Money rituals, black magic, love, crime, and revenge. These were the themes most Nollywood stories were centred on in the ’90s. At the time, Nollywood movies were called ‘home videos’ and the term ‘Nollywood’ had not yet been coined (it would be coined in 2002). Kenneth Nnebue had just transformed the Nigerian film industry with the incredible success of his first film Living in Bondage, and his revolutionary method of recording Nigerian films. The process was to record films directly into empty VHS tapes and distribute to buyers. The process was so simple and cost-effective that several filmmakers and producers began to release films. But Kenneth Nnebue shook the industry again when he released his 1994 film, Glamour Girls.
Glamour Girls was an adult drama film about the explicit life of women who receive payment for sex. In the film, a village girl lets her friend convince her to move to Lagos for greener grass. The village girl arrives in the city with hopes and plans for a better life and is soon transformed by the harsh realities of being a woman in Lagos. The late Jennifer Ossai (who passed away in1999) played the part of the village girl, while Gloria Anozie played the part of the village girls’ best friend. The film featured a surprising amount of sexual content. In fact, some of the most erotic scenes remain legendary even today. Most of these scenes were shocking and unexpected. But it is because the film was so able to surprise audiences that Glamour Girls remains in the minds of every Nigerian today.
Nigerian audiences loved Glamour Girls because the story was different from the norm of that time. The film considered greed, prostitution, and the pursuit of money from different angles. Several characters in the film seemed to add their own special flavour to the whole mix. Barbara Odoh, for example, was a loud and troublesome woman who could cause a scene at any moment. In one scene, in particular, she grabbed a man who had given her a ride somewhere and began to loudly demand payment for sexual services that were never rendered. When a crowd gathered, the man was forced to pay.
The film was released in two parts. Glamour Girls Part 1 was very different from Part 2. Part 1 focused on the terrible adventures of fast girls in Lagos, and Part 2 looked at prostitution as a lifestyle in Italy. Part 1 was far more engaging and popular than Part 2, but both films shone a light on the reality of people in society who must cheat and take advantage of other individuals to survive. Those who are looking for a moral can find one in these two films if they pay enough attention. Life is difficult and only the wise survive, but wisdom is hard to obtain. There are many waiting to prey on ignorance. Be wary.
Glamour Girls helped launch the careers of many of the actors in Part 1 and 2. A few of the young Nollywood stars who appeared in it include Pat Attah, Barbara Udoh, Eucharia Anunobi, Zach Orji, Liz Benson, Gloria Anozie, Sola Fosudo, and Tina Amuziam. Even though it has been more than 20 years since the release of this film, women like Eucharia Anunobi and Gloria Anozie are still referred to by Nigerians as the ‘Glamour Girls’. An interesting fact to note is that almost all of the women who played lead roles (Liz Benson, Barbara Odoh, Eucharia Anunobi, are now Christian evangelists.
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Featured Image Source: Myopic Concaves