That Nollywood money.
For so many, becoming a Nollywood star is a dream. They look up to their favorite actors and actresses and say to themselves “I can do that” but when they get to those sets, they see that 1.) The act of acting itself especially in front of a camera and on a professional set is difficult, and 2.) Acting by itself especially for an up and coming actor or actress doesn’t pay as much as they think.
In fact, if you want to know what the realities of an up and coming actor in Nigeria looks like (and note: these actors are even moderately popular, talk less of the ones no one knows yet), then watch the documentary series Being in Nollywood available on IrokoTV. You’ll see very quickly that Nollywood money isn’t what you think AT ALL.
So then, how did the actresses on this list get as rich and successful as they did? Well, stick around and I’m going to tell you about each one. This list is not ranked meaning that although the list will be numbered, it is not from top to bottom or bottom to top, there is no specific order because last last, none of us actually know how much any of these actresses actually have inside their bank accounts.
Are you ready to jump into this list and find out who the richest Nollywood actresses are? Alright then, let’s go!
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7. Omoni Oboli
Omoni Oboli is a hardworker. As we’ve already discussed, being only an actress won’t give you the kind of money that Omoni Oboli has, you have to aspire for more. And that is what Omoni Oboli did.
After spending some time in the earlier years having her first stint in acting, the actress actually went away for quite some time. In that time though, she wasn’t idle. She worked hard. She went to the New York Film Academy and studied digital film-making. When she came back, she started out once acting easing her way back into Nollywood but once her feet were finally firmly on the ground, she took it up to where the real money is and started producing her own movies.
Earlier in 2002, Omoni and her husband Nnamdi, created Dioni Visions Entertainment, a multifaceted company with entertainment at its core. A production company. This became pivotal to the success that Omoni has now because as soon as she got strong footing in Nollywood, she started making her own movies.
In 2014, she produced and directed her first movie, Being Mrs Elliott. Following that she went on to produce blockbuster after blockbuster including The First Lady, Wives on Strike, Okafor’s Law, and more. Because Omoni Oboli is the director AND producer of these movies, she collects majority share of the revenue the money makes, way more than she would ordinarily be collecting if she was only an actress. Thank God for her, her moveis also sell BIG. Her 2016 movie, Okafor’s Law made N89,740,576 in the box office, Wives on Strike made N71,300,000 and 2018’s Moms At War made N65,000,000. Remember, Omoni takes majority share on all of these movies so let your math tell you how much Omoni is raking in.
In addition to all of this, Omoni is also a published author. She is is the owner and brand ambassador of ageless by Omoni 3D mink lashes. She is one of the brand ambassadors of Pedini Nigeria. Nunu Milk endorsed her as one of its brand ambassadors, and she is an ambassador of Royal Caribbean Nigeria.
Omoni Oboli is GET-TI-NG PAID!
6. Chika Ike
Chika Ike is another actress who isn’t just an actress alone. Like, Omoni Oboli, Chika made the smart decision to actually go into producing her own movies in order to earn majority share on them. However, although Chika’s movies haven’t reached the level of success that Omoni Oboli’s have reached, it doesn’t mean that she’s still not making bank. In fact, her 2020 release through her production company Flip Script Entertainment, Small Chops made N24,924,700 and as of the time of writing this article is the 58th highest grossing Nigerian film. Through her production company, she has also been able to produce other movies including Miss Teacher, Happy Ending, and Stuck on You, all of which are now housed on IrokoTV (who of course paid Chika for these movies). She also had the African Diva Reality Show which was free to view on Youtube. The videos were monetized and the channel has amassed 400,003 views as of the time of writing this article. According to this Youtube Views to Money calculator, it means that Chika made an estimated $$1,600 which isn’t great, but isn’t too bad also. That’s almost N600,000.
She is also a UN Ambassador, author, Bullet Energy Drink Ambassador, and CEO of Fancy Nancy Collections, a fashion store which deals in female clothes and accessories. Chika in her book also said that she’s into real estate and this is one hustle she says that gives her a whole lot of money.
5. Mercy Johnson-Okojie
Mercy Johnson-Okojie’s major thing in Nollywood is acting. She didn’t delve into movie production until 2020 when under Wale Adenuga Productions, she produced her very first movie titled The Legend of Inikpi. The movie went on to make N29,955,335 and because Mercy is credit as a producer, got a higher share on this movie than she would normally get only acting.
Yes, Mercy hasn’t been as actively acting as she did in the early days of her career. No, it doesn’t mean that she’s still not on the scene. The actress is a host on her TV show, Mercy’s Menu. She currently acts as an ambassador to Mr Chef Salt and Household manufacturing giant, Virony. She is also currently the appointed Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on entertainment, arts and culture to Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State.
One of her major sources of income is Mercy Magic, a weight loss tea that sells a whole lot. At any given moment, the site is usually sold out and the teas are not cheap either, ranging from N10,000 to N30,000 per pack.
One way or another, Mercy Johnson is getting paid.
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4. Mary Njoku
Mary Njoku’s major source of income is undoubtedly IrokoTV. Her husband, Jason Njoku founded the Nigerian streaming platform and since then, Mary has assumed the role of chief content officer of IROKO Partners. In addition, she is the director general of ROK Film Studios, a Nigerian film production company that makes a lot of the content that’s on IrokoTV.
In 2019, French television company Canal+ has acquired the ROK film studio from VOD company IROKOtv for an undisclosed amount. Canal+ Chief Content Officer Fabrice Faux speaking on the phone with TechCrunch said:
We are acquiring the talent of Mary. We will provide administrative support, finance and equipment, but otherwise it is our intention to give Mary maximum autonomy and creative freedom.
According to their report, Mary had produced more than 540 movies and 25 original TV series for ROK as of 2019. This is what her husband, Jason, had to say about the sale of IrokoTV and Mary now earning more than him:
Whereas I can’t disclose the number due to sensibilities in France for Vivendi Canal Plus, it was, at least to my knowledge, easily the largest media transaction / deal in West Africa history and possibly Africa (outside of SA). Mrs Njoku didn’t sell her shares, Vivendi Canal Plus acquired IROKO Ltd shares in the ROK Group, so she retains her stake. This is a fantastic exit and considering ROK was only 6-years old and required <$1m equity and debt $1.4m (Bank of Industry Loans) it was a big exit. Incidentally, as a result, Mrs Njoku now earns more than me and is almost worth more than me. I need to crack on to accelerate forward. Man must be man.
Wow! Talk about a hardworker. Mary Njoku is doing IT.
3. Genevieve Nnaji
Genevieve Nnaji is now on a different path. When she first started out in the industry, she was just an actress with a simple wish and desire to do her passion: act. Now that dream is bigger and Genevieve is going for the whole pie. Around 2015, Genevieve quietly created her own production company, The Entertainment Network (TEN). Through this company, she has produced 2 movies: the first one, Road to Yesterday went on to gross N30,000,700 becoming the 53rd highest grossing movie in Nigeria, and Lionheart which made N21,319,102 in the local box office run.
Lionheart was also acquired by Netflix on 7 September 2018, making it the first Netflix original film produced in Nigeria. What does this mean you ask? It means that Genevieve got PAID!
But that’s not all for the actress. Although movies are a huge money maker for her, she also launched a clothing line called St. Genevieve in 2014. It was later relaunched in collaboration with Jumia, a Nigerian online retail store in 2016.
That’s not all. Genevieve also has a sizable investment in real estate. The actress has property in prestigious areas in Lagos, Abuja, and reportedly, even Ghana.
Genevieve is very much AL-RIGHT.
2. Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde
The summary of Omotola’s achievements is listed to you by Omotola herself as soon as you open her Instagram. Her Instagram bio reads:
Dr Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, MFR
Actress,TEFFEST,Artistic Dir,Singer,UNwfp Amb,Amnesty Int activist,Oyep,Time100 Most Influential in the world,Academy Voting Member,Philanthropist
Wow! Talk about a resume. This also very much sums it up but just to expand a little:
Yes, Omotola is an Academy Voting Member meaning that she votes for the Oscars. In 2013, she was in fact honored in Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world alongside Michelle Obama, Beyoncé and Kate Middleton. She is an activist, ambassador, and everything she listed in her bio but her main source of income comes from 3 things:
1.) Acting. Omotola commands a high rate to act in her movies. She chooses what she acts in and she supplies her rate. If you can’t afford it, good bye.
2.) Endorsements: Omotola is a brand ambassador for A LOT of companies including Scanfrost, Knorr, and Pampers.
3.) Real Estate: The actress if you follow her on social media is majorly now invested in property and real estate. This is a huge money maker so we’re assuming that this is where Omotola is devoting a lot of her time right now.
Yes we don’t see Omotola on screen as much as we’d love to anymore, but rest assured that Omosexy is still very much getting her paper regardless.
1. Funke Akindele-Bello
A woman who makes the majority of her money simply from Nollywood which by the way is very very rare is none other than Jenifa herself, Funke Akindele-Bello. Why? Because she is a smart business woman.
When Funke Akindele-Bello begun producing the Jenifa Diary’s series specifically, it was a huge money maker for Nollywood streaming company, IrokoTV. Funke saw this and capitalized on the new streaming age. She created SceneOne TV, her own streaming network on which she still produces Jenifa’s Diary amongst a host of other TV shows.
You might not know this but Jenifa’s Diary is a HUGE money maker for Funke Akindele, so is SceneOne TV. The subscription price is N600/month or N7,000/yr for individuals and N2,000/month and N20,000/yr for families. According to metrics, SceneOne.tv gets an average 113,630 visits per month. When you realize that SceneOne isn’t a free website meaning that these visits are usually made by paying customers, then you can let the math start happening and you can understand why Funke Akindele doesn’t plan on ending Jenifa’s Diary anytime soon, and you can get an estimate of how much money she’s making.
It’s a lot. Plus when you tie in her endorsement deals and partnerships with Lagos State Inland Revenue Service, Iroko TV, Vitafoam, Western Lotto, 1960 Bet, Keystone Bank, Amen Estate, and more, you can understand how Funke Akindele is actually a real life gbo gbo big girl!