Since the coronavirus pandemic that plagued the entire world, Nollywood took it upon itself to be back in full force, and since that unsettling period, the country’s movie industry has been growing from strength to strength.
Its recent successes have given the regular Nigerian movie lover a lot of hope, and it has even inspired Nollywood filmmakers and directors to keep putting the work in. Nollywood is not just booming when it comes to cinema patronage and streaming platform demands, its talented actors are also making names for themselves at a very rapid rate.
In recent times, we have witnessed the rise of several non-A-Listers and this has brought a lot of balance between the heavyweights and the rising stars. Want to know the names to watch out for in the nearest future? See our list of Top Nollywood Actors Right Now (2022).
1. Lateef Adedimeji:
You will agree with me that one of the hardest jobs to do in movies is to portray an iconic real-life character. To be successful at it, total attention to detail, time and money are required, and we know how scarce these things can be in the Nollywood industry.
Not so many producers have been able to walk on this path, but in 2021, veteran filmmaker, Tunde Kelani gave it a good shot with “Ayinla,” a movie based on the final months of popular Apala crooner, Ayinla Omowura. Playing the lead role, as the iconic singer, is popular actor Lateef Adedimeji, and he absolutely nailed his performance.
Lateef did not just portray the popular musician the exact way his greatness deserved to be portrayed, he completely stole the hearts of his audience by dazzling with an onscreen charm that kept viewers chuckling and applauding throughout the movie. Apart from seeing him on your favourite music stations from time to time, below are other things you might not know about the actor.
Lateef Adedimeji is a Nigerian actor and filmmaker who was once a TV personality. He was born on the 1st of February 1986 in Isolo, Lagos State, Southwestern Nigeria, and he is a native of Abeokuta Ogun State whose mum, Kudirat Adedimeji is from Oyo State, Nigeria.
Lateef began his primary education at Ire Akari Primary School, Isolo, Lagos State before heading to Ilamoye Grammar School Okota Lagos for his secondary school schooling. He eventually graduated from Olabisi Onabanjo University, where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication before he decided to explore TV presenting.
He fully began his Nollywood career in 2007 when he joined Orisun TV but the movie that gave him fame and stardom was his first major project titled “Kudi Klepto,” produced by the talented Yewande Adekoya. He has featured in more than 100 movies since then and he is currently a brand ambassador for Airtel and Numatville Megacity.
Adedimeji tied the knot with his partner, who is also an actress, Oyebade Adebimpe on the 18th December 2021, and it was a romance that many did not see coming. While his personal strides like his marriage have been applaudable, his acting prowess in recent times has earned him a spot on this list.
2. Sola Sobowale:
Known as the troublesome Toyin Tomato for many years in the Nollywood industry, Sola Sobowale is referred to as Oba nowadays, and we all know why. Her artistic growth has dazzled massively over the years and many simply cannot stop admiring how she has managed to keep viewers glued after such a long time in the industry.
Her acting technique should be a course in most Nigerian universities as she keeps reinventing herself on screen in ways we have never seen before. Sola Sobowale proved this fact with the “KOB: Return of the King” project where she completely nailed her role and became the talk of the town for weeks on social media.
Despite being a very calm figure in real life, Sola displayed apt acting talent to transform herself into the role she was given, so much so that it was hard to differentiate between her real self and the role she was playing in the series. Do you know all you should about this superstar though?
Sola Sobowale is a Nollywood actress, screenwriter, director and producer. She was born on the 26th of December, 1963, and she has been a pacesetter in the Nigerian film industry for a long time. The movie star is currently married with four children and she was recently selected to be the brand ambassador for Mouka mattress company’s Wellbeing range.
Before attaining stardom, Sola featured in popular projects like “The Village Headmaster,” “Mirror in the Sun,” and “Asewo To Re Mecca,” but she had her major break in 2001 when she starred in Nigeria’s popular television drama series “Super Story: Oh Father, Oh Daughter.”
The veteran actress has since scripted, co-scripted, directed and produced several Nigerian movies, including the popular “Ohun Oko Somida,” a 2010 Nigerian movie that also featured Adebayo Salami. 3 years ago, Sola Sobowale received the African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) for “Best Actress In A Leading Role,” and it was reward for her performance in the highly successful Nollywood project, “King of Boys.”
3. Ijeoma Grace Agu:
Ijeaoma Grace has been in the Nollywood industry for a long time, however, 2021 became her breakthrough year with her popular role in Netflix’s “Swallow,” produced by Kunle Afolayan and in Karin Junger’s musical, “10 Songs for Charity.”
Saying this movie star is talented is an understatement, she is actually one of the best movie talents on screen who deserves more accolades for the efforts she has put into her career over the years. We can only hope she gets more recognition after winning AFRIFF’s “Best Actress” award for her dazzling performance in “10 Songs for Charity,” while gaining the respect of several viewers for her role in “Swallow.”
4. Jude Akuwudike:
Jude might not be a very popular face yet in the Nollywood industry, but his acting CV is definitely one to respect. He delivered a memorable performance as lead actor in the Chuko and Arie Esiri-directed project titled “Eyimofe.”
His compelling performance earned him lots of praises and he even got an AMAA 2021 nomination for all of his troubles. Thia British-trained actor is also popular for featuring in the Cary Joji Fukunaga-directed project, “Beast of No Nation,” as Supreme Commander Dada Goodblood.
5. Kelechi Udegbe:
There is no better way to announce yourself as a fantastic acting talent to look out for than clinching both an AMAA and an AFRIFF award within a very short period of time. This is what Kelechi did and his Nollywood career has kept blossoming ever since.
Getting his reward and well-deserved fame for his years of hard work and dedication in the movie industry was long overdue, and his performance in the Bolanle Austen-Peters’ End SARS-inspired film titled, “Collision Course,” is one that will be talked about for a very long time. His role as an unlucky police officer who is desperate to make it is one of the best role interpretation efforts I will forever applaud.
Kelechi is a popular Nollywood actor and voice-over artist who is famous for his role as lead character in “Officer Titus.” Since his screen debut in 2009, Kelechi has featured in various movies and soaps, including “Behind The Smile,” “Ojuju,” “Taxi Driver: Oko Ashewo,” “Horn Free Day” and “Kpians: The Feast of Souls.”
6. Nse Ikpe-Etim:
This is a known name and face in Nollywood, and she recently made a return to the industry to steal our hearts all over again. Her recent quality projects include Seyi Babatope’s “Sanitation Day,” and Kemi Adetiba’s “KOB: The Return of the King,” and in the latter, Nse delivered one of her most memorable Nollywood performances ever as Mrs Randle.
In case you did not know, Nse Ikpe Etim is also a beautiful TV personality, businesswoman, lover of food, passionate gamer, conference speaker and an advocate for women living with Adenomyosis (a disease that affects the female reproductive system and causes the uterus to thicken and enlarge.)
Nse is championing the Adenomyosis cause since she also suffered from it herself, and it led to her being unable to ever conceive a child. This heartbreaking news has, however, not taken away her beauty and talents as a Nollywood actress, and the movie star has kept dazzling viewers in different movies over the years.
Etim was born on the 21st of October, 1974 in Lagos State as the first child of her parents’ six children, and she hails from Akwa Ibom. After she wrapped up her primary education, her parents enrolled her at St Louis College, Jos, where she schooled for a while before heading to the Federal Government College in Jos and later moving on to Ilorin.
When she was 18, she began to act on stage at the university, but her first TV appearance came in a popular family series back then titled “Inheritance.” After her university experience, she temporarily quit acting to try out her other life goals, but she soon made her comeback with Emem Isong’s successful project, “Reloaded,” starring alongside Ramsey Nouah, Rita Dominic, Ini Edo and Desmond Elliot.
Nse Ikpe Etim married her childhood friend, Clifford Sule in 2013 at a Lagos registry and her traditional wedding ceremony followed in her hometown in Akwa Ibom. Her husband is a senior lecturer at Middlesex University who visits Nigeria once in a while and he is the lucky man who gets to keep the beautiful Nse Ikpe Etim for the rest of his life, and away from her several admirers.