Josiah Eloi, a UWE Bristol drama graduate, has been hiding a big sparkly secret for months.
He’s landed a starring role alongside the charismatic Michael Bublé in Asda’s recently launched Christmas advert.
Bringing a touch of magic to our screens, Josiah plays Michael’s Chief Quality Control Officer in the ad, now being broadcast into millions of homes in the run up to the big day.
Josiah graduated with a BA (Hons) Drama and Acting at UWE Bristol in 2020, signing with an agent in his second year – he’s been auditioning for parts ever since.
Filmed during a heat wave this summer, Josiah says he’s been staring at pigs in blankets and Christmas trees since July.
“I went through a long casting process for this role,” said Josiah. “Initially, I had no idea who the director or star involved were. A few days after I had been cast, I had a phone call and found out everything.”
To Josiah’s amazement he learnt that Michael Bublé was starring, and actor and filmmaker Taika Waititi was directing the advert and had personally picked Josiah for the role: “This was incredible for me. Taika directed the last two Thor films and wrote, starred, and directed my favourite film, JoJo Rabbit. This was a full circle moment. He's also Rita Ora's husband which is really fab.”
Josiah had the pleasure of working alongside Michael for three days; he made time to get to know the cast members which Josiah says really made the experience very special: “I can honestly say Michael is lovely. After the shoot he came out in trainers and jeans and had a drink with us all. We just hung out. I was sitting next to him on my phone when he was facetiming his wife.
“He made the effort to find out who I was and check out my socials before meeting me. My Christmas dinner brag is Michael Bublé has seen my Instagram!
“By the end we were chatting about films, what he was having for dinner and my go-to takeaway. He also gave me a load of advice and taught me how parts of the industry worked.”
Christmas adverts from the UK’s biggest brands are always hotly anticipated, and Josiah says this opportunity is like gold dust for an actor: “To know I have been a part of a Christmas advert, in a great role alongside a legend, really is incredible.
“I didn’t go to Drama School when I was young, my car falls apart all the time and I still forget what day the bins go out. So, to be thrown into this world is one of the most exciting things that’s ever happened.
“It was also incredible getting to see how all the behind-the-scenes stuff works – how sound producers mix things, how video editors cut it all together. I mean, I had no idea TV cameras were the size of small horses.”
Josiah is currently starring in pantomime in Portsmouth and will finish six consecutive months of Christmas work on 31 December.
But, despite being in such demand, Josiah continues to return to where he learnt his craft.
He regularly returns to UWE Bristol to offer advice and to take workshops with current students: “I truly had a brilliant time at UWE Bristol,” he said. “The world is really big, and I battled a lot with finding my feet after university. I always come back to talk to students and give as much advice as possible.
“I think it's so important for students to understand that UWE Bristol is not only a tool to learn your subject but also a tool to teach you about yourself. This was what UWE Bristol Drama was for me.”
Josiah moved to London for acting work last year but plans to buy a narrow boat in Bristol so he can live between the two cities.
September 2023 marked the 21st anniversary of the first students enrolling on the single honours BA Drama course at UWE Bristol.