Nollywood’s hottest duo coming to town ( Genevieve Nnaji and Ramsey Nouah )
For you Nigerian movie fans, Genevieve Nnaji, the princess of Nollywood, is jetting in the country with her prince, Ramsey Nouah. If acting lovers could come to pass, the duo would be lovers. Genny and Ramsey are visitors of the Uganda Federation of Movie Industry and they will be the main guests for the forthcoming Ugandan film awards.
For all of you who want a piece of the couple, they will be hosted to a VIP dinner at Spectrum Restaurant at Theatre La Bonita, before they hand out accolades to winners on the first ever Uganda Film Awards the following day, and a big milieu of “meet the stars” at Ggaba Beach a day later.
According to Hussain Kagolo, the President of Uganda Federation of Movie Industry, an umbrella body that brings together film makers in Uganda, the Nollywood stars will jet in on November 20. The event will be sponsored by Video World Entertainment Centre.
But apart from the playboy we see in Ramsey and the love hungry Genevieve, who are these stars?
For Genevieve, her friends call her Gene, Vieve, and others simply “G”. Born on May 3, 1979, this star confesses to hating popularity.
“That wasn't what I set out for,” she says, “I set out to act because it's something I enjoy doing. But the fame came with it. It's there, the benefits are there, but that's not what I set out for and that's not what I'm doing here. I'm not here for the fame. I really do love my work,” she said.
Genevieve came to mainstream Nollywood around 1998 and has consistently won accolade after accolade in various fields of entertainment – in music and movies.
Her enigmatic appeal is exemplified in comments she receives from film fans such as one posted below.
“Genevieve, what can I say that people haven't already said to you. You are simply a goddess. You are so divine if I could meet anyone in the world for a day; it would be you. You are Africa's answer to all of those top Hollywood actresses. Just keep on shining girl. Love you.”
The Nollywood actress has become famous and curved a niche for herself as one of the greatest prizes from Nigeria, though very few people, especially those who see her as their idol, know how far she came to become a star.
As one Elvis Obaseki, a Nollywood movie producer narrates, there were times she was embarrassed and let down at auditions.
In particular, a story is told of when Genevieve wept bitterly after being told she could not travel to Benin to shoot a movie. The part was just a N1,500 deal. She begged Obaseki, who was the producer, to allow her act for free but he said nay.
Obaseki told Nollywood Reel, “Do you know that in this industry, some nine years ago, I priced Genevieve Nnaji for N1,500? She was begging, that it wasn't the money, she just wanted to be part of the job. But then I had to drop her when she already had her travel bag with her due to economic reasons.
He adds, “The simple question I asked myself then was this: “Why should I take this extra girl to Benin when I can get some girls just like her over there? And she actually wept over this. But in July 2004, Genevieve refused to work for $6,700. See the irony?”
Though at all scales she's the most prominent actress in Nollywood, Genevieve is also the most misunderstood actress there. She is a new breed of personalities – she's glamorous and an icon of every youngster and comes across as very confident; but Genny is also very impatient and does not talk about her daughter, let alone accept that she has one. Yet, she is also friendly and warm, independent minded, and not afraid to voice out her opinions.
Ramsey, whose full names are Ramsey Tokunbo Nouah Jr, was born on July 16, 1973, in Edo, Nigeria. He is of Nigerian and Israeli parentage. His father is an Israeli of Lebanese descent, while his mother is Yoruba, hailing from Owo, Ondo State. His middle name, Tokunbo, means Born Overseas.
Ramsey is one actor who has gotten used to answering questions about his ancestry over and over.
“Ramsey is my father's name. He's the senior. I'm the junior. That's why you have Ramsey Nouah, Jr. The Tokunbo was… Of course my grandmother gave it to me. That's my mother's mother. I adopted the name when I was having problems with the Nigerian government because they needed for me to get a passport, certain businesses registered and all that – they needed to know if I was a true Nigerian or a foreigner because of the name. So I had to adopt Tokunbo,” he explains.
You have probably watched him in Dancing Heart 1 & 2 (2006), Azima 1 & 2 (2005), The London Boy 1 & 2 (2004), Dangerous Twins 1,2 & 3 (2004), Mr. Lover Boy in Ghana (2004), Passion & Pain (2003), Church Business 1 & 2 (2003), Power of Love 1 & 2 (2002) and King of Money (1999) among the over 200 films he has made appearances in.
Before joining Nollywood as an actor, Ramsey was a hip hop artiste with future fellow actor Pat Attah. The pair would eventually star in the Nigerian soap opera Megafortunes alongside Regina Askia, who played their stepmother.
He has been dubbed “Lover-Boy” for his numerous roles in romantic movies. The actor, who describes himself as a risk taker, says life is all about risks.
He explains that he did not intend to join the acting business. It was a friend who told him he could act.
“She looked at me and said… “Ramsey, you're just an actor”. And I said “Me, Ramsey? Why would I want to act in Nigeria?” If I was going to act at all, it had to be in Hollywood. My idols at the time were Stallone and Schwarzenegger. My friend insisted that charity begins at home and I realised that if I was going to do something at all, I had to start from somewhere. I had to build it from somewhere.”
He started acting and has never looked back. “And so I started my road to fame, to stardom, to what I am, and what I've become today.”