If you’re like us, you’ve probably wondered what famous people add to their carts. Not the JAR brooch and Louis XV chair but the stain-remover pen and the tongue cleaner. We asked actress Bukky Bakray, who is nominated for the BAFTA EE Rising Star Award for her performance in Rocks, about the notebook, band tees, and snacks she can’t live without.
Plantain chips are my favourite thing in the world. Plantain is a part of my chakra; it makes me feel so much better as a person. On this job I’m doing now, I’m up in Birmingham. I hadn’t been here before, and I hadn’t had plantain in such a long time. I was feeling low. One of the producers found some for me, and my mood changed instantly, and I realised why: This is what my heart needed. It’s a healthy snack, well, relatively healthy, it makes me feel good about myself. It’s sweet; I don’t have a sweet tooth, but I love plantain chips. Some brands try to be a bit fancy and add sweeteners or other seasonings, but this is the classic. Exotic Crisps. You pick these up in newsagents and corner shops, you can sometimes get them in Tesco, too. I’m back in London next week, and I’m going to pick up ten packets to bring back to Birmingham with me.
I write down everything in here: life, career, research. I don’t journal my life, but more what I’m inspired by. I always say that I want to make films, I want to create stuff; sometimes a scene will pop into my head and I’ll just quickly jot it down. I have a really bad memory. But I’m always taking notes from conversations and things, so I can go back over it later and reference it. I have one of these Silvine black notebooks in constant rotation; when I finish one I buy a new one straight away and put everything down in it. I always get the same brand, the same size, and always in black. I saw Issa Rae say that she had a big board featuring everything she wanted to do by the time she was 30, so I started to do that, too. I want to speak it, manifest it into existence.
When I went on my whole fitness journey, the two things I started doing religiously were going plant-based and skipping. I used to go to the gym too, but obviously since the pandemic that’s not been possible. Before that point I had found running unenjoyable, I just knew in my heart it wasn’t for me. Skipping is such a fun thing to do, and it works the whole body. I had a cheaper rope that cost £4 but it broke so I invested in a slightly better one from Nike. I can take this with me really easily if I’m away for work because it’s easy to put in my bag, and I can fit a 20-minute exercise in around my schedule. I’ve clocked that exercise really makes me feel good, too, so I am disciplined enough to do some after work or in the morning.
I just love water. I hate juice, Robinsons, that kind of thing. I’ll maybe drink orange or apple juice but sometimes it gets a bit sickly, so I’ve always been a water girl. Because my parents are Nigerian, I feel like, coming into this country, they had lots of plastic bottles of water. I think it’s something to do with the thought of having water from a tap. We’d have so many plastic bottles in the house.
But this brand is environmentally friendly, the cartons are cardboard, which you can recycle. It allows me to have what I want while still being nice to the rest of the universe. It’s gotten to the point where I have to be on it when it comes to being hydrated, otherwise I get a headache and I feel my body gets really deficient. If I don’t get enough water I’m like Flappy Bird. I saw a friend with the bottle once, and then when I was at the Co-op, I bought a pack. Then someone told me, “You know that’s Jaden Smith’s water brand?” I was like, “What?” And the biggest benefit is the skin. I have acne-prone skin, and my skin looks so much better when I’m hydrated.
I actually got these off my brother first. Music is so important to me, it’s what I use to explain myself, so I have to have good earbuds. On this job I’m doing now, I recently lost one of my Airpods. I thought I was going to have a breakdown. I never found it, sadly, but I did manage to go around with just one for a while, until I headed back to London and picked another pair up. Sometimes when I don’t have them to hand, for whatever reason, I just hold my phone up to my ear and listen that way. Right now I’m listening to a lot of A Written Testimony by Jay Electronica. The only annoying thing about pods is when you lose one, you don’t even notice. You can’t just walk to the store and buy a single new one. With wires, you can just pick up a pair. I love how small and efficient Airpods are, but if I lose another one I’m going back to wires.
Because I’ve had such a journey with my skin, I have tried absolutely everything. And not just skin products — I’ve tried potatoes, tomatoes, egg, avocado, olive oil … all to treat this and that over the years. But shea butter is so perfect for me, it makes me feel really warm and it’s so consistently good. I use it for my hair, my skin, nails, I use it for everything. There’s a song by Ari Lennox, “Shea Butter Baby,” and when I heard that for the first time I was like, “Yep, that’s how I know this is my thing.” I bring it everywhere with me. You can find it everywhere. Shea butter is the holy grail.
I’m not into anything branded. I’ve been having to dress up a little ahead of the BAFTAs, doing panels and meeting people over Zoom. But I don’t have any garments, I just have a lot of black tees. It’s what I feel most comfortable in, I just like something graphic, or music-related. I have a Jay-Z tee, a Tupac one. I’m dying to get my hands on that Red Hot Chili Peppers logo tee, because everyone I know has that and my brother won’t let me have his.
I had to include this book. I actually read it after I saw the film. But the book means a lot to me, and I’m a serial rereader, so if I like a book, I’ll always come back to it. I had read other books by James Baldwin, and I don’t know why this book hasn’t made it into mainstream curriculums, frankly. I’ve had a weird relationship with literature generally because in school we did the usual stuff, Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, and I really fucked with that stuff, too. But I was just tired of reading all of that. I wanted to read more Baldwin, bell hooks. People from a different race, gender, sexuality, or class. I wanted some range, essentially. So I guess because of that, I didn’t like reading in school. But now, I’m getting introduced to all these authors and what’s out there, and it’s just … wow. It feels like there’s a place in the world for me, in literature, to get lost in. This book made me fall in love with the idea of being in love.
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