Aspiring Issaquah actor aims for L.A.

March 1, 2011

By Laura Geggel

Achombom “Jude” Tunyi caught the acting bug in kindergarten, and now at age 15 he is raising funds for the largest audition of his life: the International Performing Arts Conference, a chance to meet agents from around the world.

Achombom 'Jude' Tunyi

Always an outgoing child, he took part in a tutoring commercial in sixth grade, and played a sea captain for the Issaquah Middle School play “Treasure Island” in seventh grade. He channeled his acting skills into leadership roles, volunteering as an eighth-grade Associated Student Body representative, an activity he still participates in, especially during the Issaquah High School morning announcements.

Learning the skills of acting “just got me involved,” he said. “I got to speak and say my mind to people.”

Jude has a lot to share. A native of Cameroon, he moved to Issaquah with his family in 2002.

At school, Jude excelled in public speaking, and gave a graduation speech in eighth grade before he and his classmates moved on to high school.

“It was really my passion,” he said. “I just wanted to get more confidence in public speaking.”

Now a sophomore, Jude still participates in ASB, but he has also returned to acting. For the past six months, he has taken classes at the Barbizon School of Modeling & Acting. He did so well, his acting teacher encouraged him to audition for the International Performing Arts Conference, held from June 23-26 in Los Angeles.

Of the 1,000 people who came to a Lynnwood audition, only 15 progressed to the next level. A talent scout recognized Jude’s potential, and invited him to the conference, where he could meet representatives from California, New York, Japan and Europe who are looking for actors, models, singers and dancers.

When his father learned his son had made the cut, “I was so happy. I was so proud of him,” George Tunyi said.

His mother, Justine Tunyi, pursued acting as a girl in Cameroon, and studied it at college.

“I just discovered that I had this passion inside of me to act,” she said.

When she learned her son felt the same way, she gave him her full support. Even in kindergarten, “I was amazed at how he mastered the script very well, understood his part,” she said. “Everyone said, ‘You have an actor on your hands.’”

Jude has the skills and the determination to pursue a career in acting, Zynn Jones, the director for the International Performing Arts Conference, said after consulting with Jude’s acting coach.

“IPAC is a venue for young actors like Jude to meet with agents and managers in Los Angeles in June,” Jones said.

Before he flies south to the Golden State, Jude has to raise a minimum of $6,000 for registration and conference fees. Once entered, Jude will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of competitions, including swimwear, fashion print, TV beauty commercial, monologue and TV sitcom.

If he raises additional money, he could compete in the TV soap, fashion runway and trendy runway competitions for $75 each.

“I’ll be able to get my foot through the door,” he said.

Sponsors who donate $100 or more will have their names or businesses listed on the IPAC program.

Jude aspires to work in commercials or film because it would give him a wider audience than in theater.

Even with his acting career taking off, Jude said he still plans to concentrate on his grades, spend time with his siblings — 19-year-old Robert Tunyi and 13-year-old Thelma Tunyi — and enjoy his job refereeing youth basketball at the Issaquah Community Center.

How to help

Sponsor Jude Tunyi’s trip to Los Angeles. Send a tax-deductible check to help Jude go to the International Performing Arts Conference. Make checks out to International Performing Arts Academy and send to IPAA 369 Sutter St., Second Floor, San Francisco, CA 94108. In the memo section, write ‘For the Benefit of Achombom G. Tunyi.’

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