8 Nigerian Actresses At The Top Of Their Game

October 9, 2015

What makes an actress the best is her ability to adapt, her versatility, and her talent for making characters believable and relatable. Nollywood is filled with hundreds of actresses, but only a few of them can be considered to be at the top of their game.

In no particular order, here are 8 of our favorite actresses currently working today:

1. Mercy Johnson

I think Mercy Johnson is the best Nigerian actress working today, and no one can talk me out of it. Everything she does, I find really impressive. Throughout her career, she’s played a little bit of everything, and she always manages to shine bright (even when the script doesn’t). It’s her ability to display a stunning range of emotions with shocking ease that makes her truly the best.

Best Performance: Dumebi the Dirty Girl

2. Nse Ikpe-Etim

Afro (1) - Nse Ikpe-Etim

Nse Ikpe-Etim is absolute perfection in every role. Even when the material she is given is lackluster, she still impresses and it’s all due to pure undiluted acting talent. She has nuanced mannerisms that are worth noting, especially since most Nigerian actresses depend on loud gestures to convey emotion. She is capable of playing numerous varying roles, and doing them all excellently.

Best Performance: Mr & Mrs

3. Rita Dominic

I have to say that I was shocked by Rita Dominic’s talent, because until properly watching her performances, I thought it was all hype. She has the enviable ability of being able to flesh out her characters and give them dimension, which most of today’s actresses couldn’t do if their lives depended on it. There is a sincere quality in the roles she plays and you believe them, as she easily blends into the character. She is always a pleasure to watch.

Best Performance: The Meeting

4. Funke Akindele

There is an unmatched charisma that Funke Akindele brings to all her roles, usually making her the best thing about every single movie she is in. She can do comedy flawlessly, like her award-winning turn in Jenifa showed, but she can also knock dramatic roles out of the park. She is easily one of the best actresses working today.

Best Performance: Jenifa

5. Patience Ozokwor

Although she has been typecast as the ‘evil woman’ in most of her movies she hasn’t gotten lazy with her portrayals, bringing layers and depth to every character she tackles. Every time I see her name, I already know that I have to watch that movie, because even if the movie turns out to be bad, she never ever does.

Best Performance: After The Proposal

6. Joke Silva

Joke Silva clearly understands her craft, and it shows. She is a masterclass in lead roles like ‘Widow’s Cot’ and is memorable even in smaller roles, such as ‘Phone Swap’. She is very easy to watch and performs exceptionally well no matter the role. She deserves all the respect (and awards) she gets.

Best Performance: Widow’s Cot

7. Kate Henshaw

Kate Henshaw  is my definition of a “classy actress”. There is always something graceful about her performances, even in not-so-great films. She has proven time and time again that she can carry her own weight and not get lost, acting alongside Nollywood’s biggest names. Henshaw always manages to stand out.

Best Performance: Stronger Than Pain

8. Funlola Aofiyebi

Being the best actor in an ensemble as great as Tinsel’s is truly impressive, and Funlola has been impressing us as Brenda since we got hooked to the addictive Drama. She has a commanding presence and an eloquence that makes it impossible to take your eyes off her when she is onscreen, and makes you want more when she is off it.

Best Performance: Tinsel

We love them all, and hope to see them do even greater things. So, do you agree with the list?


Find Zikoko
wherever you are

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.