Omotola Celebrates 20 years In Nollywood
• Kicks Off 20 Cities Tour At Stella Maris College, Abuja
Having spent 20 solid years as a frontline actress in the country’s movie industry, with countless lead roles and awards, star actress Omotola Jalande has rolled the drums to celebrate a successful Nollywood career that has launched her on the international scene.
Just few days ago, the award-winning actress was recently put on yahoo’s list of The highest-grossing movie stars you’ve probably never heard of; Omo Sexy, as she’s fondly called, happens to be the only Nigerian and African on the list, as well as being one of the two women on the list.
To set the tone for the celebration, which will see the gorgeous actress tour 20 cities, Omotola was at the Stella Maris College, Abuja, to flag off her tour of 20 cities in the world, as part of the programmes outlined for the celebration. The visit was an opportunity for the actress to mentor and encourage younger generations to believe in their God’s given talents and work towards a greater Nigeria.
“That was my motivation,” said the Nollywood star, “to meet with young children.”
While the visit provided an opportunity for Omotola to share her experiences and rise to stardom, the event also witnessed the formal launch of her pet project, I gat value, which aims at strengthening value system, helping young people develop self confidence.
“What is lacking most among us in Nigeria is value; we don’t feel valued. I wonder if our government cares about us. What is the value of a Nigerian child? How many people died in France and the whole world was in France? Even our President is sending commiserating messages to them and he’s not acknowledging all the things happening here in northern Nigeria. Are northerners not part of Nigerians anymore,” she quizzed.
However, the thespian emphasised the need for Nigerians to value themselves, irrespective of what the government feels about its citizens.
“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,” she narrated.
On her success story in the industry, Omotola said, “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; an industry that I helped start with practically nothing, but which has gone on to become the second largest English producing and third largest movie industry in the world.”
Fascinated by her story, the students described Omotola as a living legend and a role model to many of them. They celebrated her as a humble wife and great mother. Omotola, who is also a United Nations Peace Ambassador, is married to Captain Matthew Ekeinde and they have four children.
Representative of the students, Isigwe Chiamaka, in her opening remarks, celebrated the actress’ achievements and thanked her for choosing their school as a flag-off point for her world city tour.
Popular Motivational Speaker, Linus Okorie, who was part of the team, advised the students to own a dream book, which could be used to write their ideas and embark on research.
“Identifying your purpose and locating your talent is what makes you better and greater than your contemporaries. Set goals to be great and focus on your goals,” said Okorie, who has been a Leadership Coach for 20 years.
Omotola grew up with a family of five, her parents and two younger brothers, Tayo and Bolaji Jalade. Her mother, Oluwatoyin Jalade née Amori Oguntade, worked at J.T Chanrai Nig and her father, Oluwashola Jalade, worked with Y.M.C.A and the Lagos Country Club. Her original career ambition was to work in Business Management and while awaiting her results for university admission; she began modeling to earn a living.
Omotola was later introduced to acting by escorting a friend to an audition, earning her first acting role in the 1995 movie, Venom of Justice, directed by Reginald Ebere. She was given the lead role in the movie, which set the stage for a flourishing career in the Nollywood film industry.
However, she got her first big role in the critically acclaim film Mortal Inheritance in 1995. In the movie, she played a sickle-cell patient, who fights for her life despite the odds of survival.
Since her Nollywood film debut in 1995, Omotola has appeared in over 300 films, selling millions of video copies. Beyond her show business accomplishments, she 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.
In 2013, she was honoured in Time Magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world alongside Michelle Obama, Beyonce and Kate Middleton. In early 2013, Omotola made her US television debut in VH1’s scripted series, Hit the Floor. On November 2, 2013, she spoke at the 2013 edition of the WISE Summit, held in Doha, Qatar. In 2014, the Nigerian government honoured her as a Member of the Order of the Federal Republic, MFR for her contributions to Nigerian cinema.