When ranking the most popular actresses in Nigeria, some important factors must be put into consideration. Gone are the days when actors are termed popular based on the number of movies they have starred in, produced or directed. Nowadays, trends have changed with the introduction of social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and the likes. That is to say, actresses are becoming even more popular with these social media tools than movies they featured in and this has greatly impacted on their net worth and fee paid per movie.
Before going into full details as regards the top 10 most popular actresses in Nigeria and their net worth, let us look at the brief statistics of the Nigerian movie industry as at today.
Nigerian movie industry is one of the fastest ground industries in Nigeria. Every now and then, new movies are produced hence cool cash is raked in. The movie industry in Nigeria rakes in an estimated 600 million US-Dollars generated from sale, promotion and distribution of contents online and offline and this would not had been possible without the presence of talents in the industry.
Hollywood has been displaced by Nollywood as one of the fastest growing film industries in the world. The Nigerian movie ranked as the third most valuable film industry worldwide, a feat to be proud of despite critics terming them as low quality movies that lacks the attributes of a good movie.
Truth be told, we cannot shy away from the fact that Nigerian actresses are making waves round the world, they have gone ahead to produce some of the finest movies that have starred in the UK and US box office. One of the most recent is the movie titled LION HEART directed by Genevieve Nnaji and produced by Chinny Onwugbenu which has a list of top entertainers like Peter of the defunct P-Square, legendary veterans like peter Edochie, Nkem Owoh and other actors and actresses rated among the best in Nigeria have not been left out of the movie.
We have dug up personal findings about the biographies, personal lives and the current net worth actresses in Nigeria that have contributed immensely to the Nollywood industry at large till date. To further concretize our claims, we have included the criteria for ranking them the top 10 most popular in actresses in Nigeria as at today.
Criteria for ranking these actresses as the most popular in Nigeria
- Number of movies they have starred in till present
- The number of years in the industry
- Number of followers on social media.
- Quality of movie they have starred in
- Role or Character In Movie
- The YouTube video views
- Promotion and Marketing of The Movie
Number of Movies The Actress Have Starred
When talking about the popularity of an entertainer, an actress to be precise, you must factor in the number of movies she has starred in till present. Figures they say can never be wrong, the number represents how many movies the actresses must have been called to starr in. The truth remains that a good actress will definitely grace a good number of movies because of her talents and popularity.
Nigerians are emotional in nature hence would easily be attached to a movie they have an emotional connection with the actress or actresses starring in the movie. Therefore the number of movie an actress has featured in is in direct proportion to her popularity.
Number of Years in the Movie Industry
There is a popular saying that consistency is key to perfection. An actress that has featured in a many good movies would definitely get better every time she is called upon for a new movie. This overtime has a positive overall image on the actress. Say for example, Joke Silva, Iya Rainbow, Ngozi Ezeonu and other top veteran Nigerian actress that have been in the Nigerian movie industry for over 20 years are rated among the most popular actresses in Nigeria based on the number of years, efforts and commitments they have put in, which has kept them relevant and by so doing, skyrocketed their values in the Nigerian entertainment industry as a whole.
To become a popular actress in Nigeria, we cannot shy away from the fact that consistency in diverse roles is a key up unleash your popularity to potential fans out there.
Number of Social Media Followers
Many actresses are best utilizing the wizardry power of social media. Nowadays, you can be made popular at your comfort zone sipping on whine with just a click and share button of social media platforms like the Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. 90% of actresses are either registered in one or all of the social media platforms listed, all these put together sums up the online presence of the actress. Being relevant means keeping up with the trends and posting valuable contents online for your followers to engage in, these and many more are the activities of the most popular actresses in Nigeria on this list today.
The power of social media has made it very easy for an actress of actor to become popular overnight especially on controversial videos or comments, behind the scenes on movies yet to be released, they post on their timelines to keep their fans abreast of their yet to be released movies, some do this at movie locations or random places, while some actresses go as far as making use of social media influencers to get their contents to a large number of followers especially when they are yet to be known. Though these actresses on our list are the most followed actresses on social media which includes Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so they do not necessarily need the services of paid social influencers as just one tweet can be seen by millions of followers across the globe as they have fans even beyond the shores of Nigeria.
Hence the number of social media followers is one of the criteria for selecting the top 10 most popular actresses in Nigeria.
Quality of Movie Starred In
This is where quality beats quantity. There are a whole lot of actresses in Nigeria that have featured in many movies but not as popular as their colleagues that have starred in numbers less than half of the later. In as much as we cannot rule out number as a determining factor, Quality cannot be over emphasized as a major player in determining how popular an actress or actor can become with just one movie when properly promoted, distributed and marketed.
An actress may have featured in Many movies but an upcoming could become very popular with just one movie and automatically become the new face of Nollywood. You will accept with this fact that quality of movie plays a major role in the determination of an actress’es popularity.
Role or Character In Movie
In movies, there are major characters, actresses who are major characters are the most paid ideally because they also play a key role in the acceptance rate of the movie publicly. The major characters feature in more than 60% of the movie while 40% is shared by other actors and actresses. The role given will go a long way in determining how popular an actress is.
Most times these roles and characters tend to take over the original character of the actress in real life and a perfect exam is Mama G whose real name is Rachael Okonkwo, another is Toyin Tomato whose real name is Sola Sobowale, not forgetting Iya Rainbow whose real name is Idowu Philips.
That is the power of character given to act upon in movies and how popular it can make the actress. I can attest that only a handful of you knew their real names.
YouTube Video Views
There is a popular saying that unique CONTENT IS KING. Everyday tonnes of contents are uploaded online by every Tom Dick and Harry hence the internet is filled with a whole lot of valuable contents and garbages posing as contents online. These actresses have youtube accounts either managed by them or they get social media account managers to do the job for them. They use this platform in showcasing what they have got. They use it for promotion of new movies skits they have starred in to gain online presence and advertise others that they are working on.
The number of views gathered on youtube has a direct say on how popular an actress can be. Take for example Francis Odega’s gerrarahia video, this clip was cut out from a movie he shot over a decade ago and because of the power of social media, the short clip was posted online and has attracted millions of views from Nigeria, United states and accross Europe. A clip that sparked Frank Odega to limelight and got him various endorsement deals with Nigeria’s telecommunications giant ETISALAT Nigeria and other top endorsements deals were signed. He became the rave of the moment. This alone talks about the power of online medias and social tools on the popularity of an entertainer in general.
Promotion and Marketing of The Movie
Lastly is the power of promotion and marketing of contents and its effect on the popularity of an actress. A good content without promotion is as good as dead on arrival. Some would say good contents promote themselves but in this contemporary world of technology and stiff competition for relevance, the need for promotion of contents has become very necessary. A good content needs extra push hence proper promotion and distribution via the right channel is needed. This promotion and distribution means more copies would get to the hands of final consumers of the contents therefore has an indirect impact on the popularity of the actresses in the movie being promoted.
Promotion could be online and offline, both are needed for 100% return of investment on funds expended on the movie. The best form of promoting movies in the 21st century is online promotion via paid YouTube ads, Google ads, facebook, instagram, twitter and other online free and paid promotion platforms.
Now that you have seen the criteria for rating the under listed as the top 10 most popular actresses in Nigeria. Lets take a cursory look into their biographies, estimated net worth as at 2020 and please note that list of the most popular actresses have been arranged in no particular order.
Top 10 Most Popular Actresses In Nigeria And Their Net Worth (2023)
1. Mercy Johnson Okojie (4.5 Million USD)
Mercy Johnson is one of the most popular Nigerian actress, she is from Okene in Kogi State. The dark skinned talented actress began her career shortly after completing her secondary school education when she auditioned and got selected to play the lead role in a movie titled The Maid. She ventured into acting after failing her JAMB exam and made her acting debut in the movie playing the role of a possessed house help.
|Name||Mercy Johnson Okojie|
|Date of Birth||August 28,1984|
|State of Origin||Kogi State|
|Other Names||Mercy Johnson Ozioma, Princess Mercy Johnson-Okojie|
|Net Worth||4.5 Million USD|
Her role in the movie was so perfected that she gained instant popularity amongst other movie producers and Directors after which she started receiving calls for auditioning and hit stardom in the shortest possible period. Mercy Johnson Okojie has excelled in her movie career acting more than 200 movies.
She is so diverse that she can fit in seamlessly into any character shes asked to take up. No doubt Mercy is talents and her awards can speak for her. So far she has been nominated for and won 6 awards which includes:
- 5th Africa Movie Academy Awards
- 2009 Best of Nollywood Awards
- 2012 Nollywood Movies Awards
- 2013 Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards
- 2014 Nollywood Movies Awards
- 2018 Eloy Awards
She’s happily married to Prince Odianosen Okojie from Edo state and they have 3 children together and Mercy Johnson Okojie is reported to have a net worth 4.5 Million US Dollars.
2. Funke Akindele (10 Million US Dollars)
Funke Akindele is one of the most popular actresses cum producer in Nigeria till date. The tall has been gracing the entertainment industry for close to two decades. People from the 90s can attest to knowing her when she starred in a soap opera I Need to Know that graced major local television stations for 4 years, 1998 to 2002 precisely. Her lead role in the soap opera won an award for the Best Actress in a Leading Role at the Africa Movie Academy Award in 2009.
|Name||Akindele Olufunke Ayotunde|
|Date of Birth||August 24, 1977 (age 41)|
|Occupation||Actress and Film Producer|
|Net Worth||10 Million US Dollars|
Funke Akindele was born on the 24th of August 1977 at Ikorodu Village, Lagos State.From a well coordinated, disciplined and knowledgeable background, her mother is a Medical Doctor and her dad is a retired School Principal.
Upon graduation from secondary school, Funke obtained her ND (National Diploma) certificate from the defunct Ogun State Polytechnic, now Moshood Abiola Polytechnic in Mass Communication and subsequently went on to obtain an LLB in law from the University of Lagos (UNILAG).
Fast forward to 2009, she was awarded the best movie actress in a leading role due to her exploits in the movie, Jenifa. And Funke has gone on to produce a popular TV show, Jenifa’s diary which has been a hit ever since its release. She is currently married to former Nigerian rapper Abdul Rasheed Bello, from the defunct London based Nigerian music group known as JJC Skillz.
In 2018, she had an endorsement deal with Keystone bank and currently has an endorsement deal with IROKO TV that runs into millions. She also rakes in millions from sponsorships and adverts from her series Jenifa’s Diary.
Funke Akindele so far has been nominated for 22 awards and she has won a whooping 17 awards and most of which were best actress of the year either as a supporting or lead roles. Isn’t that magnificent? She a true representation of pure talent.
She is truly a force to reckon with in the Nollywood industry and she doesn’t seem ready to take her feet off the pedal anytime soon. Funke Akindele is estimated to be worth around 10 Million US Dollars according to Forbes.
3. Ini Edo (6 Million US Dollars)
You cannot list the top 10 most popular actresses in Nigeria without including the Ibibio born actress. Iniobong Edo Ekim popularly known as Ini Edo, is a popular screen diva born 23rd of April 1982 in Akwa Ibom born to a church elder father and teacher mother who began her professional acting career in 2000 and has so far starred in over a hundred (100) movies till date.
|Name||Iniobong Edo Ekim|
|Date of Birth||April 23, 1982 (age 37)|
|State of Origin||Akwa Ibom, Nigeria|
|Net Worth||6 Million US Dollars|
Ini Edo obtained her O’Level certificate from Cornelius Connely College in Uyo. She went further to obtain Diploma certificate in Theatre Arts, not satisfied with that, she gained admission via direct entry into UNICAL using her ND certificate and obtained a degree in English from the University of Calabar (UNICAL). In 2014 she got a scholarship to study law at National Open University of Nigeria.
The Akwa Ibom born Ini Edo is a Theater Arts graduate of the University of Calabar. Her name is a household name in Nigerian movies. She began her film career in the year 2000 and has been involved in more than 100 movies since starting.
4. Genevieve Nnaji (15 Million US Dollars)
Despite being out of acting for a while Genvieve Nnaji has never stopped being relevant in the Nollywood industry with the production of blockbuster movies in recent times. Genevieve Nnaji started her acting career in 1998 with the movie Most Wanted and has since featured in more than 80 movies. She is one of the highest paid Nollywood actresses in Nigeria.
|Date of Birth||3 May 1979 (age 40)|
|Occupation||Actress, Producer, Director, Screenwriter, Entrepreneur, Former Model|
|State of Origin||Imo State|
|Net Worth||15 Million US Dollars|
Genevieve Nnaji, the fourth of eight children, Born 3rd of May 1979), in Mbaise, Imo State is a actress, Model, producer, and director. Genevieve Nnaji’s dad is an Engineer while het mom was a nursery school teacher until her retirement.
Like most parents would do, she was enrolled into Methodist Girls College, Yaba, in Lagos state. Upon obtaining her secondary school certificate she yearned for a university degree, she applied and gain admission into the University of Lagos, where she obtained a degree in creative arts though before graduating from UNILAG she had already started auditioning for movie roles until she finally got her breakthrough with the movie titled Most Wanted.
Fast forward to September 7th, 2018, her directorial debut the blockbuster movie Lionheart was acquired by the most popular online streaming service provider based in California known as Netflix. This made Genevieve Nnaji the first and only Billionaire in Nollywood as a result of the amount the movie was purchased which is within the tune of $3.8 million (₦1,385,100,000) after being premiered at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival.
Owing to her popularity is also the number of followers she has gathered so far. Genevieve has a whooping 5.8 million Instagram followers, this is aside twitter and Facebook. Some have argued that she is the most popular actress in Nigeria after Omotola while some are of the opinion Omotola Jalade holds the position as the most popular actress in Nigeria.
5. Omotola Jalade Ekeinde a.k.a Omo Sexy (12 Million US Dollars)
The multi talented award winning Nollywood diva Omotola Jalade Ekeinde also known as Omo Sexy is a Nigerian actress, singer, producer, director, model, entrepreneur and philanthropist. She is more than worthy to grace the list of not just most popular actress in Nigeria but also one of the best actresses Nigerian Nollywood industry has ever known till date.
The Ondo state descent, multiple award winning actress was born February 7th 1978 in Lagos state. She attended Chrisland School, Opebi from 1981–1987, Oxford Children School in 1987, Santos Layout, and Command Secondary School Kaduna between 1988 and 1993). Omosexy grew up in a family of five including her parents. She has just two younger brothers; Tayo and Bolaji Jalade. Growing up, she picked up a job at the YMCA and the Lagos Country Club.
Omotola while nursing an ambition on becoming a professional business manager, began modeling as a part time job to earn a living while awaiting her result from Yaba college of technology from 1996–2004 though all these came to fruition after she had had a brief stint at Obafemi Awolowo University.
Since her Nollywood film debut in 1995; the tall sexy gorgeous actress has starred in over 300 movies and selling over 5million hardcopy CD plates till date, this is aside her online sales, take note please.
Omotola till date holds the record of the first African celebrity to receive over 1 million likes on her Facebook page, a feat yet to be broken by any actress. On her social media presence, she has a total of 3.1 million Facebook followers.
She is currently married to Captain Matthew Ekeinde, the couple are blessed with 4 children; Princess, M.J Meraiah and Michael. She is estimated to have an net worth of 12 Million US Dollars and rated the most popular actress in Nigeria owing to the fact she was named among the top 100 most influential people in the world according to Times Magazine. She currently is the only Nigerian actress listed by this world recognized international media company situated in the United States of America.
6. Joke Silva Jacob (2 Million US Dollars)
Married to veteran actor Olu Jacob. Joke Silva a member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR) a national honor received for her commitment, contribution and achievements to the entertainment industry was born 29th of September 1961. She is a Nigerian actress, movie director and entrepreneur. She attended Holy Child College in Lagos.
Joke Silva is a mentor to many young aspiring actresses ladies for her professionalism and ability in staying off controversies and keeping her marriage intact despite the sporadic rate of divorce cases especially amongst well known actresses.Upon graduating from the University of Lagos she flew abroad and attended the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London where she professionally and practically gained international knowledge on the art of acting. Joke Silva started her acting career in the early 1990s. She co-owns and operate the Lufodo Group company, a media outfit that specializes in the business of of film production, distribution assets and the Lufodo Academy of Performing Arts. She has been able to carve a niche for herself in the Nigerian movie industries, winning multiple awards and giving back to the society in her own little way.
Talking about Joke Silva’s net worth, she is currently worth around 2 Million US Dollars.
Stephanie is an actress, blogger, singer and model. She had a tertiary education studying English and Literary Studies at the University of Calabar where she graduated with her degree. The pretty model joined Nollywood and started acting in 1997 when she was featured in Compromise II and Waterloo.
She finished second place in the 2002 “Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria” (MBGN) beauty Pageant. In 2003 Genevieve was nominated for eight awards of which she won 2 awards for Best Actress (English) and Reel Awards Best Actress of the Year 2003.
Stephanie has also starred in quite a few films including Private Sin. Final Solution, Pretender and Adora.
7. Rita Dominic (5.3 million US Dollars)
Rita Uchenna Nkem Dominic Nwaturuocha is her name in full though casually and popularly known as Rita Dominic. The gorgeuous actress was born July 12 1975. Born and bred in Akwa Ibom state, Rita Dominic attended the famous FGC (Federal Government College) Ikot Ekpene, in Akwa Ibom state.
|Name||Rita Uchenna Nkem Dominic Nwaturuocha|
|Date of Birth|
State of Origin
|July 12, 1975 (age 44)|
|Actress and Business woman|
5.3 Million US Dollars
Like many other top actresses in Nigeria she furthered her education up to university level where she obtained a BA (Honours) Degree in Theatre Arts from the University of Port Harcourt in 1999.
In one of her famous interviews, Rita Dominic revealed how she started acting since when she was a child by appearing in school organized dramas and Kiddies television shows in Imo State.
She ventured into acting professionally In 1998 when she starred in a movie titled, A Time to Kill where she won the award for the Most Outstanding Actress at the City People Awards in 2004. Till date Rita Dominic has starred in over a hundred and twenty (120) Nollywood movies. She is famous for her classy, loving and no nonsense characters in her movies. She is listed among the top 10 best actresses the Nollywood industry has ever produced no wonder she is rated among the most popular actresses in Nigeria.
Rita though unmarried is one of the richest Nigerian actresses with an estimated net worth of 5.3 million US Dollars.
8. Kate Henshaw (10 million US dollars)
The Calabar descent actress was born 19 July 1971 (age 47 years). She completed her primary and secondary school in Lagos and Calabar respectively and afterwards, gained admission into UNICAL remedial programme where she spent just 1 year and then and then majored in Medical Microbiology at the School of Medical Lab Science, LUTH (Lagos University Teaching Hospital) in Lagos using her Remedial result in gaining admission.
Kate Henshaw started her movie career in 1993 where she featured in the movie When the Sun Sets, she has afterwards gon ahead to feature in over 50 movies. Kate is an astute business woman, in 2017 she was ranked the richest Nigerian actress in Nigeria with a net worth of over 17 million US Dollars.
She has a current endorsement deal with Onga seasoning that runs in millions of Naira. She is one of the most popular Nigerian actresses till date with a combined social media followers of 2.5million followers, that is IG (1.9M followers) and Facebook (463,000 followers). This is a perfect proof of her online popularity.
Kate Henshaw Nuttal is currently worth about 10 million US dollars.
9. Mercy Aigbe (2 million US Dollars)
Mercy Aigbe is another popular celebrity in Nigeria who has who is also a multi talented personality. She is an actress, movie director and entrepreneur. Mercy Aigbe from Edo state, born 1st of January 1978 (age 41 years), The edo born actress obtained her O’level certificate from Maryland Comprehensive Secondary School Ikeja, Lagos before obtaining her BA in Theater Arts from the University of Lagos.
She has featured many prominent Yoruba Nollywood movies till date and this has accorded her the much deserved popularity and fame especially in the yoruba movie industry.
In 2013 she tied the nut with Lanre Gentry, a marriage blessed with two children (Juwon Gentry and Michelle Aigbe as well as three stepdaughters, in 2017 she filed for divorce and at the moment she a single mother of her 2 children.
Mercy Aigbe is currently worth over 2million US Dollars as at 2023
10. Patience Ozokwor (Mama G) (350,000 US Dollars)
On the list of the top 10 most popular actresses in Nigeria is none other than the popular now Evangelist Patience Ozokwo born September 14th, 1958. A native of Amaobo, Ngwo, Enugu State.
State of Origin
|Patience Ozokwor (Mama G)|
|Date of Birth||September 14, 1958 (age 60)|
|Occupation||Actress, musician, fashion designer|
|Net Worth||350,000 US Dollars|
Mama Gee as she is widely referred to, attended Abimbola Gibson Memorial School in Lagos. She further went on to obtain a higher national diploma certificate (HND) from the famous IMT Enugu after which she ventured fully into acting and was always known to take on characters depicting her a either a wicked mother in law or bad mother and wife.
According to her, she was married off at a tender age of 19 and the union though blessed with three biological children and further adopted five extra kids who at the moment all bear her husband’s name.
In one of her exclusive interviews, Patience Ozokwor lamented that one of her biggest regrets in life was not being able to get married to the man of her choice after losing her husband in 2000.
So far, she has been able to carve a niche for herself in the industry and despite not fully into acting as she has now embraced God’s evangelizing work full time she is ranked the most popular veteran actress in Nigeria till present.
Patience Ozokwor is currently worth around 350,000 US Dollars.
After a well detailed information about these actresses we have been able to come to a lucid conclusion of the top 10 most popular Nigerian actresses, their biographies, personal lives, how they rose to stardom and their current estimated net worth.
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