There is no doubt that star actress, Funke Akindele Oloyede has come a long way since she started acting professionally in 1987. In recent times, she has racked up an impressive list of achievements, which has seen her profile rise meteorically. Today, her appeal goes well beyond the film industry, to wider society. Indeed she has become a veritable brand.
In September 2011, her eagerly anticipated movie, The Return of Jenifa, was released. The movie saw her reprising her role as the bumbling, irrepressible wannabe, Jenifa. The movie featured actors such as Ireti Osayemi Bakare, Eniola Badmus, Rukky Sanda, Mercy Aigbe, and Yinka Quadri. The movie also had star turns by celebrities such as Banky W, Wizkid, Naeto C, and Sasha.
Expectations were high as The Return of Jenifa was released at cinemas in Nigeria. If Funke Akindele Oloyede had been worried about the performance of the movie at the box office, she need not have been. The movie played to packed cinema halls, and went on to become the highest grossing Nigerian movie to date. Indeed the movie received the Highest Box Office award at the Zuma Film Festival, which was held in May.
The remarkable success of The Return of Jenifa, further solidified the status of Funke Akindele Oloyede as a veritable star. Without a doubt, she had become a star that no one could ignore. Following the success of The Return of Jenifa, awards and requests for public appearances began pouring in for the actress.
In May 2012, she won the Best Actress award at the Zuma Film Festival for her role in the Tunde Kelani film, MAAMi. In June 2012, she won the Best Actress in an Indigenous Movie award at the Nollywood Movies Awards. Also in June 2012, she won the Best Actress in a Leading Role award at the Yoruba Movie Academy Awards. In July 2012, she won the Best Crossover Actress award at the Global Leadership Award for Excellence.
On the personal front, she got married to her heartthrob, Kehinde Almaroof Oloyede on May 26, at an elaborate ceremony which was graced by top Nollywood stars such as Desmond Elliot, Genevieve Nnaji, Ini Edo, and Chioma Akpotha.
There were fears in some quarters that she would not be able to handle the pressure that would come with her increased public profile. However, she has risen to the challenge, handling her public appearances with increasing grace and commendable style. She was one of the Olympic torchbearers at the Olympic Torch Relay, which took place in Coventry on July 1, and she will be co-hosting the Nigeria Entertainment Awards in New York, on September 2.
Just like her character, Jenifa, Funke Akindele Oloyede is flying on the fast track.