Funke Akindele Bello is arguably the biggest Nollywood actor. She has everything an actress desires - a successful franchise, a hit TV series, A-list status and a high fee.
The actress' dominance of television is no small achievement considering how hard it is these days to recapture the lost Nigerian TV series audience from the glory era of the 80s and 90s.
Akindele is currently overseeing two shows - she is the producer and star of "Jenifa's Diary" and the recently released music-oriented series, "Industreet" directed by her new husband Abdul Rasheed Bello.
Akindele, who made her acting debut as far back as the 90s in the educational TV series 'I Need To Know' has enjoyed a steady progression and has grown to become one of Nollywood's most popular actors.
When most fans think of the actress' rise to stardom, her role as Bisi, a curious secondary school student in the 1998 United Nations sponsored sitcom "I Need to Know," immediately comes to mind.
In 2000, the actress played a minor role as Angela in the classic Nollywood movie, "Final Whistle." She also starred alongside top Nigerian actress Genevieve Nnaji in the 2003 movie, "Sharon Stone."
While Funke Akindele flirted with English Nollywood movies, her career was established in the Yoruba Nollywood industry. Akindele featured in a string of impressive Yoruba movies making her one of the new and bankable faces in the industry.
It was therefore not a surprise that Funke Akindele broke into the top tier of Nollywood stardom when she released her commercially successful comedy "Jenifa" in 2008.
She acted the role of Suliat a.k.a Jenifa, a secondary school dropout who lives in a backwater town called Aiyetoro. Her smattering English and outlandish behaviour endeared her to a new set of fans including the non-Yoruba demographic.
"Jenifa" received four nominations at the 2008 Africa Movie Academy Awards, with Akindele winning the Best Actress in a Leading role. The movie was a success and the first instalment created what has become the most successful franchise in the Nigerian movie industry.
In 2011, she took her first step into the cinematic world with "The Return of Jenifa," a sequel to the 2008 comedy movie, reprising her role as the uneducated Jenifa, and nailing the role with apparent ease and perfection that further garnered attention. The movie which opened on Friday, August 26, 2011, had a successful box office outing, grossing 35 Million Naira.
After conquering the home video and cinema industry, Funke Akindele went back to the TV industry. In 2015, the actress premiered a spin-off television series titled "Jenifa's Diary," under her production company SceneOne Productions.
Currently in its 9th season, the TV series airs on several channels including YouTube, AIT, NTA, ROK TV, Iroko TV and her online streaming platform Sceneone TV.
It’s probably the way Funke Akindele spits her toxic grammar, her hideous sense of fashion or the subtle lessons, but the character Jenifa grew to become influential, prompting discussions on the influence of a Nigerian TV character on its audience.
To top it off, the character has won Akindele two Africa Magic Viewers Choice Award in the 'Best Actress in a Comedy' category.
With the same force that she brings to multifaceted roles as an actress, Akindele also brings as a producer. She recently premiered her new series, "Industreet," and there are two interesting and bold facts about it.
"Industreet" features new actors who are being given the opportunity to showcase their talent for the first time, and the series is only available on Akindele's online platform, Sceneone TV.
These could be considered factors that could hinder the success of "Industreet," but, it would be interesting to watch Akindele turn "Industreet" into a phenomenon the same way she did "Jenifa's Diary," or not. Funke Akindele has had a winning streak that dates back to 2008. 9 years after, she has what it takes to make a new TV series with new faces a hit.
She hasn't neglected the movie side despite her wins on TV. Her bankable name and high profile has made her in high demand.
In 2013, the actress who has featured in indigenous movies like "Oba Irawo," "Bayo Se Nlo," "Kosefowora," "Farayola" and "Ija Ola," was reported to be the highest paid Yoruba actor alongside Odunlade Adekola.
Funke Akindele has also featured in award-winning movies like "Maami," "A Trip to Jamaica," Married But Living Single" and "The Return of Sheri Koko."
In January 2017, Funke Akindele and her husband JJC Skillz partnered to create new record label named Scene One Records, housed under Sceneone Productions.
When it comes to off screen, Akindele has effortlessly done what few actors have been able to do; juggle A-List status and obvious accessibility with ease.
With the right team including JJC, talent and hard work, Akindele doesn't seem to be taking a break from being an unrivaled star.
She has everything an actress desires - a successful franchise, a hit TV series, A-list status and a high fee. Today, some will say she is the most successful Nollywood actress of our time. Looking at her empire it might be hard to dispute this.
Akindele will be seen next in the 2017 romantic drama, "Isoken" and if anything is to go by it will be another smash hit for the superstar actress.