One of Nollywood’s most respected actress,Genevieve Nnaji marks two decades in Africa’s biggest movie industry. She has featured in more than 80 movies since debut in “Ripples”, a television soap opera produced by Zeb Ejiro.
She took to her Instagram page to write: “As 2018 comes to an end, I mark 20 years in the art of filmmaking. I’m grateful for my life, journey, and growth thus far”.
The fourth of eight children, Genevieve was born on the May 3, 1979, in Mbaise, Imo State, Nigeria to an engineer father and mother who worked as a nursery school teacher. An alumnus of Methodist Girls’ College, the actress went on to graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Arts from the University of Lagos.
Genevieve has come to master the art of making a character in a given script seem beyond real. Like a master storyteller, she makes use of empathy in engaging the emotions of viewers. This she did so well in ‘Mirror Boy’, a Nigerian fantasy movie which cost an estimated £250,000 where she was made to play the role of mother who had to cope with a delusional son.
“Acting is all about creativity. It is about taking on the soul and spirit of the character, using imagination to bring the character to life and making people believe in the role. I have respected myself as an artiste. I think the success stems from the fact that I have given acting my all. I have not deviated from the realisation that all I ever wanted to do was act. It’s hard to tell, what I would do differently if I were to do it all over. The fact is, I can’t imagine my life any other way,” she told The Punch in an interview in 2014.
In all these years, one thing has made Genevieve the special breed she is — that she is not the kind of actress that features in every movie script that is thrown her way. Like a professional distiller, she handpicks the best and transforms the script with the uniqueness she brings to the art, into premium blockbusters.
“In the beginning, the movie industry emphasised quantity but things are changing and there is an improvement in trend. I am among the people who advocate for the improvement of the industry. So said, I am constantly watching out for the kind of stories I take part in. I am in support of movies that show a great deal of professionalism and creativity,” she added in the interview.
Last year, Netflix acquired the worldwide rights to her new movie, ‘Lionheart’.