What Funke Akindele, Mercy Aigbe, Toyin Aimakhu have in common

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In the different genres of the Nigerian movie industry, it is often difficult to escape the language barrier.

Many actors spend their entire careers only known in ‘Idumota’ and ‘Iweka Road’, and are seen only through the spectrum of the sub-genre they play in.
Funke Akindele may have had her start in an English language teen series but, like Mercy Aigbe and Toyin Aimakhu, the Yoruba home video scene is what got her recognition, as well as success.
These three ladies, in spite of their chosen route to movie making which has seen them appear in hundreds of Yoruba films cumulatively, have broken out of that mould.
While Funke Akindele’s Jenifa’s Diary television series is popular among various audiences, all of them still practice their craft mainly in the Yoruba language genre. How come they are known beyond that circle?
It could be a certain je ne sais quoi that gives them a star quality that is unaffected by the language they speak. Away from their profession, all three of them are in the news for things that Hollywood starlets are known for – their fashion sense, their love life and suchlike.
In 2016, they were the actresses that were searched for the most on our website – a combined 75,000 times. None of them had more than a couple of movies during the year, but their life away from the klieg lights presented a full spectrum of their individual star quality.
This should be the dream of all actors – the ability to be able reach across different audiences, either by the work they do or more importantly by having qualities that endear them to people who would not necessarily watch their movies.
For any actor, that is the holy grail.

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