By Juliet Ebirim
Nigeria is home to vibrant, dazzling and glamourous movie industry. With an array of stars gracing screens and stealing hearts with their talents and looks, Nollywood is definitely a force to reckon with. As 2021 kicks off in earnest, we take a look at fast-rising actresses to watch out for this year.
Sharon Ooja came into limelight after she played the role of “Shalewa” in the web series Skinny Girl in Transit. The 29-year old Mass Communication graduate gained more popularity in 2018 for her role as ‘Amaka’ in ‘King of Boys’. However, playing the lead role in Netflix’s 2020 movie, ‘Oloture’ cemented her place as an actress to look out for. The Benue state born beauty has also starred in other blockbusters including Lara and the beat, Bling Lagosians, Coming from Insanity, Who’s the boss, Moms at war among others.
29-year-old actress, TV presenter and model Idia Aisien is definitely set to take the movie industry by storm. A graduate of Journalism from American University and an M.S. holder in International Public Relations and Global Corporate Communications from New York University, Idia made her debut appearance as the lead actor in PlayNetwork’s remake of Nollywood classic ‘Nneka The Pretty Serpent’ in 2020. Having received widespread accolades from fans and critics for a job well done, we are pretty sure of seeing more of her on our screens this year.
The 24-year-old daughter of billionaire businessman and renowned philanthropist, Femi Otedola, Temi Otedola, made her Nollywood debut in 2020 with Kunle Afolayan’s Netflix movie, ‘Citation’.
The fashion blogger set social media agog with her performance as the lead character, Moremi. The actress is already bagging awards to her name, as she recently announced on Twitter that she won the Best Actress category in the Ghana Movie Award for her role in the movie.
If she has amassed so great a following from her first film, one may wonder what is to come.
Beautiful and sultry actress Sophie Alakija is not resting on her oars when it comes to her career in the make-believe industry. Sophie featured in the ‘Holla At your boy’ music video of her ex-boyfriend Wizkid in 2010. She has acted in several popular movies including Drawing Strands, Getting over him, Small Chops… She is known for her role in Red TV’s “Assistant Madams’ where she starred alongside Osas Ighodalo and Tana Adelana. She also appeared in ‘Skinny Girl in Transit’ TV series. Sophie is on a roll, as she already has a new web series, ‘Grow Up Or Nuts’ currently showing on YouTube.
Ini Dima-Okojie definitely deserves a spot on our list. A graduate of the New York Film Academy, she resigned from her job in the finance industry to pursue a career in entertainment. 2021 is beginning on a good note for the screen goddess who recently had a fibroid surgery, as the Nollywood-Bollywood rom-com “Namaste Wahala” where she played a lead role will be released worldwide on Netflix on Valentine’s Day.
Her breakout role as Hadiza, in the movie ‘North East” sparked her ascent to the top as Film and TV’s IT Girl. Ini has featured in various TV series Battleground, Desperate Housewives Africa, Skinny Girl in Transit, among others. She also starred in EbonyLife romantic comedy ‘Royale Hibiscus’.
Award-winning actress, model and voice-over artist, Omowunmi Dada has been on a steady rise to fame. Since her appearance in ‘The Gods are Still Not To Blame’ in 2012, Omowunmi has taken on diverse roles. A University of Lagos graduate of Creative Arts, she earned more acclaim in 2020 after the movies ‘Oloture’ and ‘Diamonds in The Sky’ where she appeared on Netflix. She has starred in The Antique, Omugwo, Tinsel, So Wrong So Wright among others. She also featured in the new Ndani TV web-series, ‘Game On’.
This highly creative and versatile black beauty has clearly placed herself among the industry’s recognisable faces and is definitely one to look out for this year.
Erica Nlewedim is one of Nollywood’s fast-rising stars, who began her acting career in 2015 with a lead role in ‘Secrets and Scandals’. An ex-beauty queen, she hit stardom as one of the housemates in the ‘Lockdown’ edition of the popular Big Brother Naija show.
With her enchanting signature smile and happy disposition, Erica quickly became a fan favourite and there is no doubt she will be gracing our movie screens this year. As a model, Erica has graced a number of billboards nationwide, modelling for top brands. She has starred in various movies including Hire a woman, Poka Messiah, The Flatmates among others.
Elma Mbadiwe is the budding actress who plays Talullah in African Magic’s Unbroken. The character, Tallulah is no stranger to Twitter, because of her involvement in a love triangle on the show, hence she attracts a significant amount of attention from fans.
Elma became very popular from Ndani TV’s ‘Phases’. 2020 was definitely a good year for the talented actress, as she appeared in two major blockbusters, ‘Rattle Snake: The Ahanna Story’ and ‘Quam’s Money’. We definitely hope to see more of Elma this 2021.