Genevieve Nnaji

 

AFRICA

Genevieve Nnaji

Ranked #19 in Forbes magazine’s 2011 40 Most Powerful Celebrities in Africa list, Genevieve Nnaji is thought to be the highest paid and most sought-after actress in the Nigerian film world, known as Nollywood, today.

Nnaji was born in Mbaise, Imo State, Nigeria in 1979.  She grew up in Lagos, attending the Methodist Girls College Yaba.  At age eight, she began her acting career in the television soap opera Ripples, and was later featured in several commercials.  When she was 19, while studying Creative Arts at the University of Lagos, she made her film debut in the movie Most Wanted, and was so successful that she left her studies to continue a career as an actress.  In 2002, she starred in the movie Sharon Stone, which introduced her and Nollywood to the rest of the world.

In 2003, Nnaji created a web site, which became the most-visited Nigerian site on the internet.  The following year, she was chosen as the face of Lux beauty soap for sub-Saharan Africa, and she signed a recording contract with EKB Records, subsequently releasing the album One Logologo Line.  In 2008, Nani launched her own clothing line, St. Genevieve, which donates a percentage of its proceeds to charity.

Nnaji was the first Nigerian actress to be profiled on The Oprah Winfrey Show.  She was ranked fourth in a Marie Claire magazine article examining the most beautiful women in the world.  In recognition of her enormous contribution to the Nigerian movie industry, Nnaji was named Best Actress of the Year  in the 2001 City People Awards and in the African Movie Academy Awards in 2005.