STEADY AND RISING: THE STORY OF OMONI OBOLI, NSE IKPE-ETIM
• Omoni Oboli
For Omoni Oboli and Nse Ikpe-Etim, it has been a bumpy and conscious journey to the top of Nollywood. They might not be your typical commercial stars, but they have been able to rise to the top of their game without taking the conventional Asaba and Enugu market route.
Omoni and Nse have been very selective in the kind of scripts they accept, and have been near perfect in executing them. As a matter of fact, Omoni has been the lead act in two of the three most commercially successful movies in Nigerian cinemas. Nse, on the other hand, has been the choice of producers outside Asaba market, who want a different kind of interpretation.
These two acts have been rising and consistent with their choice of movies over the years.
In the case of Omoni Oboli, she got into acting at an early age, having developed a passion for acting at the early age of three. She got into Nollywood in the mid-90s and starred in her first movie in 1995. After the successfully kick-starting her career, she had to go through the challenge of breaking into Nollywood after a lull of 10 years. It became very difficult to get a role in any movie. But this all changed as she was fortunate to meet with Emem Isong and Lancelot Oduwa Imasueun. After these meetings, the roles started pouring in.
Her rise to prominence began in 2007 when Rivals, a movie she co-produced with her friend, an acclaimed model, Blessing Effiom, won the coveted price for the Best International Drama at the New York Independent Film & Video Festival. It was the first Nigerian film to be premiered since the festival's inception in 2003. She gained further prominence when she starred in Kunle Afolayan's Figurine in 2009. This took her to the peak of her career at the time. She also featured in Anchor Baby, which was her first international film at the time. At present, she is set to hit the set again, this time in the Ukraine, where she is about to become the first Nigerian to star in a movie in that country.
Apart from being an actress who brings dignity, poise, class, smooth delivery and extreme professionalism to the varied roles she had played, Omoni Oboli is also a script writer with several intriguing screenplays to her credit.
Nse Ikpe-Etim can be described as the silent tsunami, as she took the whole of Nollywood by storm. Starting out from a humble background, the graduate of theatre arts from the University of Calabar, who is also a script writer, began acting on stage at the age of 18 and later came into full acting when she acted in a soap opera Inheritance, 10 years ago. After this, she left acting for 'other things' and was involved in broadcasting, selling male clothes, and working as representative for a company. She later got back into the movie world by taking part in the production if Venom of Justice. But even at the time, she still felt that acting full time was not yet for her. Again, she left to pursue a career as a banker.
But with pressure from her friends, Jetta Amata and Emem Isong, she returned to the movie industry and began script writing for Jetta. Her big break came when she starred in Reloaded. Her performance caught the attention of the AMMA jury and earned her a nomination for the Best Actress Category in the 2009 AMAA Awards. This was an unprecedented development as it was her first major role in a flick. With this, the world took notice of Nse Ikpe-Etim.
After recording such a tremendous feat, she has now starred in two more movies, Edikan, a film acted in Ibibio language, and Memories of the Heart, both of which are due for release later in the year, or first quarter of 2012. Nse Ikpe-Etim can be described as a passionate writer whose dialogues are apt and filled with humour, and during her spare time she also writes articles for magazines and newspapers.
Looking at these two sultry and highly successful actresses one can rightly say that their struggles have not been in vain, and that quality has come to stay in Nollywood.