I will act any role except nude, No money can get my clothes off -Genevieve Nnaji

by NMN (Staff) / 4,282 Views

With the release of her new movie, The Mirror Boy still grabbing headlines and the world media clamouring for her story, Africa’s answer to royalty, Genevieve Nnaji bares all in this interview.


Do you see yourself as sexy and what’s the favourite part of your body?

I like to think that I’m sexy although I don’t always feel sexy. I think my waist is my best body part…I like my waist because it’s small and neat and gives me my hourglass figure (laughs).

What has been your favourite role to date?

Wow I have enjoyed playing all the characters in the movies I have done. The Mirror Boy was fun. Ije was another movie which was great and challenging because it was shot in Hollywood among other Hollywood stars, but I would say my favourite to date is the Window of Glory where I played the role of a blind girl. I really got into my character and learnt a lot about myself at the same time.

You have starred in more than 100 movies, are there any roles you have not played?

There are still many roles left in me. I’m prepared to try any new thing and challenging. I would do any role except porn – no amount of money can get my clothes off.

The world is your oyster, who would you most like to star with?
Johnny Depp. I find him a very deep actor mostly because he represents what I represent, he acts for himself and he picks out roles that he enjoys; it’s not about the movie being commercial. He is acting for himself and picks out challenging characters to play. Acting should not be taken too seriously, it should be fun and he doesn’t take himself too seriously.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

The gym – a great work out! I am very hyper in the morning so the gym is somewhere I can get rid of tension and gets me prepared both mentally and physically for the rest of the day which is usually long and tiring. I am not a screamer in the gym (laughs) but I like to zone out and plan my daily goals. I don’t see anybody at that point in time. I go into my inner self and put on my earphone listening to music and meditate about my future. I’m what you call a deep thinker. I love to run the most and use the treadmill or steppers as I work mostly on my legs and thighs plus my stomach.

What inspires and motivates you in life?

Fear of failure. I am driven by fear of not achieving what I set out to achieve and not meeting my standards. I can be pretty hard on myself. I’m very competitive so failure cannot be an option.

What is your ultimate goal?

I want to challenge myself as an actor some more. I don’t think I have reached my potential. There is still a hunger in me. I am still not completely satisfied. I won’t stop until I get an Oscar.

If you could do it all again what would you do?

Gosh, if I had it my way I would love to be a model, but I don’t have the height. If I could start my career again I would definitely go into the fashion world because I have been designing since primary school. But you can’t go back into time and the best thing about my job is that I get to dress up and pose all the time just like a model!

You are what is described as a ‘Yummy Mummy’ – someone who is career minded, ambitious and beautiful. However, you were also a teen mother – what advice would you give to other teen mums?

Thank you. I have never heard of that term, but I like to keep this part of my life private and I don’t like to talk about my daughter. But what I would say is, I completely believe in destiny. I think everybody has a dream and something they want to achieve so you should never give up on yourself. Learn to embrace everything life throws at you and learn to make everything work for you even your mistakes. Do not give up on your dreams as long as there is life, there is hope. When you have life, you should make the best of your time as possible because life is too short.

You’ve been romantically linked to several people, are there any wedding bells in the future?

Yes, I am dating, but there won’t be any chiming of any wedding bells although I do want to get married. I am looking for someone who can keep me excited because I get bored easily. I need someone who is there to support me, who is confident. I haven’t got the time to be massaging a man’s ego; he has to be confident in our relationship from the get-go!

Who is your ideal man?

We all want a handsome man, but ultimately we want one that is good inside. But I would love to meet someone with a Johnny Depp personality and with Boris Kodjo’s lips (laughs).

Story by Janelle Oswald

-New African Woman
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I didn’t know I was pregnant for seven months - Genevieve Nnaji

by NMN (Staff) / 3,767 Views

She did not have the so-called ‘normal’ childhood. Her teenage life was truncated. She became pregnant at 17. Much was not expected from the little girl who did not follow the ‘golden rule’ of right upbringing (from secondary school, university and to career), however, against all odds, Genevieve Nnaji has broken, recreated and became the rule for many and is now a success story. Read on...

Genevieve Nnaji photo
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My wife dictates roles I play in movies

by NMN (Staff) / 1,795 Views

Call him, the notorious playboy on screen, and you may not be wrong. Majid Michel, born of a Lebanese father and a Ghanaian mother is one Ghanaian actor you cannot but admire on screen. Daring and romantic, Majid rules his world when it comes to the screen. Grossly misunderstood by his teeming fans , he is seen as an incurable playboy.

As one of the international stars who graced the just concluded 7th edition of the African Movie Academy Awards(AMAA), held last Sunday, in Yenoghoa, Majid paints a different picture of himself. He also put the record straight by denying the rumour that he has ever indulged in Read more »

Genevieve Nnaji dubbed the Julia Roberts of Africa

by NMN (Staff) / 2,219 Views

With her glamorous looks and exceptional talent, Nigerian movie star Genevieve Nnaji is one of Africa's most successful actresses.

The screen diva -- dubbed the Julia Roberts of Africa -- has starred in dozens of films, enchanting millions of movie fans across the continent.

The 31 year old actress is considered to be a poster girl for Nollywood, the booming Nigerian movie industry, which according to UNESCO, is the world's second-largest film producer after India's Bollywood.

Nnaji has been performing in front of the camera from the age of 8. She is now one of Africa's most instantly recognizable faces and has won several accolades, including the 2005 African Academy Movie Award for Best Actress.

CNN's Pedro Pinto caught up with Nnaji before her latest movie premiere in London to discuss fame and her passion for Nigeria. An edited version of the interview follows:

CNN: Do you see yourself as an ambassador for your country?

Genevieve Nnaji: As long as you are a celebrity and in the public eye, you are an ambassador because you are the person they see -- they can't see the whole continent, they can't see the whole country.

CNN: How would you describe Nigeria to people who've never been there?

Genevieve: Nigeria is a unique and a peculiar country, and as the people, we are too.

CNN: Why peculiar?

Genevieve: Because everything, every aspect of human nature is in every Nigerian -- the good, the bad, the ugly, it's just like another New York. Nigeria is fun, to be honest.

But when...all we have people talking about when it comes to Nigeria is crime and fraud and things...that's just a very very minute number of people. Nigerians on the whole are very confident people. I believe we are confident, I believe we are very resourceful and we are very hospitable when it comes to visitors in the country.

CNN: When you look at your country, what are some of the things that you love about it?

Genevieve: I like that as Nigerians we have some sort of neighborly love that we don't understand. We have a way of coming to the rescue of complete strangers. We do have that bond and I think it has to do with our background and how we are raised....I would never live anywhere else to be honest, no.

CNN: Really?

Genevieve: No, I grew up in Lagos, I was born and bred there and I don't see myself leaving that town any time soon. I can work anywhere else but in terms of living, I'm used to Lagos.

CNN: How does it make you feel when people are screaming your name constantly?

Genevieve: You never get completely used to it, like the last time I was here for the other premiere -- "Bursting Out" -- it was pretty overwhelming. I just thought, is this my life, all these people actually loving and appreciating me for who I am?

It's very humbling to be honest, I must say I'm blessed.

CNN: When did you realize that maybe this could be your future, this could be your career?

Genevieve: I don't think I ever realized that, for a long time I kept thinking, OK, this is just temporary, definitely I'm going to go back to school and read law, English or something that I wanted to do.

So I never fully accepted acting as my profession. I don't think I saw myself there but we are, I am an actor.

CNN: Do you ever get the feeling when you wake up in the morning one day that you wish you weren't famous?

Genevieve: Oh yes, I don't even need to wake up, just sitting down sometimes I'm like, God, sometimes I hate my life. But I can't complain.

CNN: You have been referred to as the African Julia Roberts. When you hear that, what do you feel?

Genevieve: Thanks to Oprah (Winfrey), it's very, very flattering, I mean not just because I'm compared to (Roberts) but because of who compared me to her.

So it's an honor to be honest but I think it's probably the vein we have on the forehead, I think that's what we have in common.

CNN: What do you wish for your future, where do you see yourself?

Genevieve: I want to be further challenged in my career, I don't think I have reached my peak necessarily so I hope for other opportunities, greater opportunities to express myself.

Mostly because there is still something inside of me that I just feel I haven't let out and it's really trying to come out and trying to burst loose so I'm hoping for that opportunity...I just want that story, that story that challenges me even further.


This is an Exclusive -All Access- Interview of Africa's most successful Nollywood actress, Genevieve Nnaji. Feautured on Nigeria Movie Network! 

Post your comments below, let's hear your opinion of Genevieve as an Ambassador for Nigeria, if not Africa as a whole.

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First time I saw Genevieve Nnaji, the world stood still -Majid Michel

by NMN (Staff) / 5,468 Views

He dated only one woman before he got married. He has never strayed into another woman’s arms all the way since 2004. Then he met Genevieve Nnaji and was so struck that he offered to carry her bag and become her personal assistant but he has no qualms about showing his butt in movies.

In fact, he’ll do it again. It’s all in a day’s job. Majid Michel is one hell of a guy. Find out more about the half-Ghanian, half-Lebanese star actor, in this interview he had with SAM OLATUNJI in Ghana. Read the excerpt:

I can see that you are passionately liked, is there something else about you other than a talented actor?
Yes, but I am not just about talent. I went to acting school here in Ghana. We have lecturers from all over the world, excluding Africa. For two years I studied broadcasting, performance, editing, writing, acting. I majored in directing.

What acting school did you attend?
I went to Academy of Screen Acting.

When you act, you bring this vivacious personality on the screen, is it just to impress or that is just you?
I will say I just try as much as possible to make it believable, so when you actually think, you don’t think you are watching a movie, you will think what you are watching is actually happening. I watched Sin of a Soul and I actually forgot that I was watching a movie. I thought the situation was really happening and that is what I like when I am watching a movie. It captivates you; you are lost in thought. I am happy being an actor because it is all I have ever wanted to do.

And fulfilled?
Very, very much but I have certain things to do to get 100% fulfillment and I am working towards it. Every actor and actress has this thing; they want to direct one day. I just want to direct a couple of movies. After that I will be fulfilled.

It doesn’t look like you’ve made much impact in Nigerian cinema?
Well, I have had three premieres in Nigeria; Guilty Pleasure, Bursting Out and Silent Scandal. So I was actually part of three Nigerian movies that were premiered. But I don’t shoot too often there.

And why is that?
I hate flying, but if the script is tight enough, I will come.

So because you hate flying that is why you’ve not been shooting movies in Nigeria?
Yes and because I need an extra ordinary story that will blow me away. It just has to be a wonderful story but then I still have to think of the plane.

It’s not because some people were threatening in Nigeria?
No, I was not threatened. I just decided to stay away from Nigeria. No one has ever threatened me. I don’t know where that story came from.

Are you aware that Lancelot said it is only you and Mercy Johnson he considered method actors? You share his sentiment?
I think Mercy Johnson is a phenomenal actor. I have worked with her twice, one in Nigeria, once in Ghana and I think she is one of my favorites. Actually she is in a class of her own. If you put her in a proper and international establishment, she will be one of the best in the world.

What about you?
Me, I am still learning. There are a lot of things I have to learn more to get really rooted in the industry and I am still working on it. I want to know my weak points, where I fall short. So whatever you see now, I am just warming up.

Who are your favorite directors?
The one I work with every time in Ghana is Frank Rajah Arase. He simplifies my job before we go on location. He makes it very easy for me to run through all my lines. I also liked Amafor.

What about producers?
All producers, obviously Abdul Salam and other good guys doing well. They are all great producers to work with.

Is Majid actually married?
Yes I am married. I have been married since 2004. I am married with two daughters.

How old are your girls?
One is three, one is six.

But I’ve heard people say that you are a play boy?
People talk a lot, so you should expect anything from them.

So Majid is not a play boy?
No, of course I am not a play boy.

Well one actress has actually complained to me and said you are a playboy. She was just talking. She was just being funny, just to make you laugh.

Even looking at you, you look like a play boy...
No, I’m just a friendly person and very easy to be with.

You’re seen with Jim Iyke a lot...
Yeah, Jim Iyke is my friend, he is a very good friend in Nigeria and we are quite close.

Who are the other guys you are close to in Nigeria?
I hang out with Ramsey. I just met Mike Ezuruonye and he is an amazing guy.

Lancelot said you once told him that you’d faint if you work with Genevieve?
Yes, I really thought Genevieve was an incredible figure on the screen, I just love the way she acts. I said if I ever get to work with Genevieve I don’t think I will be able to act as I will be gazing into her face. By the way Lancelot is very close to me as well, he is a friend.

When you met Genevieve what came to your mind and what did you do? Everything stood still. I didn’t exist anymore. The world was on a pause, Nothing else was moving apart from me, I guess, watching everything. I offered to carry her bag, she said she had a PA. I told her I would love to be her PA.

When you worked together, I’m sure you kissed in the movie. When you did, what was passing through your mind?
Nothing, truthfully there was nothing. Genevieve is so professional and she knows what she needs to do. We had both discussed the script together and she knew the entire scene very well. That was not the first time I was kissing in a movie. Kissing her was not the high point but meeting her was the high point of it. We were just being as professional as we could to portray the movie well. So, don’t let anything run through your mind.

Is it true you two are dating?
It is a normal thing for people to talk like that and it will not be the first or the last. People talk about those things every time.

So, you never dated her?
No, she is just a good friend of mine.

When was the last time you saw each other?
I saw her at the last Ghana Movie Awards

What is it with you and Van Vicker? Heard you have issues.
I don’t know where that is also coming from. I know that we relate well with each other and we still spoke the last time we saw each other.

But it is in the papers and it was said that you are even pushing him out of Ghana?
Please don’t believe everything you read in the papers. I wonder where they got all that from.

So how do you feel hearing all these stories about yourself?
It is disheartening and when you think about it. It dampens your spirit. You just have to learn to live with it.

What story did you see in the papers that really made you want to shoot someone?
It was the one that said I was arrested; arrested for what? What was that headline for? It is just not fair when something like that never happened and you wonder what people will think when they read it.

So what happened in Lebanon?
The guy just asked to check my passport and I had to wait because I got two passports with different names and he said he just wanted to confirm my name on the list and asked me if I was coming from London and I said yes. That was all.

How does your wife take all these?
She takes it very well and she knows it is the media that write anything they want. We are always together and she ignores most of the things they write. Miracles and good things happen every where we go and you just see somebody write bad things about you and they think it is a joke but it is no joke. If it is true fine but when you lie it is not good.

Where exactly are you from?
I am a Ghanaian, born and bred in Ghana. My mum is from Ghana and my Dad is from Lebanon.

Tell us about your Dad...

He died in 1992.

How close were you to him?
We were quite close. I used to dream about him a lot when he died. He died shortly after I came back from Switzerland. He died from a heart problem. He was a wonderful man and he was really nice. I really wish he was alive.

Have you always dreamt of being an actor?
Yes I have. I used to act with my sisters at home and I have always wanted to be an actor. Watching those movies when I was so young, I always feel I could do one particular role better than it was done. It is by no chance that I am an actor.

Tell me about your mum, did she re-marry after your dad died?
No she did not. She is 60yrs old now.

How old were you in 1992?

From 1992 to date is like 19yrs?

And since then there has been no father figure around?
No, none whatsoever.

How has that been?
My mum did not make it look tough at all. She made it look all so simple and cool. She made my sisters and I so comfortable

How many are you?
Ten of us.

Your parents gave birth to ten of you?
Yes. They are in the states, just four us here in Ghana.

Your mum and dad gave birth to 10 children?
No, my mum gave birth to two but my father had ten. I am the last born.

I have never seen a polygamous Lebanese before...
He did not marry them at once.

Okay, how’s your relationship with your siblings?
We are close, very close. We communicate a lot; they are all great and we are fortunate to have each other. And we have reunions every year.

Let’s get a little personal; have you ever cheated on your wife?
No, I haven’t

Since you got married in 2004?
No, I am like a mini-god.

Are you kidding me? What about all these ladies that flock around you all the time?
God won’t let me and I just can’t see myself doing something like that.

But some will still say you are lying...
I know, but the guilt will be too much for me to carry and I know it is just wrong. Maybe it is the way I grew up and the churches that put that fear in me and make me believe I can’t do it.

You did not sleep with another woman before you married your wife?
I dated only one girl before I marry my wife and since then there has been no one else. We have been together for 11years now and she is the best thing that can happen to me and the most beautiful woman for me.

What does she do?
She is a designer. She designs for pregnant women; she is a maternity designer.

Are you happy that you are married?
Yes, so happy and glad that I am married.

Have you ever been approached by a desperate lady who really wanted to sleep with you at all cost?
Of course, but I have a way of handling those issues and you know I love to be in the midst of women to marvel at what God created out of them and this makes me understand how to deal with them.

So, you have never have taken advantage of situations like that?
No, I haven’t. And I hope I don’t because it is not right.

Has your wife ever doubted your loyalty?
Never, she is always there at all occasions with me and she knows what I am going to do even before I do it because we read the scripts together and go through the scenes too.

Why do you kiss so passionately in movies?
I told you before; movie is a slice of life. It has to look believable and it’s either you are doing it or you are not doing it at all. Like when it looks as if I was having sex on screen and I assure you, I did nothing. I just wanted people to feel it’s real.

What did your wife say about it?
Heart of Men is one of her favorite movie.

Why is pornography prominent in Ghanaian films?
It is all about the script. I would do a pornography scene if it connects with the film and it’s important for the film.

Then you won’t show your backside again?
If there is need, I will.

Then can you do the whole nude thing?
That will be a tough challenge and I’m telling you it is going to be tough but I can if I am really connected with the script and there is really a need for it.

Don’t you feel a little bit queasy with a lot of people there?
The director always uses as minimal number of people as possible for such roles when shooting.

But the actress playing opposite you will see you naked...
No, I wasn’t completely naked and she did not see my front and she was fully clothed.

What does the future hold for Majid?
I don’t know. I leave that to God to decide. I have my dreams and I will just continue to do what I do and pray that my dreams come true.

What are your dreams?
Just like every other producer and actors; to put a great film together and to always have something epic to show for it.

What is your relationship with your colleagues here in Ghana like?
I am cordial with everybody and we all enjoy what we do.

When you play love scene in movies, do you get carried away emotionally?
Yes, you have to put yourself there to make it look so real and try not to be a fake because when you are a fake, the viewers will see you and that’s not good. When the movie is over, it is over. But at that moment when you are acting it, you have to show the emotions. When you are on set and they say a woman is your wife then you need to treat her like one and when it is over you go back to being yourself.

When did you start acting?
1999. And I started from radio drama and I grew from there to where I am today. I then went to school of acting for a formal training.

Why did you not go to a conventional school to learn this?
It was because they don’t have what I wanted to study.

By SAM OLATUNJI Read more »

Acting has been part of me right from when I was a kid - Oluchi Philips

by NMN (Staff) / 2,084 Views

Left to her mum, Oluchi Philips, a Nollywood actress, would have ended up in a fanciful vocation, where it would be easy for her to get married and live happily after but she had her way. Today, her mum is her greatest admirer and critic. Philips tells ADA ONYEMA about her life and the experience so far.

Childhood dream
Acting has been part of me right from when I was a kid. Right from my primary and secondary school days, I have been involved in drama groups. As I was filling my Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board form, my mum was saying, ‘You can’t study theatre arts’ because parents then thought that those who read such courses were good for nothing. She rather wanted me to be a lawyer, doctor and the rest. But I really wanted to be an actress because it is my passion and favourite course. I’m not into it because I want to make money, but because of the love I have for it.

Definitely, anything you do in life you are not making money out of is not business. After the monetary aspect of it comes the passion. I love to make money and at the same time, I have a passion for the work. Well, whatever you do well in life must have fame attached to it. I want to be famous and known all over the world, not just in Africa. It is not just for the passion and money, the fame is there too.

So many people kicked against it, especially my friends. They were saying something like, ‘Are you sure you want to get married at all or live in someone’s house for the rest of your life?’ There is the misconception that actresses don’t get married and when they do, they divorce before you know it, not just in Nigeria but also all over the world. My mum made her position clear right from the outset by warning me not to kiss anybody on screen. But I refused to be discouraged.

I had to talk to my mum several times to make her understand my position. She accepted, but with some conditions. She reminded me that she is an Ezinne (a member of the Mothers Union) in the Catholic Church and didn’t want any scandal. It is quite natural for them to raise eyebrows, but it is up to you to make them understand the way acting goes. Today, she is my best admirer and critic and she is very proud of me.

Sexual harassment
In this industry, I’ve not been sexually harassed, but while in school, I was (harassed) several times. While in school, a particular lecturer made me to fail one course several times. At the end of the day, a change came and that was how I sat for those courses and made my papers. In Nollywood, I hear people say that and I keep asking how that is possible. Most of us push ourselves to the directors, producers to get lead roles. Most of us don’t believe in what we have inside of us. They think that the only way to do it is by getting closer to the producers and directors and by the time you do that, you are only paving the way for them to make advances at you. Apart from that, it is normal for a man to make advances to a lady, after all, we all passed through the walls of school. I don’t think it is a do-or-die affair. If you don’t want to sleep with him, he will never force you and if you don’t get the particular script, there are other scripts on the way. Some actresses go ahead to sleep with them, but they come out to tell us they are sexually harassed; it is not true because they were not forced or raped. Why would they come out and say they were sexually harassed? If you are good you are good.

I started acting in 1998, and my first movie was the Lost Kingdom, which was directed by Ndubuisi Okoh. I vividly remember I was paid N5,000 and I was very happy because it was big money to me. Before then, I used to either collect money from men or I got a tip. The feeling was different; it was my first time of making money on my own. My friends came back one day and said they went to shoot the Battle of Muzanga, and I felt bad for not going with them. Next time, I went with them and met all the big stars we see on TV and it was fun.

Role model
Genevieve (Nnaji); the first time I met her in Enugu, she played a lead role, but was always keeping to herself and I have watched some of her movies. Any role you give her, she steps into the character and does it well. I keep praying to always be able to go into the character of any role that comes my way.

Being a tomboy is a habit I learnt while growing up. I will say that I’m a tomboy and no. Yes, because I grew up in the midst of guys. I love the way my brothers behave and I took after them and their ways. I started making up after my graduation. As I got into the industry, I was made to understand that I’m a lady not a boy; that I’ve to act and dress like a lady. It has nothing to do with the roles I play. There is a lot of difference between being a tomboy and being a lady; for instance, the way I speak, act, those boyish moves. I thought it was normal and I followed them. But now, I’ve come to realise that those moves are meant for boys; a lady has to be calm in her way. It is as if I’m learning to live all over again.

My experience in the industry has been good. The industry gives you an avenue to meet different people from different backgrounds.

Another love
I’m an international business woman; I buy and sell.

Growing up
I’m the first girl from a family of five. My growing up was great. I grew up in the midst of guys, lots of male cousins. I come from a large family and everybody came home every Christmas. It was an interesting time. My mum was a teacher and while in school, we were expected to show good examples.

Educational background
I have a BA (Hons) in English as first degree and a diploma in Theatre Arts from University of Uyo.

Love life
Nothing is really going on. I don’t have a boyfriend; no I have. I don’t know why you people can’t cut this relationship thing out. He is kind, warm; I don’t know how to describe him. He is just wonderful. Everything I will ever ask for in a man is complete in him. I didn’t want to discuss him. We hope to walk down the aisle soon. He understands my profession and knows that it is a make-belief. He is human though so it hurts at times.

Depth of love
If my man asks me to quit my career for him, I will not consent to that but I believe in dialogue and I will make him understand. I won’t want to quit but will also respect my husband. I can quit my career, but will not be happy quitting my passion for my husband.


Being an actress is not easy; we’re always afraid to do certain things. We’re not comfortable when we go out, but always on edge because you will not like to be caught unawares thereby living a fake or false life. Read more »