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Nollywood’s Rising Screen Divas



Nigeria’s movie industry popularly known as Nollywood has seen its fair share of screen divas. Who can forget when Regina Askia, Liz Benson, Eucharia Anunobi and others ruled the screen. Then came Omotola and Genevieve then more recently, Ini Edo, Uche Jombo, Chioma Chukwuka, Oge Okoye, Monalisa Chinda have been shining in the spotlight.  See previous post HERE
Well, a new crop of screen divas are emerging and they are taking no prisoners. These are no overnight successes, most of them have been acting for a couple of years but are now eching towards stardom.
Sassy and confident, these ladies are heading for the top.

Rukky Sanda

Ever since Rukayat Akinsanya aka Rukky Sanda entered the Nigerian movie industry in 2004, there has been lots of buzz surrounding her. Rukky has a lot going for her – acting talent, a bold dress sense and tons of confidence. This graduate of Banking & Finance from the Lagos State University allegedly dated the Koko Master, D’Banj but she’s moved on and doing great! She is very social and well loved by Nollywood colleagues and can at events with close friends, actresses, Uche Jombo and Susan Peters. She is also multi-talented and has produced and co-written several new movies.

Tonto Dike

Tonto Dikeh

At only 24, actress, Tonto Dikeh has achieved a lot. She is an undergraduate of Petrochemical Engineering at the University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt, Rivers State and is pursuing her movie career. She entered the movie industry after she finished as 1st runner-up on the ‘Next Top Movie Star’ reality TV show, since then her career has been progressing from strength to strength. Tonto dated producer Don Jazzy but that hasnt distracted her from her career. With roles in movies like Rush Hour, Final Hour, Fatal Mistake, Family Disgrace, Plain Truth, Miss Maradonna, Divine Grace and Tea or Coffee, she is proving herself as a capable actress.

Ebube Nwagbo

Ebube Nwagbo

Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Mass Communications graduate Ebube Nwagbo started her acting career in 2003. Her big break came when she acted alongside Jim Iyke and Pete Edochie in the blockbuster, Arrested By Love. Since then she has been featured in over 50 movies and has enjoyed consistent press coverage on her movie career, dress sense and personal life including her past & current relationships with Ogbonna Kanu (Brother of Kanu Nwankwo) and Kingsley Okonkwo aka KC of the musical duo KC Presh.

Mercy Johnson

Mercy Johnson

Mercy Johnson is often described as a ‘controversial’ actress because of continuous speculation on her personal life. This press-shy indigene of Kogi State burst into the scene a few years ago and has achieved high levels of success. With lead roles in several top-selling movies, Mercy has done well for herself.

Uche Elendu

Uche Elendu

Newlywed Uche Elendu Igweanyiba is one of the most popular rising actresses especially in Eastern Nigeria where she is based. Uche is a graduate of International Relations from the Imo State University, she is also a musician with 3 commerically released albums. Her career initially kicked off in 2001 but she took a hiatus and came back in 2004. Since then she has been featured in prominent roles in over 20 movies. In February this year, she got married to one of her fans and been relishing her new role as a wife as well as working on various movie sets.


What do you think of the present state of Nollywood and how do these rising stars size up with the already established superstars?


  1. Temi

    October 29, 2008 at 2:13 am

    Tonto dated producer Don Jazzy… hmmm

    • jessica

      March 20, 2011 at 6:40 pm

      wow never hear of dat

  2. notjustok

    October 29, 2008 at 2:43 am

    Nollywood needs to focus on quantity now. They have been mass producing movies for years and they have grown and finally reached a point where it’s time to focus on quality. However, the current business model may not allow it… I wish these females good luck!

    9ice blog o I mean Site Bella!!!

  3. giniye

    October 29, 2008 at 4:04 am

    was it necessary for author of this post to say she dated don jazzy and it didnt distract her!!what does that mean sef

  4. Nkechi

    October 29, 2008 at 6:06 am

    it means ‘it did not distract her from her career’… looked like simple English to me…

  5. Tell-It-Like-It-Is

    October 29, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    Jesos christ i cant believe you included Rukky or whatever the hell her name is. SHE IS THE WORST RISING STAR. Cant act to save her life. Out of list above – the only promising and next best thing is
    1) Mercy Johnson
    2) Tontoh Dikeh
    3) Ufeoma Ejornorbor (i am shocked she is not on here -watch SavingSarah)
    4) Uche Elendu (if she stops dressing up and puting make up like a clown with her friend ini edo)

    All the other ones listed may be pretty (somewhat), but their acting makes you wannna pull ya hair out for real. Utterly Gutterly Rubbish. I dont know peoples definition of “Talent” or Rising Star”. And whilst we are at it – could someone advise that rukky of a girl to stop granting interviews – the audacity to even put her as the first photo, we dont know her and we dont want to know, watching at least 2 movies of her summed her up real well. She needs to quit acting – I will PAY her to stop acting. Maybe she should do modelling or something, she is a pretty girl she might girl lucky. But as for acting – abeg make you telll her say she for stay away from any movie location – Please!!!!!!!! – I dont watch movie for beauty contest i watch movie for talent and for something who can make me really believe the character they are playing.

  6. bella

    October 29, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    tell-it-like-it-is…I’m feeling your comment! I actually completely agree!
    As per Rukky, her profile is rising even if her acting isnt fantastic. Lets consider someone like Jessica Alba, looks great but acting is blah but guess what she’s a star. Will check out Ufeoma Ejornorbor, maybe I can do something on her in the future

  7. Tell-It-Like-It-Is

    October 29, 2008 at 7:25 pm

    Even Uru Eke (the new comer) who starred in “Widows of Men” opposite Jim Iyke is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay better than that Rukky of a girl. You need to put Uru on the list, check her out here

  8. tatafo!

    October 29, 2008 at 7:30 pm

    tell it like it is, you should contribute to BN seeing that you’re so knowledgeable on nollywood.

  9. Tell-It-Like-It-Is

    October 29, 2008 at 8:00 pm

    When it comes to movies – i could contribute, i know it inside out, and have a great eye for talent. REAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL talent, no one can fool me with their beauty, like Van vicker is trying to – he cant act!, GBAM i said it – there!!! Nollywood needs REAL ACTORS, maybe i should become a Casting Director back home. Casting is extremely importantly. Great talented cast = Great movie.

  10. bella

    October 29, 2008 at 9:04 pm

    Please email me [email protected] – will love you to contribute for real. Thanks!

  11. Ms. Independent

    October 29, 2008 at 10:55 pm

    I’m sorry, but apart from the pretty face, I don’t think Tonto Dike can act either. Did any of you see her in Rush Hour? She was horrible…she OVERacts….kind of like Mercy Johnson does.

  12. iyaeto

    October 30, 2008 at 1:41 am

    Who is Rukky Sanda?If she’s good how come I haven’t noticed her skills/talent in any movie? At least I’ve seen the others before.

  13. Shutup

    October 30, 2008 at 6:07 am

    Tell it like it is needs to shut that her big fat naijarules mouth up. You don’t know jack when it comes to movies. Everything you recommend, nobobody wants. Casting agent indeed, you can’t even pay your way back to Ghana so leave Van Vicker alone and stop the nonsense

    • Allegra

      March 24, 2011 at 11:41 am

      There is no need for name calling, she merely stated an opinion and if u do not like it then scroll along. I agree in part that a number of the new actors(women included) cannot act to save their lives. Van Vicker is lets face it, terrible!! However, I guess that is what people want as if u continue to buy these half – films then the producers are not obligated to do better.

  14. Jane

    October 30, 2008 at 6:37 pm

    I do not many of them except mercy Johnson. I don’t like the way many of our actresses look. They do not have to be skinny but they have to start going to the gym. Some of them are pretty but I hate when they try to squeeze into smaller clothes. I really think directors have got to stop focusing on their usual definition of “sexy body” and hire talented actress.
    Anyway, stylists MUST be hired in Nigerian movies because I am tired of seeing these actresses wear their clothes in movies. I cannot even name a single actress or actor that is stylish.
    I cannot even hate, our movie industry has blossomed but I just want our movie industry to get a lot better.e.g not rushing to release movies every week, hiring good stylists, bringing new talents, making the actors and actresses care for their looks, make sure errors are corrected, being creative, NOLLYWOOD DOES NOT HAVE TO BE HOLLYWOOD but it can learn from them. etc.

    • Allegra

      March 24, 2011 at 11:43 am

      Well said, Jane.

  15. take it or leave it!

    October 30, 2008 at 11:15 pm

    no offence…… these girls cant act and we all knw it. i feel they’r on this list only cos they’r stars …it doesnt necessarily mean they are good. most of them do their roles no justice …… no professionalism ….. honestly, the blame mostly goes to those in charge of auditions (if there’s ever any)… i jst had 2 say it as it is x

  16. Steven Spielberg

    October 31, 2008 at 5:02 am

    Tell Rukky I have a part for her. The auditions will be in my bedroom and might take all night. Tonto too.

  17. Dontoh

    October 31, 2008 at 6:58 am

    Excellent – you and “tell it like it is” couldnt have said it better – right on point. I dont understand why, some audience just dont see it when someone doesnt know how to act, like someone mentioned earlier they are always over shadowed and blinded by the beauty of the person. Mercy is good, the rest am not sure about. I definately dont know the first one – whatever her name is.

    Whilst we talking bout these ladies, can someone tell why i havent seen Rita Dominic in a movie in so long. I miss her, what is she up to lately

  18. chichi

    October 31, 2008 at 7:03 am

    Mr Spielberg – maybe you might get lucky getting them – i’m sure it wouldnt be that hard to get them to your bedroom. They look “easy”.

    You are so funny. Why do you have the username Spielberg, are you an aspiring producer or director?

  19. Steven Spielberg

    October 31, 2008 at 8:02 am

    I’m working on Jurassic Park IV (indoor edition), and I think Rukky & Tonto will be perfect for the movie.

  20. nollywood

    October 31, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    i haven’t watched any of rukky sanda’s movies yet and i think she is beautiful and then i think it’s wise if she stops granting so many interviews. You know, limit the amount of interviews she gives in a year since she is not established yet as an actress, judging by most viewers opinion about her. her fashion sense is good and i think it needs more work like accentuating her positive assests and minimising the negatives. for example, wear more of long sleeves to functions or off the shoulders and not strappies like spaghetti tops, these are just examples. am sure if she has a good stylist that has her best interests at heart, they will definitley let her know as she is a tall lady and that is an asset and then again she should dress to suit her frame. for her red carpet or green carpet treatment she could smile more, have that confidence and not look as if everything is a fight. she is a beautifu gal and she has no worries at all. she will do well, immaterial of scandals or no scandals. Infact, scandals even helps sometimes…lol..*wink*

  21. Tunde Eboh

    October 31, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    Tontoh looks so much like Oge Okoye, she is one sexy chick though, and very beautiful skin, she must drink a lot of water or something. Lets just say i admire Mercy Johnson a lot, i love her to bits, she is not overly pretty, but she is so damn sexy, Corporate Maid did it for me.

    As for the rakia or rukky girl – like every body else – i dont know who she is, and honestly i dont care. Either you got it or you dont and clearly she doesnt. Cant pin point it, but am sorry She just doesnt do it for me.

    Hey Bella try and do a one on one interview with mercy or tontoh – i’d really appreciate it. I love them two – Thanks

    ps: and to the one who said Van Vicker can not act – abeg say it again, my sister is always going on about him, but to me – he is not a “great” actor, as much as Jim Iyke my favourite. to each his own abi??

    Bella congratulations on your new website, i hadnt been on the blog for quite a while and i went there and got directed here. You still the best and we love you, keep up the good work.

  22. Xan

    November 1, 2008 at 10:42 pm

    Casting directors and a proper wardrobe department.

    Nigeria and Lagos in particular are awash with designers…..someone should jump on the wardrobe thing….loll…

  23. whatever

    November 2, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    Ummm who.s d 1st lady?

  24. Segun Jnr

    November 10, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    I have two words: Lose Weight!

  25. iphil252

    November 15, 2008 at 5:55 am

    Mercy Johnson, great actress… Very articulate and clear in most movies. One of Nigeria’s best actress and very sexy too…lol

    Rukky sanda, very beautiful, but I have never seen any movie of her. Does she speak well and act good in her, for sure, few movies thus far? I don’t know. Please, name some of her movies.

    Ebube Nwagbo, chubby and pretty kind (lol), many guys love chubby women, lol, but her english isn’t good enough for me to understand her fully. She has to work on her acting skills quite a bit. Not enough gestures, not enough emotions from her part. She has to learn to propel the vibe, as Genevieve or Omotola or Ini Edo would. (Those are great actresses, I just mentioned there).

    Uche Elendu, very good in her roles, a lot of movement and emotions. She was fantastic in “,Too late to cry”, yes, fabulous.

    Tonto Dikeh, very good actress and sexy. She is good in most movies of her I’ve watched. However, I haven’t found one where she stands out yet.

  26. Vera Ezimora

    November 21, 2008 at 8:19 am

    I love Mercy Johnson. I’d watch almost anything with her in it. Did you see ‘Act of Faith?’ She was a Pastor there, married 2 Mike Ezuruonye. Loved it! She’s very talented.

    Tonto isn’t bad either. Ebube is good. Uche Elendu can be good sometimes. I just wish she’d scream less. Sometimes, the scene doesn’t call 4 all the screaming & drama.

    And who is Rukky?????????

  27. silver

    November 29, 2008 at 1:30 am

    @ miss independent…ur so right, tonto was really horrible in rush hour and she began to shout unnecessarily…she’s a fine girl sha…

  28. yemi

    December 5, 2008 at 5:38 pm

    oh please, who d hell is rukky?she sure does look good but is it hard 4 people to figure out that she looks so fake, untamed and she definately has skin colour problem,dat alone is lack of identity.she wears alot of wat yoruba people call PANTI.oh please galfriend go and get a life.u cant act jack.the beautiful thing about our actresses is thier personality, rukayatu akinsanya who changed her name to rukky sandal has no personality, no life, she has lost her sense of belonging, she is way too rude, she seems to ve 4gotten whr she started from, masha gal who wants to big by force, now she hangs out with all the top stars,.even at dat u are still a nobody.go look for wat suits for acting one simple advice LET GO. ITS NOT UR CALLING AND WE REALLY DONT WANT TO SEE UR FACE ON OUR SCREEN ANYMORE.ENOUGH IS ENOUGH,FACE OFF

  29. Nneka

    December 6, 2008 at 3:43 am

    My fav is that Mercy lady. She rocks and acts very very well. I’ve watched some good movies with Tonto (she’s pretty too), but I honestly do not know the rest. I’m sure somehow they all deserve to be on the list. Opinions are allowed to differ

    btw…[email protected] dear, *Sniff, Sniff* I smell some very personal beef for Rukky…

  30. Zayyed

    December 25, 2008 at 10:59 am

    1st and foremost i love Tonto,Rukky, Uche plus all these ladies are great actresses that will go very far in the movie industry and beyond. I’m really surprised most people have not seen Sanda’s films, i’ve seen about 8 or more n i love them all. 4rm Tommorro must Wait, Everlasting Love, Campus Love, Weeping Tiger, Lethal Woman amd others i cnt remember tho’…. Madam Yemi for you to go through d stress to Goggle out Rukky Sanda n Lash ur dumb shitty crap all up n thru here spells Pure Beef. Obviously u see here around 4rm ur Post n Obviously She has no idea of ur pathetic existence…. Wat a pity*** I can only imagine hw shallow ur biased mind is…. Keep hating ur life will only keep drowning in ur misery which u will never come out of. [email protected]!!!!!!!!!! HaHaHa. N 4 d records Sanda is on of d best dressed pple in Nolly 2. It’s a stage name as Dominic 4 Rita is as well as Jim Iyke dummy, don’t hate the Player, Hate d GAME cs u ain’t ever gon gets none. Peace!

  31. Chika Moses

    January 21, 2009 at 5:26 am

    Oooh! Some pretty newbies! Question is, do they have talent? Haven’t seen them in any movies yet…

  32. shelly

    February 11, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    Mercy Johnson – one of my favorite actresses. I think Mercy is the queen of actresses in Nollywood or nigeria. We want Mercy to know we love her very much in Guyana. I have other favorites too, but Mercy makes me laugh so much.

  33. nony

    February 12, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    d best outta d bunch 4 me r mercy johnson n tonto dikeh….both galz can act really well n mehn mercy has got d best shape evaaaa…really sexxxy body…tonto has a nice skin….d only area i dnt like in both gals is they seem to have this overbearing facial expression when they act that is soo totally not necessary…also tonto needs to realise that she should keep that ‘accent’ out of filming when acting village plot films…hope they really soar high….

  34. Lipstick1

    February 19, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    Mercy will someday become our next naija sweetheart.I love Uche very well,she is fine and reminds me of my cousin who shares same nameeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

  35. amy

    February 20, 2009 at 6:03 am

    love tonto,mercy they were both very good at “dream maker”

  36. amy

    February 20, 2009 at 6:06 am

    lov lov lov

  37. Arabella

    May 1, 2009 at 11:01 am

    Tonto babe you are great! I love your acting so much cuz you fit anywhere. You are so talented girlfriend. Ebube, Uche, and mercy are all great and deserving actressess. And, Rukky, maybe some folks haven’t seen this diva in so movies but she is great, talented, she has so much confidence and deserve to be hail as one of nollywood best actress

  38. Monica

    May 20, 2009 at 2:01 pm


  39. claudia

    September 24, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    what do you know about RUKKY SANDA,actually you know nothing abt her from what i can see i will let you know all abt her,she’s the queen of beauty.she acts real good too,so if she sits in dats with big stars she DESERVES IT.RUKKY SANDA YOU ROCK GIRL.

  40. nikky

    October 12, 2009 at 10:36 pm

    they are all great actresses,but i must correct one thing….Ebube never went to Nnamdi Azikiwe University.She finished Oko Polytechnic.

  41. nikky

    October 12, 2009 at 10:39 pm

    i mean,she (Ebube) finished from Oko Polytechnic,Anambra.

  42. rosy

    January 7, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    tonto is sweet but i must confess i dont so mush cherish mersy jonson bcos of her displayins

  43. Obiajunwa justus

    January 29, 2010 at 7:15 am

    I cherish and love to see mercy on tv acting morethan tonto becos of her mood ,her dressingand way she speak really bounfys my imagination.infact to express my feelings mercy i luv yo u and do you.

  44. hannatu

    June 1, 2010 at 8:35 am

    casting is sooooo important and nollywood lacks that alot of times.
    I feel tonto dike should be casted more in films with village settings,she peforms better and atleast her fake acsent is not needed.thats the same way I feel about Ini Edo for instance.american wanna be roles are just not for her,but when its a village or downto earth role,shes so real and at her best. mercy johnson is truely a rising star,she really can act,and can fit into any role,writers and producers should diversify her lines in films so we watchers dont feel like shes always saying ‘my lurv’ in every romantic movie,plus her wardropes and makeup in most movies are horrible. Nollywood has alot of issues to deal with,I blame the inability of may of these actors to perform on them(producers,writers,marketers etc) they are only thinking of money and not quality so most roles are not awarded o merit.hmmm which way nollywood?

  45. Immaculette

    July 30, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    Mercy is indeed a rising star if not risen. i do watch her movies any time.she’s good with her scripts. Tonto is good too bt her many out-of-way clothings is jst not it. Rukky who is She, shd never have bn included in this list,she’s still practising.mostly i blame those who cast for movies, mayb they are blind in putting who they want after a well paid dinner in their bedroom.Ufuoma shd be among these ones, she is good too. Uche is as good as Ebube,average.i say give it Mercy and Tonto. they are doing their homework well.Checkout Tonto alongside Van, i think they could have fit in in life.

  46. anidiva

    August 9, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    ..i totalli agree with““..i have watched mercy from her early days in d industry and i can say that she is realli a talented actress..rukky…hell no…no actn skills watever…tonto…somtimes she tends to overact her roles but she can get better…ebube..not watched som of movies but with d little dat i did watch..she is alrit but not quite der….so i agree with TELL IT AS IT IS…RUKKY SHLDNT EVEN BE ON THIS LIST!!!

  47. ama

    March 18, 2011 at 10:34 pm

    tonto dike is hot no doubt but she got too much attitude. I noticed that when she she came to cameroon to act an unpopular movie she toke pride in smoking in public. blowing cigerates into peoples faces. i dont know if that by ur standards makes u hot or popular or wanted. to me it seems u were sufferring form an inferiority complex and had to boost ur image wit a bad girl act. i smoke too but i dont do it stupidly. so clean up ur act. and take it easy on the cream. u r looking old and whithered. ask some tips from ma girl rita dominic on what to use on ur body girl. Where do u go?

  48. Danie.

    August 24, 2011 at 9:42 am

    Y is Rukky Sands on the list. Rukky duznt act she’s like Susan Peters who keeps calling herself a nollywood actress because she features in small roles. Tonto is too agressive when acting.
    And her sex roles r too much. Mercy is gud as an actress. The rest r crappy.

  49. God's love

    November 22, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    tink i like ebube,she is gud and talking about upcomers av seen many promisin ones lik dat uro,ebere,yvonne and annabel zwindila a vry 1daful actres 4rm ambo,and movies like beauty and other wil blow ur mind ther is a recent bluk buster on face book search 4 samantha and u wil atest 2 dat …al dis gals v a future

  50. goodluck

    November 27, 2011 at 11:52 am

    please do a an interview wt genevieve and annbelle zwindil of samantha,avent watchd d film yet bt av seen d promo on facebook after readin Gods love coments and i tink i agree wt him its high tim we got new faces in nollywood omo men dat chik is promisin and if gven d chance she wil do beta dan geneviev,av seen her in couple of movies even in ambo3 bella i realy love 2 meet dis grl,shes got quantity and very articulate check out samantha on facebook,bella dear doz are d kind of people u rhould hnteruiew humble pip intel4en creative and dciplin jst lik chioma,ebube,ngozi ezeonu and host of odas

  51. tracy

    June 25, 2012 at 11:08 am

    i love nigeria as a good love pop ok

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