FUNSHO AROGUNDADE looks at some of Nigeria’s Nollywood’s twinkles with huge chances of becoming stars

Belinda Effah

Belinda Effah:  She has had a successful year, earning recognition from a variety of sources. In November, Belinda Effah was adjudged the Most Promising Act Female at the Best of Nollywood Awards. This came after emerging Best Upcoming Actress at the Golden Icons Academy Awards in Houston, Texas.  The University of Calabar graduate of Genetics and Bio-Technology has starred in some recently released movies that include Kokomma and  Udeme Mmi, the latter a comedy currently showing at the cinemas.

Linda Ejiofor

Linda Ejiofor: Seen Rita Dominic’s latest movie, The Meeting? It serves a rich dish of Linda Ejiofor’s acting talent.

Linda who, for five years has starred as Bimpe in Tinsel, already, studied sociology at the University of Port Harcourt. She later had a stint as model before taking acting.

Beverly Naya

Beverly Naya: The dishy-looking Beverly Naya has not been around for more than three years, but she is already racing to the top. Next year could see her hit it really big, as she features in nine soon-to-be-released movies. The starlet, who is currently on the set of Lotonna alongside Chris Attoh, Iretiola Doyle, Bimbo Manuel, Jide Kosoko and Chris Okagbue, won the Most Promising Talent award at the 2010 Best of Nollywood Awards and Fast Rising Actress at the 2011 City People Entertainment Awards. Born in London, the 23-year old started acting at age 17 while in Drama College in London. She later attended London’s Rodhampton University, where she studied Film Making and Scriptwriting.

Damilola Adegbite

Damilola Adegbite:  Her fans were shocked when Damilola Adegbite announced her exit from the MNet-sponsored soap, Tinsel, on which she played Telema Duke. Her return to acting came via a Ghanaian movie, 6 Hours to Christmas. The movie, directed by Shirley Frimpong-Manso, also starred Chris Attoh and many other notable Ghanaian actors.

Damilola’s first major Nollywood movie is Flower Girl, a romantic comedy produced and directed by Michelle Bello. The movie, set to be premiered on 14 February 2013, stars Damilola, Chris Attoh, Eku Edewor, Bikiya Graham-Douglas, Chuks Chukwujekwu, Patrick Doyle, Teni Aofiyebi and Tosan Edremoda-Ugbeye.

Before now, she had played lead and supporting roles in a series of stage plays, including The Vagina Monologues, which highlighted gender inequality and sensitive issues such as female genital mutilation and wife battery. She has also featured in some television commercials, as well as hosting a Countdown Show on the music channel, Soundcity. Damilola, who attended Bowen University, Iwo, Osun State, holds a degree in Business Administration.

Amaka Anioji: The 2012 Abuja International Film Festival, AIFF, was where Amaka Anioji was first recognised. The young movie actress and producer was adjudged the winner of the coveted Best Actress category of the ninth edition of the festival. The award was for her effort in Tope Oshin-Ogun’s engaging short film, Till Death Do Us Part. She was nominated alongside Funke Akindele and Nse Ikpe-Etim.

The Enugu-born actress and graduate of History and International Relations came into the industry in 2009. She recently finished work on a new movie, Married.

Chelsea Eze

Chelsea Eze:  Since her debut in Vivian Ejike’s 2009 movie Silent Scandal, Chelsea Eze has been an object of interest for many producers. In Silent Scandal, she played Ella, a role that fetched her an African Movie Academy Awards nomination. The movie also featured Genevieve Nnaji, who played her mother, and Majid Michel, who was caught in a love triangle between mother and daughter.

Since then, Chelsea has featured in other hit movies, including Two Brides and A Baby, Twist, Timeless Passions and Hoodrush.

The Languages and Linguistics graduate of the University of Maiduguri, also won the Best Upcoming Actress at AMAA 2010, ZAFAA 2010 Most Promising Actress Award and Best of Nollywood 2010 Revelation of the Year Award.

Femi Jacobs: Music was his first calling. But after two albums and less than impressive response, Femi Jacobs dumped the microphone for acting. And he seems to have made a smart move.

Femi, who came to continental attention when he was cast as Eddie Edoma in Tinsel, is starred as the co-lead character in The Meeting.

Alex Ekubo

Alex Ekubo: When Alex Ekubo emerged the first runner-up in the second edition of Mr. Nigeria contest, he was optimistic that the platform would surely serve as a springboard. His optimism has proved to be founded, as he has become a fixture at most glamorous events.

Though he got his first movie role in Sinners In The House, a movie produced by Lancelot Oduwa- Imasuen in the year 2000. He went into modeling, from where he recently returned as a co-lead in AY’s Crib, the new sitcom starring comedian Ayo Makun, Mercy Johnson, Desmond Elliot, Uti Nwachukwu, Ushbebe,  Buchi Franklyn and model Venita Akpofure.

The Abia State born actor/model later starred in In The Cupboard, co-produced by Ini Edo and Caroline Danjuma.

Other credits include Ladies Men, True Citizen, Dreamwalker, Weekend Getaway and Lovelorn.

Alex Ekubo got three major award nominations in 2012– Best Of Nollywood Awards as a Supporting Actor for his role In The Cupboard and Most Promising Male Actor, and one Golden Icon Academy Movie Award in Houston America for Best Supporting Actor also for In The Cupboard. He won the BON Awards as Most Promising Male Actor.

Ekubo is a Law graduate of the University of Calabar.

Gbenro Ajibade: Plays Soji Bankole in Tinsel. Ajibade started as a model in 2005 and has done many fashion shows and featured in scores of television commercials. These are aside from billboards and so many other adverts. This has fetched him the Most Outstanding Actor/Model in the Nigerian Model Achievers Awards 2011.

Gbenro is also a presenter on “Calabar Rocks” a show packaged by Storm 360. Though, Gbenro is yet to debut on the big screen, he has shown all the potential of a big time movie star with his role in Tinsel.