Genevieve Nnaji (born on 3rd 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 actor 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 contributions to Nollywood. Her directorial debut movie, Lionheart, is the first Netflix Originated from Nigeria and the first Nigerian submission for the Oscars. The movie was disqualified for having most of its dialogue in English. After having spent decades in the movie industry, she was profiled alongside some celebrities and business executives in 2020 in two new books by publisher and Editor in Chief l, ‘Yes International!’ magazine, Azuh Arinze.
Genevieve was born in Mbaise, Imo State, Nigeria, and grew up in Lagos. The fourth of eight children, she was raised in a middle-class family; her father worked as an engineer and her mother as a nursery school teacher.
She attended Methodist Girls College (Yaba, Lagos), before proceeding to 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.
Nnaji started her acting career as a child actor 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 200 Nollywood movies.
In 2004, Nnaji signed a recording contract with EKB Records; a Ghanaian record label and released her debut album One Logologo Line. It is a mix of R&B, Hip-Hop, and Urban music. In 2004, Genevieve Nnaji was with the most votes after contending with other celebrities for the search for the face of Lux in 2004.
In 2005, she won the Africa Movie Academy Award (AMAA) for Best Actress in a Leading Role, becoming the first actor to win the award.
As of 2009, Nnaji was one of the best-paid female actors in Nollywood. Due to her contributions to the Nigerian movie industry, she became the first actor 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 actor 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 November 2015, Nnaji produced her first movie called Road to Yesterday, later winning Best Movie Overall-West Africa at the 2016 Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards.
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 actor did not appear in the movie.
On 7 September 2018, her directorial debut Lionheart was acquired by online streaming service Netflix, making it the first Netflix original film from Nigeria. The movie had its world premiere at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival, alongside Farming, the Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s autobiographical directorial debut where she starred alongside Kate Beckinsale, Damson Idris, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw.
Genevieve Nnaji’s net worth is estimated to be $10 million, according to the list of richest Nigerian celebrities.