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A list of some of the most productive, popular and daring actresses of the past one year.

Kate Henshaw

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Starconnect Media

Like most of the Nigerian actresses from Old Nollywood, Kate has an incredible amount of films to her credit (at least 75, Pulse reports). This year she appeared in Ego Boyo’s latest production: The Ghost and the House of Truth, as well as 4th Republic, a film that explores the murky waters of post-colonial politics in Nigeria. She won Best Performer for her role as Officer Stainless in The Ghost and the House of Truth at the African International Film Festival in November.

Genevieve Nnaji

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Essence Magazine

Genevieve released Lionheart in 2018, a film she directed and starred in as the lead female actress. Lionheart was selected by the Nigerian Oscar Selection Committee this year to compete as Nigeria’s representative in the 2020 Oscars. The film was unfortunately rejected after the Oscar Academy determined it did not meet requirements. Still, we admire Genevieve for her ambition, brilliance, and enduring charm.

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Sola Sobowale

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Sola Sobowale appeared as the lead actress in one of the most popular films to open in cinemas last year: King of Boys. The film was one of the first to represent the incredible changes currently transforming Nollywood: enigmatic acting, unorthodox storylines, and unapologetic social commentary. Sobowale won Best Actress at the Africa Movie Academy Awards in October for her brilliant performance as Alhaja Eniola Salami in King of Boys.

Toni Tones

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In 2018, the Nigerian Box Office Yearbook listed Toni Tones as one of the highest-grossing actresses in Nollywood. This year, she stunned audiences in King of Boys, where she appeared as a younger Alhaja Eniola Salami. She may not have won any awards for her performance, but we recognize her all the same.

Sharon Ooja

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Sharon Ooja has been in some of the most popular television productions of the year: Gidi Up, Lara and the Beat, and The Men’s Club. This year, she was nominated for two City People Movie Awards (Most Featured Actress In Cinema Movies, Most Promising Actress of the Year) and one Future Award (Prize for Acting). We’re fastening our seatbelts for her performance in Oloture, an upcoming film.

Adesua Etomi

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Undoubtedly one of the most active performers in Nigerian cinema right now, Adesua Etomi has been tirelessly making us laugh, cry and sit on the edge of our seats. A skilled actress, she fluidly slips into the simplest and most complex characters you can imagine. Her performances are not always perfect, but her attempts are always admirable. She was nominated City People’s Most Featured Actress in Cinema this year and won Best Actress in a Supporting Role for playing Alhaja Eniola Salami’s daughter in King of Boys.

Jemima Osunde

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Slay Festival

A gorgeous Nigerian actress, model and singer. She caught Nigeria’s attention when she appeared in MTV’s Shuga Naija (Season 4). This year, she was Nkem in The Delivery Boy, and last year she was Genevieve’s personal assistant in Lionheart. Her acting as Nkem bagged her a nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role at the Africa Movie Academy Awards, alongside established actresses like Sola Sobowale and Adesua Etomi.

Seyi Shay

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Blanck Digital

We admire her for her bravery. She ventured out of her singing career last year in Lara and the Beat, a film that earned her an AMAA nomination this year: Best Actress in a Leading Role. Impressive for a newcomer.

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Lala Akindoju

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Vanguard News

Lala is rising fast. And not just in front of the screen, but behind it as well. We recognize her for her role in The Wives, a stage play she produced, directed and starred in. The Wives, reportedly a delight to see, opened at the MUSON Centre on the 5th of September and ran until the 8th.

Toyin Abraham

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Arguably the funniest actress in Nollywood right now, Toyin Abraham had a very productive 2019. She starred in Bling Lagosians, The Millions and Elevator Baby; three of the biggest films to hit cinemas this year. In each one, she remains a source of comic relief but manages to bring dynamism to her roles that keep her acting original and entertaining.


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This article was first published on 26th December 2019


Tochi Onwubiko is a 'Jack' of many trades. A designer, book editor, lawyer and happy freelance writer. She enjoys drinking tea, sitting in quiet spaces, and reading thick books. She hopes to publish books one day. She also loves a good house party. If you know about any good books or parties, leave a comment on one of her posts.

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