Omotola Jalade Ekeinde (born February 7, 1978) is an actress, singer, and philanthropist from Lagos, Nigeria. Since her Nollywood film debut in 1995, she has appeared in an astounding 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 Africa’s biggest star. Today, she is not only noted for her incomparable showbiz accomplishments, but is also applauded for her remarkable humanitarian efforts.
Over the years, Omotola has been a pioneer in the Nollywood film industry, successfully becoming the most watched actress in Africa. Omotola spent the early years of her life growing up with a family of five, including her parents and two brothers. She began to work as a model before launching her on-screen career and attending an unexpected audition. Omotola’s critically acclaimed breakout role came in the 1995 film, “Mortal Inheritance”, in which she portrayed an ill woman combating sickle-cell disease. Her performance in “Mortal Inheritance” earned the actress several awards, including, Best Actress in an English Speaking Movie and Best Actress overall at the 1996/97 Thema Awards, while the film itself is revered today as one of Nigeria’s best ever made.
In the late nineties and early two thousands, the increasingly known actress starred in several sequel films including, Lost Kingdom 2, Korsorogun 2, and Blood Sister 2, leading to a Grand Achiever Award on behalf of the Global Excellence Recognition Awards in 2004.
By the mid 2000s, Omotola had catapulted into A-list status alongside other prominent performers like Genevieve Nnaji, Stella Damasus, and Pete Edochie. Omotola was awarded ‘Best Actress in a Supporting Role’ during the African Movie Awards in 2005. Itching to connect with her huge fan base on a more personal level, OmoSexy, as her fans would call her, launched a long-awaited music career in 2005 with the release of her debut album, titled, GBA. The album featured the singles, “Naija Lowa” and “The Things You Do To Me.” Her sophomore album, “Me, Myself, and Eyes” brought in production from Paul Play and Del B, featuring the songs, “Feel Alright” ft. Harry Song and “Through the Fire” ft. Uche.
Aside from being a wife, mother, and on-screen performer, Omotola has always had a passion for writing; so much so, she was offered her own column in OK! Nigeria. The now famous column, labeled Omotola’s Diary, features writing’s directly from Omotola about her life, experiences, and her inimitable viewpoint. Her other works, include personal poems and co-written scripts for many of the films in which she has starred.
Omotola the philanthropist, powers her NGO project, the Omotola Youth Empowerment Project (OYEP). The undertaking brings hundreds of youths together for the Empowerment Walk and Convention. One of the program’s very famous projects includes the 20 Widows Makeover. The program received a nomination for Best Charity/Cause Related Event at the Nigerian Event Awards in 2012 and continues to operate in remembrance of Omotola’s late mother.
Her activism and philanthropy continues with Save The Children UK, Enough is Enough, and Amnesty International; working for causes like the Maternal Mortality struggle in Sierra-Leone and the Own Up, Pay Up and Clean Up campaign for Niger Delta. She’s remained a UN ambassador for the WFP (World Food Programme) since 2005. During the early 2010s, Omotola starred in several high-grossing films, which saw record-breaking success. The first being “Ije,” (2010) becoming the highest grossing film ever in the African cinemas. This was followed by “Last Flight To Abuja,” earning Omotola another box office record for becoming the highest grossing film in opening week. These accomplishments earned Omotola a new nickname, Cinema Box Office Queen. In 2011, Omotola was invited to attend the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, CA in recognition of her work with Amnesty International and her song “Barren Land,” which was featured in a public service announcement, addressing the Shell Oil spill in the Niger Delta.
2012 marked another career high for Omotola. On October 27, she was awarded The Black Entertainment Film Fashion Television and Arts BEFFTA Icon Award, an exclusive honorary award for her outstanding contributions to the global film industry. Omotola acknowledged the recognition as an extremely special moment for her, stating, “this is the best award I have received on a global level.” Since late 2012, Omotola has been starring in her very own reality TV-show airing on Africa’s most popular network, Africa magic TV. The show, called “Omotola: The Real me,” has become the most viewed television series in Africa as well as making Omotola the first Nigerian to ever have a reality television show.
In February 2013, Omotola’s popularity was still rising when it was announced that she had passed the one million likes mark on Facebook, the world’s most visited social network site. Shortly after, it was announced that Omotola was named one of TIME Magazine’s Most Influential People In the World on the 2013 TIME 100.