Genevieve Nnaji grew up in Lagos, the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria. She is the fourth of eight children and was brought up in a middle-class environment.
Her father worked as an engineer and her mother as a teacher. She attended the Methodist Girls College before heading to the University of Lagos. While at the university, Genevieve began auditioning for acting roles in Nollywood productions.
Nnaji started her acting career as a child actress in soap operas at the age of eight and was also featured in several TV commercials. In 1998, at the age of 19, she made her debut in the growing Nigerian film industry with the movie ‘Most Wanted’. Her subsequent movies included ‘Last Party’, ‘Mark of the Beast’, and ‘Ijele’. She has starred in over 80 Nollywood movies.
Nnaji received several awards and nominations for her work, including the Best Actress of the year award at the 2001 City People Awards and the Best Actress in a Leading Role at the 2005 African Movie Academy Awards. In 2004, she signed a recording contract with EKB Records, a Ghanaian record label, and released her debut album, ‘One Logologo Line’, a mix of various styles of urban music.
Nnaji, in 2008, launched a clothing line, ‘St. Genevieve’, which donates its proceeds to charity. In May 2010, she was appointed as the official ‘Face of MUD’ in Nigeria. She won the Best Actress at the inaugural AMAA and was voted as the official face of Lux beauty soap for sub-Saharan Africa in 2004.
She appeared in Maria Claire Magazine alongside Halle Berry, Jennifer Lopez, Paris Hilton, Jennifer Aniston, and Catherine Zeta-Jones in an article The Most Beautiful Woman in Your World, in which she emerged fourth. She was the first woman to host The Gulder Ultimate Search and also the first host of Gulder Ultimate Search–Celebrity Showdown. Genny, as she is fondly called by her friends and colleagues, loves Angelina Jolie for her humanitarian work.
Genny has been tagged the ‘Julia Roberts of Africa’ by Oprah Winfrey and Cable News Network (CNN), and at the peak of her career, she ranked number 19 in Forbes ‘40 Most Powerful Celebrities In Africa’.