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Genevieve Nnaji (/nˈnɑːi/;[1] born 3 May 1979)[2] is a Nigerian actor, producer, and director.[3][4] She won the Africa Movie Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role in 2005, making her the first actor to win the award.[5][6][7] In 2011, she was honoured as a Member of the Order of the Federal Republic by the Nigerian government for her contribution to Nollywood.[8]

Genevieve Nnaji MFR
Genevieve Nnaji in Weekend Getaway.png
Genevieve Nnaji in Weekend Getaway
Born (1979-05-03) 3 May 1979 (age 40)
Mbaise, Imo, Nigeria
Alma materUniversity of Lagos
OccupationActor, Producer, Director, Screenwriter, Entrepreneur, Former Model
Years active1987–present


Early life and education

Nnaji was born in Mbaise, Imo State, Nigeria, but grew up in Lagos. The fourth of eight children, she was brought up in a middle-class environment. Her father worked as an engineer and her mother as a nursery school teacher. She attended Methodist Girls College (Yaba, Lagos), before transferring to the University of Lagos, where she graduated with a bachelor's degree in creative arts. While at the university, she began auditioning for acting jobs in Nollywood.[7]


Nnaji started her acting career as a child actor in the then-popular television soap opera Ripples at the age of 8.[9] In 1998, at the age of 19, she was introduced into the growing Nigerian film industry with the movie Most Wanted.[10] Her subsequent movies include Last Party, Mark of the Beast, and Ijele.[9] In 2010, she starred in the award-winning film Ijé: The Journey. She has starred in over 80 Nollywood movies.[citation needed]

In 2004, Nnaji signed a recording contract with EKB Records, a Ghanaian record label, and released her debut album One Logologo Line.[11] It is a mix of R&B, Hip-Hop, and Urban music.[12]

In 2005, she won the Africa Movie Academy Award (AMAA) for Best Actress in a Leading Role, becoming the first actor to win the award.[13]

As of 2009, Nnaji was one of the best-paid female actors in Nollywood.[14][15] Due to her contributions to the Nigerian movie industry, she became the first actor to be awarded Best Actress at the 2001 City Peoples Awards, the award ceremony that previously had only recognized politicians and business conglomerates. She was also the first actor to be awarded as Best Actress by the Censors Board of Nigeria in 2003.[16] In 2009, she was referred to as the Julia Roberts of Africa by Oprah Winfrey.[17][18]

In November 2015, Nnaji produced her first movie called Road to Yesterday,[19] later winning Best Movie Overall-West Africa at the 2016 Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards.

In January 2018, it was reported that Genevieve would be replacing Funke Akindele as a member of the Dora Milaje in Marvel's Avengers: Infinity War.[20] This was later debunked as an internet prank and the actor did not appear in the movie.[21]

On September 7, 2018, her directorial debut Lionheart was acquired by online streaming service Netflix, making it the first Netflix original film from Nigeria.[22] The movie had its world premiere at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival.

Genevieve Nnaji is Nollywood's first billionaire since Netflix purchased her movie Lionheart for ₦1,385,100,000($3.8 million)[23].


Nnaji has featured in several commercials, include for Pronto (beverage) and Omo detergent. In 2004, she became the "Face of Lux" in Nigeria[24] in a highly lucrative sponsorship deal.[7] In 2008, Nnaji launched the clothing line "St. Genevieve", which donates its proceeds to charity.[6][25] In May 2010, she was appointed to be the official "Face of MUD" in Nigeria.[26][27][28][29][30]

Awards and nominations

Nnaji has received several awards and nominations for her work, including the Best Actress of the Year award at the 2001 City People Awards and the Best Actress in a Leading Role award at the 2005 Africa Movie Academy Awards.[5][7]

Toronto International Film Festival

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2018 Lionheart Grolsch People’s Choice Award Nominated

Africa Movie Academy Awards

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2005 Best Actress in Leading Role Won
2008 30 Days/Keep My Will Nominated
2011 Tango with Me Nominated

Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2013 The Mirror Boy Best Actress Drama/TV Series Nominated
2016 Road to Yesterday Nominated
Best Movie West Africa Won

Nigeria Entertainment Awards

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2009 Best Actress Nominated
2010 Silent Scandals Best Actress Film/Short Story Nominated
Guinness Ultimate Survivor Best Actress TV Series Won
2011 Tango with Me Best Actress Film/Short Story Nominated
2013 Doctor Bello Best Actress in Leading Role Nominated
2014 Half of a Yellow Sun Best Actress in Supporting Role Won
2016 Road to Yesterday Lead Actress in Film Nominated
Best Picture Nominated

Nollywood Movies Awards

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2012 Tango with Me Best Actress Leading Role Nominated
Herself Viewers Choice- Female Won

Ghana Movie Awards

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2010 Silent Scandals Best Actress-Africa Collaboration Won

Golden Icons Academy Movie Awards

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2012 Herself Best Actress- Viewers Choice Nominated

Nollywood and African Film Critics Awards (NAFCA)

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2013 Weekend Getaway Best Actress Leading Role Won

Zulu African Film Academy Awards

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2011 The Mirror Boy Best Actress Won

Monaco Charity Film Festival Awards

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2011 The Mirror Boy Breakthrough Performance (Actress) Won[31]

City People Entertainment Awards

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2001 Herself Best Actress Won

Best of Nollywood Awards

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2010 Silent Scandals Best Actress-Leading Role Nominated
2011 The Mirror Boy Nominated
Bursting Out Best Kiss with Majid Michel Won


Year Event Prize Recipient Result
2014 ELOY Awards[32] Brand Ambassador of the Year (Etisalat) N/A Nominated
2013 2013 THE FACE LIST AWARDS (USA) honoree[33]


Year Film Role Notes
1987 Ripples
1998 Most Wanted
1999 Camouflage with Ramsey Nouah
2001 Love Boat with Ramsey Nouah
Death Warrant
2002 Valentino with Ramsey Nouah
Fire Dancer Nene
Sharon Stone Sharon Stone
Runs! Adesua with Gorgina Onuoha
Power of Love Juliet with Ramsey Nouah, Grace Amah
Formidable Force with Gorgina Onuoha & Hanks Anuku
Battle Line with Ramsey Nouah & Pete Edochie
2003 Above Death: In God We Trust with Pete Edochie, Kate Henshaw-Nuttal, Ramsey Nouah, & Zack Orji
Blood Sister with Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde & Tony Umez
Break Up with Ramsey Nouah
Butterfly with Ramsey Nouah
By His Grace with Tony Umez
Church Business with Ramsey Nouah & Segun Arinze
Deadly Mistake
Emergency Wedding with Tony Umez
Emotional Tears Helen
For Better for Worse
Honey with Ramsey Nouah & Pete Edochie
Jealous Lovers Chioma
Keeping Faith: Is That Love? with Richard Mofe-Damijo
Last Weekend with Ramsey Nouah
Late Marriage
Love Anita with Richard Mofe-Damijo & Segun Arinze
My Only Love Angela with Ramsey Nouah
Not Man Enough
Passion & Pain with Ramsey Nouah & Desmond Elliot
Passions with Stella Damasus-Aboderin & Richard Mofe-Damijo
Player: Mr. Lover Man
Private Sin Faith with Stephanie Okereke, Richard Mofe-Damijo, & Patience Ozokwor
Sharon Stone in Abuja Sharon Stone
Super Love with Ramsey Nouah & Pete Edochie
The Chosen One
Women Affair
2004 Bumper to Bumper with Georgina Onuoha
Critical Decision with Richard Mofe-Damijo, Stephanie Okereke, & Mike Ezuruonye
Dangerous Sister with Tony Umez & Dakore Egbuson
Goodbye New York with Rita Dominic
He Lives in Me
Into Temptation with Ramsey Nouah
My First Love with Tony Umez
Never Die for Love
Promise Me Forever with Stephanie Okereke
Stand by Me
Unbreakable with Ramsey Nouah
We Are One with Stella Damasus-Aboderin
2005 Darkest Night with Richard Mofe-Damijo & Segun Arinze
Games Women Play with Stella Damasus-Aboderin, Desmond Elliot, & Zack Orji
Rip-Off with Ramsey Nouah
2006 Girls Cot with Rita Dominic & Ini Edo
30 Days Chinora Onu with Segun Arinze – this film received 10 nominations at the African Movie Academy Awards in 2008,
including Best Picture, Best Art Direction, Best Screenplay, Best Edit, Best Costumes, and Best Sound[34]
2007 Letters to a Stranger Jemima Lawal with Yemi Blaq, Joke Silva, and Segun Arinze
Keep My Will
Warrior's Heart
Unfinished Business Nkem
Winds of Glory Juliana
2008 Beautiful Soul Olivia this film received 3 African Movie Academy Award nominations for Best Screenplay,
Best Soundtrack, and Heart of Africa[35]
Broken Tears with Van Vicker, Kate Henshaw-Nuttal and Grace Amah
Critical Condition Ify
River of Tears Yvonne with Kate Henshaw-Nuttal, Van Vicker, and Grace Amah
My Idol
Love My Way Kayla
2009 Silent Scandals Jessie with Majid Michel & Uche Jombo[36]
Felicima Felicima with Alex Lopez[37]
2010 Ijé: The Journey Chioma Opara with Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, Odalys García, & Clem Ohameze[38]
Tango with me Lola with Joke Silva
Bursting Out Zara Williams with Majid Michel, Nse Ikpe-Etim, Omoni Oboli, & Desmond Elliot[39][40]
Mirror Boy Teema with Osita Iheme[41]
2011 Sacred Lies Isabella with Olu Jacobs, Desmond Elliot, & Nadia Buari[42]
2012 Weekend Getaway with Ramsey Noah, Ini Edo, Michael Okpara
2013 Half of a Yellow Sun Ms. Adebayo with Chiwetel Ejiofor, Thandie Newton, Onyeka Onwenu, and OC Ukeje
Doctor Bello with Isaiah Washington, Vivica A. Fox, Justus Esiri, and Stephanie Okereke
2014 The Truth with Olisa Guest TV Series
2015 Road to Yesterday Victoria with Oris Erhuero and Majid Michel
2018 Lionheart Adaeze Also the Director and Writer



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External links