Delectable actress, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde who marked her 20th anniversary in the entertainment industry by paying a visit to Stella Maris College, in Abuja last weekend, surely has come of age : a respected actress, singer and writer of great repute. In the past 20 years, Omotola has enjoyed a smooth journey to stardom. While most of her contemporaries are nowhere to be found today, the famous actress has sustained the tempo, standing tall, even in the midst of despair and unfriendly working environment.
As one of the shining stars of the Nigerian movie industry, her sojourn in the world of make-believe has indeed brought her more blessings than woes and regrets. Hitting the limelight after starring in that critically acclaimed movie, “ Mortal Inheritancee” in 1995, Omotola can live to recall some of the moments that helped to shape and reshape her career as an entertainer spanning 20 years.
She set out to conquer the screen at the age of 16, and finding herself in a position where she assisted her widowed mother to provide for their family remains one moment she would hardly forget as long as she lives. As she has flagged off her tour of 20 cities across the world as part of the programme outlined for the celebration of her 20 years as an entertainer, we take a look at the moments that helped to shape her career.
According to her, “Starting a career as a young girl of 16, all I wanted was to help my widowed mother provide for our young family. I stumbled on the opportunity to model freely, and by fate, I was invited to a movie casting. Who knew as frightened and vulnerable as I was then, that I was starting the journey of my destiny? 20 years later, not only did I provide for my now late widowed mother, I also helped train two younger ones and earned myself a career in Nollywood.”
Named one of the most influential people in the world
Omosexy, as she is fondly called by her fans, also would live to remember the very year(2013) she was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by TIME magazine. It was an honour well deserving as she was the first Nollywood actor to make the exclusive list. By making the list, Omotola was ranked among music’s most influential couple, Jay Z and Beyonce, First Lady of The United States Michelle Obama, former Malawian President Joyce Banda, Frank Ocean, Christina Aguilera and others who made the influential list. It was one moment that would remain indelible in her mind.
Also, recently, Yahoo UK listed this screen goddess as one of the World’s Highest Grossing Movie Stars You’ve Probably Never Heard Of. Omotola happens to be the only Nigerian, and indeed, African, on the list as well as being one of the two women that made the list. Another milestone was when she was presented with the prestigious Ebony Vanguard Award for her long standing achievements in acting, in Birmingham, United Kingdom in 2013, in the presence of leading British film-makers.
Omotola as a singer
As a versatile entertainer, Omosexy delved into music in 2005, to connect with her huge fan base on a more personal level. Her debut album titled GBA, 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. Unfortunately, her music career could fly. But as many rightly observed, Omotola has made a statement with her music.
Commendation from Amnesty International
If there is any event that would remain evergreen in Omotola’s mind, it is the letter she got from the Secretary-General of Amnesty International, Mr Salil Shotty. The letter dated November 4, 2014, commended Omotola for taking injustice personally and for her ongoing support for Amnesty International and its efforts to strengthen human rights in Africa and around the world.
“You have been a staunch advocate for Amnesty International’s campaigns and I am personally grateful for your commitment and willingness to associate your name and public success with our cause,”reads the letter. Omotola, however, described the letter as one of the major highs of her career. “Getting a personal letter from the Secretary-General of Amnesty international has to be one of the major highs in my career,” she confessed.
Attending Grammy Awards
Another memorable event was when she was invited in 2011, 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. The year 2012 marked another career high for the actress. 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.