Nigeria: Genevieve Nnaji - the Actress With a Lion Heart

Genevieve Nnaji in Lionheart
18 September 2018

Genevieve Nnaji was born in Mbaise in the 1979 but had her education in Lagos state.

She made her acting debut as a child actress in the 90s soap opera Ripples when she was just 8 years. During that period, she also featured in Omo detergent as well as Pronto beverage advertisements.

She, however, made her Nollywood debut in the film Most Wanted. She was only 19. But her breakthrough came in 2002 when she acted in Sharon Stone in 2002. Nnaji would go on to act the epic film, Ijele and Mark of the Beast.

In 2003, Nnaji opened the first website by a Nigerian actor. She also became the first actress to be awarded Best Actress by the Censors Board of Nigeria.

In 2004, she became the popular Face of Lux soap. That same year, she was awarded a singing contract by a Ghanaian record label for an album titled One Logologo Line.

In 2005, she became the first actress to win the Africa Movie Academy Award (AMAA) for Best Actress in a Leading Role.

In 2008, she launched her clothing line St. Genevieve. In May 2010, she was chosen as the official Face of MUD in Nigeria.

The following year, the Goodluck Jonathan administration honoured her as a member of the Order of The Federal Republic.

In 2009, she featured in Oprah Winfrey's special episode Meet the Most Famous People in the World. Oprah Winfrey described her as the "Julia Roberts of Africa".

In September 2018, Nnaji's directional debut Lion Heart became the first Nollywood film to be bought by the online streaming service, Netflix. The film debuted at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and has been nominated for the Grolsch People's Choice award.

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