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Meeting Genevieve Nnaji

May 27, 2010, 12:37 PM | Article By: Isatou Dumbuya

Have you ever arrived from school or work in the evening, tired and yearning for food and the comforts of your home and bed, and just like magic you saw your star within arms' reach? That he or she is not only in your country, but your hometown? I will never ever forget meeting Genevieve Nnaji, and shaking her soft and successful hands in Dippa Kunda. It was more than a dream come true! 

It only took me seconds to know who was around, when I came nearer the unruly and excited mob. Holding a soft black leather hand-bag and her hand-luggage, Genevieve was attired in her Genevieve-like clothes (black jeans and a sexy light blue chemise-like elbow-length top). She coiffured her hair the celebrity way, and that was what differentiated her from her fans. When I came, she had already entered her car, and I couldn't see her clearly because of the tinted windows. When our gaze locked, I kept on blowing her kisses like a madly in love Juliet and she did the same to me. Minutes later, I walked on, thinking that it was futile, because I couldn't see her natural face. But the tiny little voice in me wouldn't let me go home like that. I rushed back daring the tight security, and signaled her to roll the windows down. And guess what? She did exactly that. I couldn't believe my luck, but blinked my eyes and listened to my excited heart beating. When she put her hands forward, I shook them and the other equally excited fans wanted to do so, but the security guards stopped them.

Genevieve 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". As an upcoming actress, trying to create a niche for herself, she went through various minor roles seeking that opportunity for a breakthrough.

Her subsequent movies - Last Party, Mark of the Beast, and Ijele (still considered to be one of her best epic performance to date) brought forth an icon to be loved and adored by many.

Her name became a household name, her image the desire of every young girl. In 2002, she featured in the movie 'Sharon Stone' and her fame shot beyond the shores of Nigeria to Africa and several European countries. One can say the 'buzz' Genevieve reinvented the Nigerian Film Industry, introducing Nollywood.

Genevieve appeals just as warmly to Gambians, Kenyans, Liberians, South Africans and Ghanaians who avidly watch Nigerian home videos at home and abroad. Genevieve has led the market into new territories today.

In recognition of her immense contribution to the Nigerian film industry, Genevieve has been presented with numerous awards some of which have been in Dublin, London and America. She won best actress of the year in the 2001, City People Award and in 2005 at the maiden outing of the prestigious African Movie Academy Award (AMAA).

In 2009, Genevieve made history by being the first Nigerian actress to be profiled on Oprah's "The most popular people around the world." Genevieve is quoted to be the highest paid, and most desired actress in Nollywood today (the free encyclopedia).

Genevieve Nnaji's story is the perfect example of 'from grass to grace'. It is more than an honor to have her and Osita 'Pow Pow' in town. Back in the days, one wouldn't believe that she would step on the welcoming soil of the Gambia and help to improve the movie industry in the Gambia. Her life personifies the saying "All things are possible if you will only believe." These words describe her: Determined, Focused, Humble and Creative. The best years of her career are still ahead. I believe that when Gambia's new found talents work together with Osita and Genevieve, they will make a very successful movie. Thank you Genevieve.