REIGNING QUEENS OF NOLLYWOOD
Long before them, we've had Liz Benson and Regina Askia and just when fans thought they would reign forever, Omotola, Genevieve Nnaji and much later Rita Dominic and Uche Jombo emerged.
But unlike a kingdom where a queen or king has to be dead or deposed before another emerges, Nollywood is making room for new queens . The new queens cannot be said to be on the same level but none is a push-over.
Here is Sunday Sun's list of emerging queens.
Ever in the news for the “wrong reasons”. She started her acting career in 2000 with a role in The Moving Train but another movie, The Maid launched her into stardom and fame. Her meteoric rise in Nollywood is as dramatic as the story of her life. She started life hawking pure water and living in a house with a leaking roof, because things were difficult.
With determination and the ability to play any role and with her boldness, Mercy is laying a major claim to the industry.
Since her appearance in Thick Madam in 2003, Inibong Edo Ekim hasn't looked back. Before other queens emerged, many predicted she could replace Genevieve Nnaji. She hasn't replaced the movie queen, but she has carved a niche too strong to ignore for herself. With a degree in Theatre Arts from University of Calabar , Ini is well known for romantic roles which she delivers effortlessly.
She has proved that short people can also rise in Nollywood. She started very late between 2005 and 2006. Her sojourn in the industry did not start until after her role in The Next Movie Star ( a reality show on TV )in 2005 . She did not win, but she was the star among the contestants. Starring alongside Jim Iyke, and Desmond Elliot in Holy Cross, Tonto started getting attention and today she has mastered the art of make- believe despite her degree in Petro-Chemical Engineering from University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt .
After posing topless and almost nude in an advert, Halimar Abubakar's acting career almost came to an end. With dogged spirit and humility she asked for forgiveness and amended her ways. Halimar got a second chance and she is determined not to slip again.
She started acting in 1999 and gained popularity and with persistence , she regained her place and has been the most consistent supporting actress in Nollywood in recent times.
It appears unfair to put Monalisa in the category of new queens of Nollywood, because she has been there for a while. At least she was, when Genevieve and Rita were starting out. She is still far from the top, though not deep down on the ladder. She started her acting career with Pregnant Virgin in 1996 but was neither here nor there until she appeared in Heaven's Gate much later. Her beauty and delivery as well as support from her ex-husband gave her the leverage to compete with the new entrants and she is gradually laying claim to her place in Nollywood.
Nse Ikpe Etim
She was that Ramsey Nouah's “wife” that wowed all in Reloaded and right after that she delivered perfectly in Guilty Pleasure. Nse's profile is rising fast. Her inner beauty and talents plus impeccable delivery is making ways for her.
She is the leading light of the Yoruba genre and her foray into the English genre has helped in etching her name in the list of reigning queens of Nollywood. Funke sells movies with her looks. She is a producer of note who pays attention to detail. Her fame received a boost after the release of Jenifa. Her yet to be released jobs include The Ransom, Daso Fujo, Omo Ghetto and Return of Jenifa. Funke is to the Yoruba genre what Mercy Johnson is to the English genre and now that she is placing a stake in the English genre, things can only get better.
Forget the controversy about how genuine or ingenuine her law degree from UNILAG is. One thing you can't argue about now is that the plus-sized Adaora Ukoh is fast becoming a super sub in Nollywood. Though, we've not been seeing her in any lead role, one thing she is doing so well is playing the supporting role in the industry and she is doing it well.
She is not that regular, but her performance in every movie she features in is too strong to ignore. With pockets of English movies and soaps to her credit , Doris Simon Adenimokan is fast becoming a factor to reckon with both in the Yoruba genre and English soaps. She played the lead role in Peace Anyiam Osigwe's GRA Women which many predict would generate maximum buzz.
At first nobody gave her a chance. She is from the Yoruba tribe and was a little bit stiff when she started and to cap it all she won't play ball with producers. After years of telling everyone that she can act and upping her game in every production, Rukkie finally got her place of honour among her colleagues and she is today Nollywood's alternative lead act . She made a very good impression in Lethal Woman, Guilty Pleasure, and Obscure Motive and has done over nine jobs since the year began. She is fast becoming a versatile producer too.