Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde is known as the Queen of Nollywood, Nigeria’s booming movie industry. Since her 1995 film debut, the actress has appeared in some 300 movies, selling millions of videos and establishing herself as a Nollywood icon.
A prolific film siren, Jalade-Ekeinde has also carved out a successful career as a singer and reality TV star. But there’s more to Nigeria’s beloved celebrity than her glittering entertainment career. Here are 10 things to know about Jalade-Ekeinde.
She’s an icon: Last year, she was named as one of the top 100 influential people in the world by Time Magazine, in the Icons category. “I think that’s what gives me more satisfaction,” she says. “The fact that I wasn’t just recognized as an artist but as an icon — I’m very grateful for it.”
The story behind “Omosexy:” Her popular nickname, “Omosexy,” was given to her by her husband — and it has caught on. “That’s my husband’s pet name for me,” she says, “and the fans love it and now people call me Omosexy almost more than Omotola.”
Her fans love her: Jalade-Ekeinde has amassed a large following — in 2013, her Facebook page has surpassed 1 million likes. Today, it’s 1.2 million, and counting …
Her road to stardom was paved with childhood tragedy: Jalade-Ekeinde lost her beloved father in her early teens. She started working at 15 to help support her family, her first job being a model.
Her mother didn’t like the idea of her young daughter acting and initially forbade Jalade-Ekeinde from doing so. Finally, she gave in after a film director, joined by the entire movie crew, went to her house to beg her to allow Jalade-Ekeinde to appear in the “Venom of Justice” movie.
She is part of “New Nollywood:” Keen to improve the quality of Nollywood movies, Jalade-Ekeinde is now building a film studio — what she calls a “Village.” “I’ve come to a place where I realize I have to leave something,” she says. “I have to have a legacy.
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