Nollywood’s come a long way to becoming an industry with relatively big budget productions and star-studded premieres.
This makes it easy to forget that only two decades ago, movie makers were pretty much winging it, relying on talent and a lot of hard work to create the much-celebrated movie scene we are seeing today.
We reckon these ladies played their part in those times and deserve thanks for how far Nollywood’s come so far.
Who remembers Liz Benson in Nollywood classic Diamond Ring? The movie is still etched deep in people’s hearts despite being shot 19 years ago.
Such was her hold on movie lovers back in the day. One cannot forget how the movie put fear in viewers as they shivered while watching the movie.
The veteran actress cum deacon has been largely off the scene since she had a secret wedding to Bishop Great Emeya in 2009.
Sola Sobowale and Ali Baba in ‘The Wedding Party’, a film that grossed about half a billion naira
Everyone who remembers the series, Super Story by Wale Adenuga, will surely know the character, Toyin Tomato, a role which was portrayed to critical acclaim by the iconic Sola Sobowale.
The veteran actress had (and still has) the ability to hold her audience sway with her magic.
Although she went on a six-year hiatus to be with her children, the whole country stood felt it when she returned in The Wedding Party … Sola Sobowale had us again.
If one needed someone to assist in shedding a river of tears, Hilda Dokubo was your role interpreter. She had the perfect mix of the hard working mum and the very emotional wife.
Once a Special Adviser on Youth Affairs in Rivers State, she made her acting debut as a youth corps member in 1992 in a film titled Evil Passion.
She has since been involved in activism and youth mentoring within and outside Nigeria.
Fair skinned actress, Eucharia Anunobi was one of the lead characters in Glamour Girls.
With over 5o movies to her credit, the graduate of English’s loud artistic make-up and daring attributes on the screen distinguished her as an actress.
Although it was widely believed that she had dumped Nollywood when she became a minister, Anunobi brushed aside the claims, saying she was very much around and still interested in the movie industry.
If you think you have a wicked mother-in-law, tell her to watch many of the characters portrayed by the legendary Patience Ozokwor, and she would see she’s still a learner.
Fierce, terrific, and sarcastic are the best words to describe the way she portrays her mother-in-law lines, such that any movie that had such a story line would be incomplete without her.
Born in Enugu State, Ozokwor, who has become a force to reckon with in Nollywood, stated once that her portrayal of wickedness in movies was for the larger society to learn the difference between the good and the bad.
Regina Askia was a former model and actress whose break came in 1993 when she played gold digger, Tokunbo Johnson in Fortunes, as well as roles in Suicide Mission and Queen of the Night. Those roles earned her critical acclaim and more roles in Nollywood.
The 49-year old actress cum nurse is now based in the US and married to Rudolph Rudy Williams. She has a daughter named Stephanie who is a spitting image of her former self.
For close to 30 years, Clarion Chukwura has optimally exhibited her acting prowess, which in turn resulted into fame and fortune.
Having ventured into acting as a teenager at the Department of Theatre Arts, University of Ibadan, she had her first outing on stage in 1979.
Chukwura, who is known for her energetic and stern roles, has a son, Clarence Peters; a successful music video director.
For Rachel Oniga, life as an actress started in 1993 after her divorce.
Over time, she has featured in more than a hundred movies, including the iconic Sango and Wale Adenuga’s series, Super Story.
Known for her versatility, Oniga has acted in various crossover movies and has featured in television commercials as well.
With an elegant and bold mien, Joke Silva keeps you glued to your screens in awe as she delivers her roles.
After graduating from the University of Lagos and Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, she began a career in film in the early ’90s.
Not only is her diction and stagecraft admirable, the veteran actress, who has remained relevant in the industry for more than two decades, has proven that women in the industry can have a successful acting career and also hold it firm at the home front.
Married to veteran actor, Olu Jacobs, she revealed that the key to a successful career and marriage is understanding, keeping priorities right and hard work.
Founding partner of the Mount Zion faith Ministries, a Christian drama production ministry, Gloria Bamiloye printed her name in the minds of movie lovers with her role in the movie, Story of My Life, a movie by her husband and founder of the Mount Zion Faith Ministries, Mike Bamiloye, in the mid ’90s.
Several years and movies later, she is still touching lives and holding sway in the industry with Christian movies which teach deep moral and societal values.
This post first appeared on NET.