Genevieve Nnaji, (born May 3, 1979) is a Nigerian actress. In 2005 she won the African Movie Academy, Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role.
CNN states that she is referred to as the “Julia Roberts of Africa”.
Nnaji was born in Mbaise, Imo State, Nigeria and grew up in Lagos, Nigeria. 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 teacher. She attended the Methodist Girls College Yaba before heading onto the University of Lagos. While at the university Genevieve began auditioning for acting jobs amongst the many Nollywood projects.
Nnaji started her acting career as a child actress in the then popular television soap opera” Ripples” at the age of 8. In 1998 at the age of 19 she was introduced into the growing Nigerian film industry with the movie “Most Wanted”. Her subsequent movies include Last Party, Mark of the Beast and Ijele. In 2010 she starred in the award winning film Ijé:
Nnaji has starred in over 80 Nollywood movies. Genevieve Nnaji is considered to be one of the best paid actresses in Nollywood. In 2004 she signed a recording contract with EKB Records, a Ghanaian record label, and released her debut album “One Logologo Line”, a mix of R&B, Hip-Hop and Urban music.
Nnaji has featured in several commercials some of which include Pronto beverage and Omo detergent. In 2004 she became the “Face of Lux” in Nigeria in a highly lucrative sponsorship deal. 2008 we saw Nnaji launching a clothing line, “St. Genevieve“, which donates its proceeds to charity. In May 2010 Nnaji was appointed to be the official “Face of MUD” in Nigeria.
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 African Movie Academy Awards.
Nollywood actress Genevieve Nnaji seems to have seen it all, the good, the bad and the ugly. Genevieve talks of how her world came crashing when she discovered she was pregnant at the age of 17.
“The pregnancy was seven months gone before my Catholic mum discovered it. She couldn’t believe it,” she said. How can she be pregnant when she was “very careful” according to her still remain a mystery to her till date.
When a test confirmed it, her parents were disappointed but stood their ground against abortion. “I didn’t feel anything. I didn’t even know till I was about four months. It was there, but I was still in shock. I didn’t believe it”.
Advising young ladies about pre-marital sex, she said “abstinence is the prevention, having a child at an early age will slow you down one way or the other.”.