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Genevieve the First ~Omonaijablog

Sylvester Asoya 

Genevieve Nnaji is an actress of many firsts. She is the first artiste to win Africa Movie Academy Awards for Best Actress in a Leading Role in 2005. Lionheart, an impressively great film she created and directed, is also Nigeria’s first-ever entry for Best International Film category for the Oscar. Again, Lionheart, Nnaji’s first outing as a feature film director is the first Netflix original film produced in Nigeria. In 2003, the Censors Board of Nigeria awarded her Best Actress, the first performer to be conferred with such honour.  

From her productive life that appears to have only just begun, and a string of achievements, there is no doubt that hard work and providence are all working in Genevieve’s favour. Beyond question, acting was one of her ultimate dreams as a child growing up in a middle class family. Today, walking among giants and living her fondest dream in acting and show business is a dream come true.   

As a child actor who rose through the ranks, Genevieve actually stood firm as she climbed, navigating life’s endless twists and turns and bearing the pains and the pleasure that came her way. Despite her success story in Nigeria, she still wants to play in the big league and her ultimate destination naturally, is Hollywood. For her, playing in Hollywood which would come with boundless opportunities means living her full passion and love for a good story with appealing and relatable characters. That experience of playing in Hollywood also means inching forward to her ideal. And she stands to benefit with every Hollywood familiarity because of the possibility of meeting talented actors and directors along the way. 
But she is still living life on her terms, notwithstanding her desire and expectations.  “Now, I have got to a point where I have to shoot movies just for me. I have to enjoy what I am doing. I have to enjoy the story and I have to like the script because that is my only reward. It is not all about money but the reward for me comes from where I am in a good movie. I enjoy what I am doing, that is where I derive pleasure”. 

Apart from the satisfaction that comes with doing what she loves, acting has also conferred on her, some unanticipated respect and privileges. On her show, Meet the Most Famous People in the World, Oprah Winfrey, the renowned African-American talk show host once referred to Genevieve as ‘Julia Roberts of Africa’ during one of her shows. No doubt, this actress, who is also called Nollywood’s Golden Girl has earned all the rave reviews. For a journey that began about 20 years ago on unsure footing, she should be commended for bracing the odds.

Genevieve has also joined the influential and elite group of the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences with her recent admission. 

When she is not on set acting or directing, then she would most likely be in the studio singing or promoting a new work. Apart from Ripples, a popular television soap that gave her the first acting chance at eight, she is a central character in movies like Ije: The Journey, Lionheart, Road to Yesterday and The Mirror Boy. 

This article was first published in alice, the in-flight magazine of Air Peace.

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