Today, February 7, 2018, is Omotola Jalade Ekeinde’s 40th birthday, and we are paying tribute to an actress, who with a string of successful movies to her name, has made a permanent mark on Nollywood.
In 1995, at the age of 16, the actress started the journey to becoming a Nollywood legend with the movie, “Venom of Justice.” She had accompanied a friend to an audition when she landed a lead role in the Reginald Ebere movie.
But it was her portrayal of a sickle-cell patient in the 1995 movie “Mortal Inheritance” that placed her as a potential star. A widely acknowledged classic, “Mortal Inheritance” has remained relatable over time and is arguably one of the actress’ best works yet.
She followed up her remarkable breakout role with the 1998 movie “Scores to Settle,” which starred her as the demon-possessed Sade, alongside Richard Mofe Damijo and Liz Benson.
Ever since then, her career has been nothing but diverse with household movies such as “Blood Sister,” “Lost Kingdom,” “Games Women Play” and “I Belong.”
In 2010, she featured in her first cinema movie titled “Ije.” The movie, which had commercial and critical success, starred the actress alongside Genevieve Nnaji.
It hasn’t been such a smooth ride for Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde
13 years ago, in September 2004, film marketers decided to ban eight actors from Nollywood, including the actress.
Popularly called the G8, these actors – Richard Mofe Damijo, Genevieve Nnaji, Emeka Ike, Ramsey Nouah, Nkem Owoh, Stella Damasus and Jim Iyke – were banned for charging huge fees.
Following the ban, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde made her music debut
Along with being one of the most well-known actresses over the past two decades, Ekeinde is also famous for her music career, which she launched in 2005 with the release of her debut album titled ‘Gba.’
She also has an unreleased album titled “Me, Myself, and Eyes.”
Omotola Jalade Ekeinde’s Hollywood debut
In 2013, the actress made a cameo appearance in the first season of “Hit The Floor,” a VH1 drama series.
She played Akon‘s date in just one scene in the fifth episode which was titled “Keep Away.”
A reality TV show
The actress’ prowess isn’t limited to scripted movies and TV series.
In 2012, she launched her own reality show, “Omotola: The Real Me” on Africa Magic Entertainment, offering her fans a look into her private life.
The series returned for a second season in 2016.
A global phenomenon
In 2013, the actress was named one of the most influential people in the world by TIME magazine for their annual TIME 100 list.
She appeared in the icons category alongside Justin Timberlake, Beyonce, Michelle Obama, Kate Middleton among others.
In 2015, American Cinematographer, Keith L. Smith, praised the actress’ acting skill, comparing her to Hollywood’s Angelina Jolie.
A break and a comeback
Years after featuring in a long list of classics alongside virtually every veteran, Ekeinde began to feel creatively stifled. So she decided to take a four-year break.
In 2017, she made a comeback with “Alter Ego,” a movie that attempts to address sexual assault and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The film, despite its lukewarm critical reception, earned the actress several awards, including Best Actress at the Africa International Film Festival.
In 2017, “Blood in the Lagoon,” an action thriller featuring the actress was also released in cinemas.
The actress will next be seen in “Shadow Parties,” a film that encapsulates political struggles, business of arms and ammunition and the killings of innocents.
For over 20 years, the actress has remained relevant, entertaining and inspiring her numerous fans with her talent, fashion style, successful marriage and humanitarian works.
Happy birthday to the talented actress.