Genevieve Nnaji born 3 May 1979) is a Nigerian actress, producer, and director. She won the Africa Movie Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role in 2005, making her the first actress to win the award. In 2011, she was honored as a Member of the Order of the Federal Republic by the Nigerian government for her contribution to Nollywood.
Early Life: Nnaji was born in Mbaise, Imo State, Nigeria but grew up in Lagos, the fourth of eight children and 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 into 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.
Achievements: 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: The Journey. She has starred in over 80 Nollywood movies.
In 2005, she won the Africa Movie Academy Award (AMAA) for the Best Actress in a Leading Role, becoming the first actress to win the award.
As of 2009, Nnaji was one of the best-paid actresses in Nollywood. Due to her contributions to the Nigeria movie industry, she became the first actress 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 actress to be awarded as Best Actress by the Censors Board of Nigeria in 2003. In 2009, she was referred to as the Julia Roberts of Africa by Oprah Winfrey.
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. This was later debunked as an internet prank and the actress did not appear in the movie.
On September 7, 2018, her directorial debut Lionheart was acquired by online streaming service Netflix marking it the first Netflix original film from Nigeria. The Movie has its world premiere at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival.
Genevieve Nnaji is Nollywood’s first billionaire as Netflix buys her movie “Lion Heart” for N1,385,100,000($3.8million).