You know that you are destined for greatness when studying law at an institution such as Harvard is a mere stepping stone in launching two totally different and successful careers. But that was the case for David Otunga, who just happens to be a World Wrestling Entertainment superstar and Hollywood actor with a law degree.
No bar need be lowered for this Elgin, Illinois native as Otunga passed the ultra-difficult exam to become a lawyer and land a job at the famous Sidney Austin law firm – who also have none other than Barack and Michelle Obama as fellow alumni.
“I loved my three years at Harvard Law School,” recalls Otunga, 32. “I learned so much about analytical thinking and problem solving that has helped propel my success ever since. I was involved in many clinical programs, including Harvard’s Criminal Justice Institute, which allowed me to represent indigent clients in the Roxbury Municipal Court. It was one of the most fulfilling experiences in my life.”
In 2007, Otunga was able to live out another dream when casted on VH1’s “I Love New York 2” as the character Punk. “I grew up always wanting to be an actor and took drama/acting classes my whole life,” he added.
But the athletic Otunga had been hitting the gym seriously for over a decade and was also a big wrestling fan, being inspired by such big names from the 1980s and 1990s such as Hulk Hogan, Randy “Macho Man” Savage and Brett “The Hit Man” Hart. He was eventually picked up by the WWE in 2010 for their new NXT division, which featured rookies and their veteran mentors.
Otunga was paired with R-Truth and eventually turned ‘heel,’ (which for you non-wresting fans means a bad guy) as part of a group called The Nexus. He became one half of the WWE tag team champions on two separate occasions after joining the main circuit and continued to receive small screen attention by being on “106th & Park,” “The Wendy Williams Show,” “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” “Oprah’s Life Class,” “Celebrity Ghost Stories,” “The George Lopez Show,” “In Session,” “Morning Express,” “The Vinnie Politan Show,” as well as CNN and HLN Headline News.
But Otunga’s big break came when he had the opportunity to audition for “The Call,” a major motion picture starring Halle Berry and directed by Brad Anderson. He nailed the role of Officer Jake Devans in the film, which was released on March 15, 2013 and has grossed over $40 million as of this writing.
Being so well rounded, intelligent and personable, the 6’, 230-pound Otunga conjures up chatter of another popular WWE superstar who has enjoyed success in the squared circle and silver screen, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
“The Rock is another one of my inspirations, but rather than becoming the next anyone, I will become the first David Otunga,” he says. “A successful wrestler, actor, lawyer and entrepreneur. It will take dedication, continued hard work and vision. It’s my goal and I am pursuing it with everything I have.”
Photos Courtesy of David Otunga