day I’m going to cash my check and the police pulled me over, asking me where’s the drugs at! C’mon Champ, drugs? I’ve been in America for one year, brother. I don’t know anyone to sell drugs to. It’s just me, my mother, sisters and brothers. So they put the drugs on me and said that you’re going to eat this one. I was 17 years old at the time. They knew that I had one month before turning 18. They let me stay there until I was 18 and took me to the big prison where there was murderers and drug dealers and some doing 20 years to life. My mom didn’t know where I was at. My job fired me by the time I got out. So now I was like damn....It’s time for y’all to catch me now. I’ve been a great child all my life. I went back to school and they kicked me out for missing some days. I started hanging with my homeboys and we got into some trouble. I got locked up in the Feds. As I was sitting in my cell, I said this is not my life. I got my family depending on me. My homeboys back home is depending on me. I gotta do better, man. I told God to give me one more chance and I’m going to make you proud.
BBM: What challenges did you have to face when you reentered society?
CHAMP: First thing, you have to cut all your friends off. Everything was the same. Everyone was doing the same thing as before. I was thinking what can I do different. It was very tempting for a man. Just coming home and the kids are hungry and I can’t even buy them milk. Society doesn’t trust you. Everytime you go to a job interview and they ask if you’ve ever been convicted of a crime. The moment you say yes, they say no, we can’t hire you. So I created a company called Helping Hand. It was a moving company.
BBM: Now you’re a successful social media influencer who can’t walk down the street without being recognized by a fan. You used to have police officers looking to arrest you; now police officers stop you to ask for your autograph. How would you describe the feeling?
CHAMP: It just makes you cry inside until a tear drips down your eye. Damn, I used to be inside that police car. Now a detective pulls me over and apologize and says that he’s a fan, his wife is a big fan, his kid is a big fan! Sorry for pulling you over, Champ! That feeling is like Wow!
BBM: You’re also admired by other celebrities. One of my favorite celebrity collaborations is between you and Michael Blackson. Hilarious!! How did you get connected with Michael Blackson?
CHAMP: I tell people all the time the more you work on your craft the more you’re going to work towards the people who is already there. They’re just waiting for you. It took me 10 years to get there. Patience is the key. Me and Mike had instant chemistry. It was all love from the beginning.
BBM: Your energy is very high powered! In your opinion, who has a personality that can match or come close to the energy of your personality?
CHAMP: (LOL) Man, that’s hard! Everybody that I work with, I keep in contact with them. I’ve become a fan of their work. Like my boy, Kali Muscle! We go crazy! My boys Michael Blackson and Big Boy! We go crazy! So many people I’ve worked with and everytime we get together it’s just great. When people raise up, I gotta raise the bar. That’s why some people don’t wanna work with me because they fear that their fans will love me more. But I don’t wanna outshine my brother; I’m going to let my brother be himself.
BBM: While your videos may be entertaining, your content sends an important message. What’s the Champ’s message when it comes to a healthy diet?
CHAMP: If you’re not eating healthy, you’re dying. You’re dying slowly. You’re being selfish. Your body is like a vehicle; you have to maintain it. Any lack of discipline and lack of commitment is going to cause damage to your body. During the pandemic, everybody that had money, had fancy cars and had jewels, at the end of the day, they couldn’t buy good health. Now your kids are wondering why you went so early. We need to start with some good food, some organic food. We need protein. Wake up in the morning and get yourself a smoothie, a banana, oatmeal, blueberries, salmon, egg whites, chicken, wheat pasta. Stay away from white bread. And drink lots of water to flush out your system. When you feel good you look good. When I step into a room of millionaires and billionaires, I’m wealthy! They can drop $20,000 in the bank, I go to the gym and drop 20,000 reps! That’s why I’m so confident! That’s why I’m so cocky!
BBM: You’re also serious about helping the kids in disenfranchised communities. Let’s talk about that. What is your organization about?
CHAMP: NDO NATION. It’s a nation of greatness. NDO, No Days Off Nation! I train my brothers around me to practice what you teach. These kids see poverty but when they see us, they see positivity. I give them confidence, hope and someone to trust and push for. Some kids don’t wanna go to school because they don’t have the proper clothes, the proper Jordans and proper book-bags. So my sponsors who are wealthy and got success, I let them know what I’m doing for the kids. We get $10,000 for the sneakers, another sponsor brought his ice cream truck, another sponsor told me to come pick-up his American Express and buy food from the restaurant. We get protein shakes for the kids. Community wealth is all about uplifting your community.
BBM: How can people volunteer with your organization to help push your movement forward?
CHAMP: I post everything that I’m doing. I post on Instagram. I also post on YouTube so people can see what I’m doing. The goal is to build a recreation center and a soccer field in Africa for kids who lost their mother and father in the war. I want to help the kids in the ghetto who live in America too. We just dropped an album for the kids in Newark called The Other Side. The Mayor called and said that we need to do something dope for the kids in Newark because people always think about the wild side of Newark. They only see the ghetto and the shootings. So I came up with the name, The Other Side. I wanted to talk about the talent, the rappers, the people in college. I thought they forgot about it, but I went to the release party the other day. The album is called The Other Side.
BBM: Give me some exclusive information. What project will you be working on soon?
CHAMP: BB Magazine needs to know that I’m working on something big! I’m working on something with Netflix. I also have the 1 million followers party coming soon! We started with 1 follower. That first follower was me. I was the first one to like my picture!