• Name: Lenny Kakou
  • Age: 19
  • Lycée : Lycée Technique du Centre
  • Hobbies : Theater, sports, philosophy
  • Key strenghts : Focus and stress management
  • Motto: "Don’t let other’s behaviour towards you impact how you gonna behave towards them”


What motivated you to take part in Take Off?

"As soon as I heard about the casting, I knew it was an opportunity not to be missed. I'm passionate about theater and movies, and I’d love to be an actor. That's all the incentive I needed."

In fact, Lenny is already an actor: he successfully passed an initial casting call for a luxembourgish production that has been put on hold for the time being. And as we all saw in episode 7, Professor Nado Tor has enough to convince any audience.

Was Take Off what you'd imagined it to be?

Lenny has his own answer: "No, not really. I thought it would be much more physical, like in the first episode. That we'd need our strength to solve certain challenges. In fact, it was very theoretical. It's a pity for me because I'm quite sporty, it could have been useful."


Did you think you'd get this far?

"Let's just say I had the ambition to win, without knowing if I was going to make it. But without that ambition, I wouldn't have succeeded in so many challenges. I need that motivation to give my best; if I started out defeated, I know I'd lose my nerve. In fact, on the day I lost, I felt that morning that my ambition had diminished: I no longer believed in myself. The outcome didn't much surprise me."

What was your favourite challenge?

Lenny answers straight away: "The one about the magic cube (Editor's note: episode 3, "Communication"). When it was given to us as a gift by the members of the jury, after the casting, I knew it would be important, and that I wouldn't forget the solution. When I saw that the challenge was about this cube, there was no doubt in my mind that I was going to come out as the winner. Nobody would be able to solve it faster than me."

A tailor-made challenge for Lenny, who is very athletic and whose logical mind never ceases to impress during the show.


And which challenge did you find hardest?

The question made Lenny laugh: "The one about chemistry (Editor's note: episode 9, "Chemistry"). I'm not good at chemistry, and I really didn't understand a thing about that challenge. I was so happy to be part of a team at the time. On my own, it would have been a disaster!

What strengths of yours helped you during the show?

"Firstly, my ability to put aside the stress - sometimes very intense during the moments of waiting, in between episodes - and focus entirely on the task when the time came. In general, my mind tends to go in all directions, and the waiting times really raised the tension. For some candidates, losing was a real relief, as they were finally able to enjoy the experience. I was under a lot of stress, as were the others, but when the time came to start a challenge, I was able to completely block out the fear and let my brain do its work. Like an on-off button.

And the manual side of things? "I'm not a born scientist," replies Lenny, "I'm more interested in philosophy and sports. However, I do a lot of DIY around the house, fixing things, doing a bit of plumbing... Fortunately, I was already familiar with the tools we had at our disposal."


What advice would you give to those who want to take part in the next season of Take Off?

"Go for it, whatever your scientific knowledge! There's no need to be afraid of the theoretical side of the show. It's designed for young people aged 15 to 21, so it was clear to me that the level of science wouldn't be the same as that required in university... The challenges are tough, but solvable through logic. I myself have never particularly excelled in science; I'm good at philosophy and languages. It's logic that has enabled me to move forward. You just have to stay focused, think calmly, and you'll be fine."

What do you do for fun?

"Besides acting, I do a lot of sports (10 years of handball, amongst other things), and I spend a lot of time with my brothers and sisters. Family is very important to me. My little sister is a year and a half old, and I love looking after her."


Do you already know what you'd like to do after high school?

"Two things: to study psychology, so as to help others overcome psychological problems and teach them resilience. And also, of course, to be an actor; to make this a real professional project. But I'm also interested in filmmaking and editing. I've learned a lot from talking to technicians and videographers backstage, about all the steps involved in getting a film to the screen. There's so much work behind each production, you can only imagine the tip of the iceberg!

Lenny's talent has already found takers: he and Sonia have been spotted and selected by the Fondation Jeunes Scientifiques to interview candidates for the "Jonk Fuerscher Contest 2024". We look forward to seeing Lenny on the other side of the mike.

Lenny also has an idea of where he'd like to live: "In the long term, I'm planning to settle in Côte d'Ivoire. I was born in London, grew up in England and Luxembourg and lived in Belgium, but in truth I'm Ivorian and half my family still live there. I want to get back to my roots. " 


Interview: Diane Bertel

Editor: Lucie Zeches (FNR)
Photos: FreeLens and Brainplug 

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