Interview by { Rachel Hill

Edited by { Bonnie Davidson

Photography by { John Russo

Styling by { World of ALFA

Grooming by { Emily Moses using Shiseido and Laura Mercier

Born in Austria to a German mother  and Ghanaian father, actor Boris Kodjoe is the hottie who played Dr. Will Campbell on CBS’s Code Black and Damon Carter on Showtime’s Soul Food. Now, he’s smoldering as Captain Robert Sullivan on ABC’s firefighter drama Station 19, and also making custom-tailored clothing affordable to everyone as co-creator (along with his brother, Patrick) of fashion company World of ALFA. 

How did you prepare for the role of a firefighter on Station 19? 

As with any role, I needed somebody to talk to who lived the experience and could teach me about protocol and culture. We have an amazing fire tech advisor on set named Brian Cummings, who is a retired Los Angeles fire chief with 30 years of experience. He is my top resource on all things related to the job. He is always there to give me input and doesn’t hold his tongue when I mess up.

Have any of your previous characters and experiences helped to equip you for this role?

I think Captain Sullivan is somewhat related to Dr. Campbell in that they are both authority figures who demand discipline, professionalism and excellence on the job. I guess you could say that playing a brain surgeon has helped me prepare to play a fire captain. 

How would you describe your personal style?

My personal style is a combination of timeless classic and street. Depending on the occasion, I can be seen wearing a tux or some fitted jeans and a T-shirt. 

What item in your closet is your favorite? 

My favorite item in my closet this week is a pair of cargo pants by John Varvatos. I love his style and I’ve spent way too much money in his stores. 

You always look dapper on the red carpet. Do you dress yourself or do you work with a stylist?

With my traveling and shooting schedule, it’s sometimes easier to just throw on something. But recently I’ve been working with Harrison T. Crite, who is a great stylist out of NYC.

What inspired you to start your own custom clothing company?

My brother Patrick brought the concept to me a few years ago and we realized that there was a market for affordable custom suits. We are constantly working on optimizing the online design experience and giving our customers an opportunity to express themselves by way of customizing their suits and shirts without paying an arm and a leg. 

How did you come up with the name World of ALFA?

ALFA stands for Affordable Luxury For All. Traditionally, custom suits were too expensive for the average customer, but buying off the rack meant sacrificing either style or fit. We have found a way to offer the custom suits and shirts experience for off-the-rack prices.

How did you meet your wife, Nicole Ari Parker? 

We met in a working environment on Soul Food and became fast friends. I respect her so much as an artist and I enjoy working with her in any capacity because she always makes me better. Of course, it helps that she’s the love of my life. 

You have two beautiful children, Sophie and Nicolas. Sophie was born with spina bifida and, in turn, you started a foundation. Can you tell us about the organization?

The Kodjoe Family Foundation supports global health and wellness initiatives in multicultural communities, like pushing for fortification to reduce the number of birth defects like spina bifida. We recently partnered with GAIN, the global initiative for improved nutrition, to advocate for safe, affordable and nutritious foods for children in underdeveloped areas across Africa and India. Our mission is to put an end to malnutrition by 2030. 

What’s next for you?

My production company, Bluvoma, Inc., is producing various film and TV projects through our production deal at BET/Viacom. And we’re planning the next Full Circle Festival [in Accra, Ghana] to celebrate the “Year of the Return” [for African people around the diaspora].