They are beautiful, talented, award winners, famous celebrities, well paid and they are unarguably Nollywood’s top 5 actresses: at least, to me. Between them, they have over 200 movies to their credit and they are not quitting your screens anytime soon.
Top on the list is mother of four and wife to Capt. Matthew Ekeinde, Omotola Jolade-Ekeinde. Apart from being one of the most successful Nollywood actresses, Omosexy as she is popularly referred to by her fans is also a singer with an album (Gba,2006) to her name. She is also involved in extensive charity work in Nigeria and abroad especially as UN ambassador. Omotola’s claim to fame in Nollywood is her role as a sickle cell patient who fights for survival in the movie “Mortal Inheritance (1995)” which is still regarded as one of Nigeria’s best movies ever filmed.
Omotola who has acted in blockbuster movies such as “Games Women Play”, “Blood Sisters”, “All My Life”, “Last Wedding”, “Ties That Bind” and recently “Last Flight To Abuja” had her beautiful white wedding aboard a DASH 7 aircraft flying from Lagos to Benin in April, 2001. Nobody has been able to match that feat till date as far as celebrity weddings in Nigeria is concerned.
Following closely on the list is petite single mother of one and face of Range Rover SUVs in Nigeria, Genevieve Nnaji (MFR). Genevieve who was born in Mbaise, Imo state started her acting career as a child actress in the then popular television soap opera “Ripples” at the age of 8 and will later go on to star in over 80 Nollywood movies.
For this former “Face of Lux” in Nigeria and winner of Best Actress in a Leading Role award at the 2005 African Movie Academy Awards, acting is a passion. She has appeared in such movies as “Most Wanted”, “Last Party”, “Mark of the Beast”, “30 Days (this film received 10 nominations at the African Movie Academy Awards in 2008, including Best Picture, Best Art Direction, Best Screenplay, Best Edit, Best Costumes and Best Sound)”, “Beautiful Soul (this film received 3 African Movie Academy Award nominations for Best Screenplay, Best Soundtrack and Heart of Africa)” and “Mirror Boy” amongst others. Besides being an actress and face of various brand products, Genevieve also has a music album “One Logologo Line, 2004” a mix of R&B, Hip-Hop and Urban Music.
She is rumored to share the spot of ‘highest paid actress’ in Nigeria with Omosexy and wait for it, referred to as the “Julia Roberts of Africa”, what other comparism could be greater? Genevieve who has a clothing line “St. Genevieve” launched in 2008, donates its proceeds to charity.
Third on the list is sultry and beautiful Stephanie Okereke from Imo state. This graduate of English and Literary studies from the University of Calabar was a runner up for the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria beauty pageant of 2002.
Stephanie who is a graduate of the New York Film Academy was involved in a serious car accident that left her with burns all over and a broken leg back in April of 2005 is also a script writer, director and producer. This winner of the 2006 Afro Hollywood Award for Best Actress has acted in movies such as “Blind Justice”,”Woman on Top”, “Sitanda (this film received 9 nominations and won 5 awards at the 3rd African Movie Academy Awards in 2007, including Best Picture & Best Nigerian Film)”, “Through the Glass (she wrote the script, acted in, directed and produced it)” and “Nnenda (received 3 nominations at the African Movie Academy Awards in 2010, including the nomination for Heart of Africa).”
Stephanie Okereke In April 2012 married Dr. Linus Idahosa in Paris, France, at a private fairy tale wedding ceremony that should unarguably be Nollywood’s most glamorous wedding in recent history. The union was witnessed by members of her family and scores of Nollywood actresses, actors and top government functionaries.
This list cannot be complete without the incredibly talented, witty and beautiful popular Yoruba actress and Glo brand ambassador, Akindele Olufunke Ayotunde simply known as Funke Akindele aka Jenifa aka Sulia aka gbogbo bigs girl.
This University of Lagos Law graduate and winner of the 2009 African Movie Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role who used to work in television before switching to cinema, became known for her starring role in the family-oriented Nigerian television show, “I Need to Know.” She has gone on to appear more in yoruba flicks such as “Apaadi”, “Leyin Igbeyawo”, “Amiwo”, “Iwa”, “Maami” and the most popular and successful “Jenifa trilogy.”
Funke asides being an actress, is a producer and married to popular Oshodi big boy Alhaji Kehinde Oloyede Al-maroof. The wedding ceremony which was in three parts (Nikkai, Traditional and white wedding) was attended by a few specially invited guests in May, 2012.
Last but certainly not the least is Mercy Johnson Ozioma popularly known as Mercy Johnson who burst into limelight with her role as a possessed house help in the movie “The Maid, 2004.” What most don’t know is that had Mercy not failed her JAMB exams, she wouldn’t have found her way to Nollywood. So, I guess we have JAMB to thank for unearthing this bundle of talent in the most mysterious way yet.
For this native of Okene in Kogi state, growing up was tough as she had difficulties paying her school fees most times. She also reveals that she worked as a house maid to survive but today, the story is different for this winner of the 2009 African Film Award for best supporting actress.
Mercy Johnson has appeared in movies such as “Married to the Enemy”, “Keziah”, “Corporate Maid”, “Clash of Twins”, “Royal Tears” among other numerous flicks and is married to Prince Odianosen Okojie.
Now you got it, who else do you think should have been in this exclusive top 5 list of Nollywood actresses?