Omotola Jalade Ekeinde MFR was born, Omotola Jalade on the 7th of February, 1978. She is popularly known as a Nigerian Actress, Singer, Philanthropist and former Model. Since her Nollywood film debut in 1995; the leading actress has appeared in 300 films, selling millions of video copies. After receiving numerous high-profile awards, launching a music career, and amassing an enviable fan base, the press has revered the Screen Nation “Best Actress” as the “African Magic”. She is the first African celebrity to receive over 1 million likes on her Facebook page. She currently has a total of 3 million followers on Facebook.
Beyond her show business accomplishments, she is also applauded for her remarkable humanitarian efforts. Omotola is one of the pioneers of the Video Film Era of Nigerian Cinema, becoming one of the most-watched actresses in Africa. In the year 2013, she was honoured in Time Magazine‘s list of the 100 most influential people in the world alongside Michelle Obama, Beyoncé and Kate Middleton.
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Early life and education
Omotola, who is of Ondo descent, was born in Lagos State. Her original ambition was to work in business management, but while awaiting her results from university, she began modelling to earn a living. Omotola attended Chrisland School, Opebi (1981–1987), Oxford Children School (1987), Santos Layout, and Command Secondary School, Kaduna (1988–1993). She had a brief stint at Obafemi Awolowo University and completed her studies at Yaba College of Technology (1996–2004), where she studied Estate Management.
Omotola was introduced to acting by accompanying a friend to an audition. Her first acting role was in the 1995 movie Venom of Justice, directed by Reginald Ebere. Reginald has been cited as launching Omotola’s career. She was given the lead role in the movie, which set the stage for a flourishing career in the Nollywood film industry. Omotola got her first big role in the critically acclaimed film Mortal Inheritance (1995). In the movie, she played a sickle-cell patient who fought for her life despite the odds of survival. Omotola’s character overcame the disease and she had a baby. The film is regarded as one of Nigeria’s best movies ever. Since then, she has starred in several blockbuster movies, including Games Women Play, Blood Sisters, All My Life, Last Wedding, My Story, The Woman in Me, and a host of others.
After shooting roughly three hundred (300) movies, Omotola received her first cinematic movie role in the year (2010) film “Ije“. This film was shot at locations in Jos, California, and Los Angeles.”Ije” was the highest-grossing Nollywood film at the time – A feat later broken by Phone Swap (2012). In 2012, she starred in the Nollywood blockbuster thriller, Last Flight to Abuja which beat Hollywood blockbusters like Spiderman, Think like a Man, Ice Age, The Avengers, and Madagascar to become the 2nd highest-grossing movie in West African cinemas in 2012. Omotola has gone on to win over forty (40) domestic and international awards. She is considered one of Africa’s biggest box office actress.
In 2015, Omotola celebrated her 20th anniversary in the entertainment industry. She has appeared in about two hundred (200) movies. In June 2018, Omotola alongside Femi Odugbemi, received invitations to join the Oscars in the year voting members.
Reality show and Philanthropies
In 2012, Omotola launched her own reality show, Omotola: The Real Me on Africa Magic Entertainment, an M-Net subsidiary broadcast on DStv. This made Omotola the first Nigerian celebrity to star in her own reality show.
Omotola became a United Nations World Food Programme Ambassador in 2005, going to missions in Sierra- Leone and Liberia. She also supports organisations such as Charles Odii’s SME100 Africa to empower youth and young women in society. She has been active in the Walk the World project and participated in the Walk the World campaign in Liberia with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
Omotola, is known as a fierce human rights campaigner and her philanthropy efforts are centred on her NGO project, called the Omotola Youth Empowerment Programme (OYEP). The undertaking brought hundreds of youths together for the Empowerment Walk and Convention. She lent her voice in 2010 to the Rewrite the Future Campaign of Save the Children UK.
She became an Amnesty International campaigner in 2011 and has participated in campaigns in Sierra- Leone (Maternal Mortality) and her recent campaign of The Niger Delta in Nigeria, where she shot a video asking Shell and the government to own up, clean up, pay up and take responsibility of the Oil spills in the Niger- Delta.
Accolades and Honors
Her inimitable viewpoint earned her a famous column in OK! Nigeria Magazine. The column is titled “Omotola’s Diary” and featuring writings directly from Omotola about her life and experiences. On 5 November 2013, Omotola was honoured with the Ebony Vanguard Award at the Music Video and Screen Awards (MVISA) held in Birmingham. On 9 November 2013, Oba Victor Kiladejo, the Royal king of Ondo Kingdom conferred Omotola with a chieftaincy title in her hometown of Ondo State.
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In 2012, CNN Travel noted Omotola’s famous tongue (accent) on their list of the world’s twelve (12) sexiest accents. The Nigerian accent ranked 5th on the list. The following year, Omotola 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.
In the year 2013, she made a brief appearance in VH1’s scripted series, Hit the Floor. On 2 November 2013, she spoke at the 2013 edition of the WISE- Summit, held in Doha, Qatar.
In the year 2014, she was honoured by the Nigerian government as a Member of the Order of the Federal Republic, MFR for her contributions to Nigerian cinema.
Featured Image Source: BellaNaija
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