Some actors and actresses across Nigeria and Ghana have grown from grass to grace and are now reckoned the movers and shakers of the film industry. However, only few like Genevieve Nnaji, Yvonne Nelson, Ali Nuha and others have been able to gain admiration from movie fans. PATIENCE IVIE IHEJIRIKA takes a look at some of them.
Maryam Booth who came into the acting scene at the age of eight is now the most talked about Kannywood actress. She came into the limelight with her hit movie Dijangala which was released in 2007.
Maryam, born on October 28, 1993, started her education in Ebony Nursery and primary school in 1996 with a play group, and in 2002 she went to Ahmadiyya secondary school where she is still schooling.
She has featured in several movies including, 'YarAljanna Ce-2010, Alawiyya- 2010, Burina (My Dream)-2010, Dijangala-2008 and Son Mai So-2012 among others.
Binta Labaran, popularly known as Fati Niger has emerged as one of the most successful singers in the Hausa film industry (Kannywood). She started as a lyricist for movies before she broke away as a diva in her own right, producing song albums.
She has made a name for herself in the industry and today, she is considered rich in the reckoning of the movie industry. She owns her own song and movie production studio in Kano, the industry's hub.
The most admired nollywood actress, Genevieve Nnaji, started her acting career as a child actress in the then popular television soap opera "Ripples" at the age of eight.
She was also featured in several commercials, some of which included Pronto beverage and Omo detergent. In 1998, she made her debut in the growing Nigerian film industry with the movie "Most Wanted."
Her subsequent movies--"Last Party," "Mark of the Beast," and "Ijele" (which is still considered to be one of her best epic performances) brought forth an icon to be loved and adored by many.
In 2002, she starred in the movie "Sharon Stone" and her fame shot beyond the shores of Nigeria to the rest of Africa and several European countries.
In recognition of her immense contribution to the Nigerian film industry, Genevieve was presented with numerous awards, some of which have been in Dublin, London, and the United States. She won best actress of the year in the 2001 City People Awards and in 2005 at the inaugural award of the prestigious African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA).
In 2004, Genevieve emerged as the face of Lux, gracing several billboards and television stations with her enduring smile and personality. The same year, she was contracted by a Ghanaian record label to record an album.
In a bid to give back to society, Genevieve in 2008, launched her clothing line, St. Genevieve, which donates a percentage of its proceeds to charity.
In 2009, Genevieve made history by being the first Nigerian actress to be profiled on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" (1986) on an episode about the most popular people around the world. Genevieve is believed to be the highest paid and most desired actress in Nollywood and she has starred in over 80 Nollywood movies and has numerous fans around the world.
Patience Ozokwor, aka Mama G is reckoned one of the most talented nollywood actresses. She came into the scene through the late Pete Eneh who had the opportunity of shooting a serial (Someone cares) for a television station and he gave her the lead role.
After her first movie in 1998, she was already being recognised by people. But when she did Authority (1999), the movie became very popular and it really shot her into limelight. After Authority, she has been moving from one movie set to another.
She has featured in over 200 movies including Turning Point, Missing Child, Personal Desire, and Act of Faith among others.
Nkem Owoh, popularly known as Osofia is a Nigerian actor and comedian. In 2008 he won the African Movie Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role.
Owoh was born in Enugu, Nigeria. After his primary and secondary school he headed to the University of Ilorin and studied engineering. Already during his university studies, Owoh began acting in various television and film productions.
He starred in the 2003 film Osuofia in London. He is also known for performing the song "I Go Chop Your Dollar" about advance fee fraud.
Yvonne Nelson is one of the most talked about Gollywood actresses. She got so much into music as far back as in Junior High School and she was inspired by famous musicians such as Lauryn Hill and Nasir Jones.
In the 2005 Miss Ghana Beauty pageant, she won the best talent award by performing a rap song which she composed and Miss Photogenic along with two other awards. With the exposure that accrued from the Miss Ghana beauty pageant, she won a two-year contract as face of Maxim Cosmetics.
Her acting career began in the famous series, Fortune Island, by Farm House Productions. Her first lead role was in the movie Princess Tyra, after which she had featured in over forty movies and still looking forward to making her fans proud.
In recognition of her hard work, she was nominated for the best Upcoming actress at the AMMA awards held in Nigeria, in 2007. She was awarded the best star actress at the Joy FM night with the stars and the best actress by the Nigerian Eye Newspaper in 2009.
In 2010, she was awarded Ghana's favorite actress. Being the first Ghanaian to star in a movie shot in Ivory Coast has really deepened her acting career.
Nadia Buari, a former child model, made her on screen debut in the hit movie 'Mummies Daughter' where she played a supporting role alongside Jackie Appiah and Van Vicker.
She was born in 1980, in Takoradi, Ghana, to Alhaji Sidiku Buari, a musician and producer, and Hajia Buari, a beautician. Throughout her elementary school education, Buari was an active member of her school's drama, and dance club. Following high school, Buari enrolled in the University of Ghana, Legon, where she majored in Fine Art graduating with a BFA degree.
Her role as Beyounce in the hit Ghanaian flick "Beyounce: the President's Daughter" that propelled her into the limelight. Buari has starred in over 20 movies so far and still counting.
Ali Nuhu,became a trend-setter being the only one to have successfully cut across the Northern and Southern axis of Nigeria as an actor.
He spent the highest number of his years growing in Yakasai, No Man's land and Hausawa areas of Kano town. He started his primary School Education in Riga Special Primary School, No Man's Land. He further went to Government Secondary Commercial School, Airport Road, Kano to attain his Junior Secondary School Certificate. He continued his education in Science Secondary School, Dawakin Tofa where he got his Senior Secondary School Leaving Certificate. He got a B.Sc. in Geography from the University of Jos and did his National Youth service in Ibadan, Oyo State after which he ventured into acting full- time.
Nuhu has featured in over 100 Hausa and 50 English movies and won 15 awards, with at least 10 from a competitive category.