Nollywood’s alluring queen, Genevieve Ihunanya Nnaji, cherishes buddies loaded with excitement and confidence. Orji Onyekwere reports
Savvy, alluring and delectable can best describe one of Africa’s most celebrated screen goddesses, Genevieve Nnaji. The mother of one brings finesse, charm and excitement to movie interpretation and this has earned her accolades and admiration from millions of movie buﬀs across Africa and the world where Nollywood movies hold sway.
Besides her massive achievements in the world of make-believe business, Genevieve has also courted a lot of controversy concerning her personal life. The Mbaise, Imo State, born actress has been linked to a number of relationships including music icon, D’Banj, after she appeared in one of his music videos.
But the nagging question on everybody’s lips is, when will this charming queen of the tube settle down and who is the lucky prince that will eventually walk her down the aisle? Like every other woman Genevieve desires to settle down, but she is only waiting for the right man who will keep her excited all the time.
Genevieve explains more: “Yes, I am dating, and I do want to get married. I am looking for someone who can keep me excited because I get bored easily. I need someone who is confident. I don’t have the time to massage a man’s ego; he has to be confident in our relationship from the get-go. For my ideal man, every woman wants a handsome man; ultimately we want someone that is good inside. But I would love to meet someone with a Jonny Depp personality and with Bovi Kodjo’s lips.”
With more than 100 movies and many awards to her credit, Nnaji still has the hunger to climb to the zenith of her career, and she is not afraid to face fresh challenges. Her dream and desire is to win the Oscars one day, and that is why she is looking beyond Nollywood. In other to fulfill her dreams, she has appeared in a couple Nollywood/Hollywood partnership movies. In 2010, she shot a blockbuster movie IJE which also had Omotala Jalade Ekehinde and other Hollywood actors, as part of the cast. The movie was shot in Hollywood and Nigeria.
Genevieve is one of the actors in Nollywood with the highest number of endorsements and product com- mercials. Some of them are commercials for Pronto beverage and Omo detergent. In 2004, she became the “Face of Lux” in Nigeria, in a highly lucrative sponsorship deal. In 2012, she became the brand ambassador of Range Rover and 2014 saw her being unveiled as the brand Ambassador of Amstel Malta, a beverage drink along-side football star Mikel Obi.
One passion she would have loved to fulfill is to go into modeling full time, but her height is a disadvantage.
Her words: “If I had it my way, I would love to be a model, but I don’t have the height. If I could start my career again, I would definitely go into fashion world because I have been designing clothes since my primary school days. But you can’t go back in time, and the best thing about my job is that you get dressed up and pose all the time for the camera just like a model.”
Her love for fashion may have prompted the launching of her clothing line, St Genevieve to online stores. It has a variety of designs from tops to blouse.
The fourth child in a family of eight, Genevieve Ihunanya 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”. She featured in subsequent movies like Last Party, Mark of the Beast and Ijele among others. In 2010, she starred in the award winning film Ijé which received international commendation from movie producers.
Nnaji’s favorite fashion item is her hand bag and she loves to wear Coco Channel as her perfume. In the mu- sic scene, the diva made an attempt to delve into the industry but it was not successful. In 2004, she signed a recording contract with EKB Records, a Ghanaian record label, and released her debut album One Logologo Line which most music lovers say was a total flop.
One factor that pushes her to succeed is the fear of failure. She explains further: “Fear of failure. I am driven by fear of not achieving and not meeting my standards. I can be pretty hard on myself and I am very competitive and so failure can never be an option for me.’’
To ensure she remains fit and attractive, Genevieve works out in the gym and this helps her to get rid of tension and focus on her task for the day. She uses the opportunity offered by her gym to meditate about her future while working mostly on her legs, thighs and stomach.
One part of her body that she adores a lot is her waist which she says is small, neat and gives her hourglass figure. For her, what defines a woman is her dress sense and the way she carries herself.
In 2009, the screen goddess appeared on Ophrah Winfrey’s talk show in the episode ‘Meet the Most Famous People in the World’. Nnaji who was referred to as the “Julia Roberts of Africa” on the show was said to be chosen due to her wide appeal across the African continent and all over the world. Genevieve confessed that she has always enjoyed all the characters she has played in the movies. “I enjoy playing all the characters I have played in the movies. I did the Mirror Boy and it was fun. Ije was another movie I enjoyed,” she said.
Her dream is to work with Holly- wood actress Angelina Jolie and Jonny Depp. For her, Jonny Depp is a very deep actor mostly because he represents what she represents.
Genevieve won the Africa Movie Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role in 2005. In 2011, she was honored as a Member of the Order of the Federal Republic by the Nigerian government for her contribution to Nollywood.