Nollywood A-list Stars to Watch Out For in The Future

If you are curious about the future of Nollywood, just take a look at these talented young actors. We’re highlighting 13 performers who are making a splash and establishing themselves in the industry.

Image of some top upcoming Nollywood actors, including Genoveva Umeh, Mike Afolarin, Olumide Owuru and Raymond Umenze

If you are a Nollywood fan, you must have noticed some new faces on screen. Several new faces are now appearing everywhere on movie sets, making waves on streaming platforms, in movies, and on TV. 

Some, like Mike Afolarin, Olumide Oworu, Raymond Umenze, and Folaremi Agunbiade from Netflix’s popular TV series “Far From Home” and “Introducing the Kujus," have been working hard for over five years, if not more, to get here. Others, like Natse Jemide and Lolade Okunsanya, got their bid break by collaborating with top directors and ended up starring in some of Nollywood’s biggest movies.

These are the new A-list Nollywood stars we believe will shape the entertainment scene in the next five or ten years:

1. Mike Afolarin

In Netflix's 2022 series "Far From Home," Mike Afolarin stole the show as Ishaya, a determined student striving for a brighter future. Since then, he's been making waves in Nollywood with his stellar performances.

This year alone, Mike has appeared in several projects, including "Ajosepo," where he plays Dapo, a soon-to-be-married man, the thriller "Red Circle," and the highly anticipated film "Water and Garri" alongside Tiwa Savage.

His resume also boasts roles in projects like "Soole," a 2021 comedy thriller, the 2019 crime thriller series "Brethren," and the movie "Your Excellency." With each new role, Mike continues to shine brighter. He is definitely one of the faces in Nollywood to watch out for in the near future.

2. Olumide Oworu

From his early days on the popular series "Everyday People," Olumide Oworu has been a familiar face in Nigerian households. Known for his roles in "The Johnsons" and "Far From Home," Olumide is poised for even greater success.

In 2023, Olumide graced the screen in films like "Mistakenly Yours," "On the Edge," and "Saving Onome." His credits also include "A Tribe Called Judah," "The Man of God," "Akudaaya," "Rumour Has It," and many more.

Olumide Oworu isn't just a great actor; he's also into politics. In 2023, he tried to become a member of the House of Assembly for Surulere 1 constituency in Lagos state, running under the Labour Party. 

With such an impressive portfolio, Olumide Oworu is clearly well on his way to becoming an A-list actor in Nollywood.

3. Elma Mbadiwe

In Netflix's 2022 series "Far From Home," Elma Mbadiwe shines as Carmen, proving herself to be a rising star. While she's no stranger to Nollywood, Elma has expanded her reach to a global audience.

With roles in projects like "The Widow of Nkanu," Ndani TV's "Rumour Has It," "RattleSnake: The Ahanna Story," and "Finding Hubby," Elma is on track to become one of Nollywood's top actors in the near future.

4. Raymond Umenze

Raymond Umenze, also known as "Kage the actor," has been in the acting game for a while, but it's his standout performance in Netflix's "Far From Home" that's really put him on the map.

His portrayal of Denrele in the series earned him both sympathy and dread from viewers, showcasing his ability to bring complex characters to life. Beyond acting, Raymond is also a producer, known for the series "Opinions."

He's appeared in other productions like the 2017 thriller drama "Alter Ego," the African Movie Channel's "We Tha Boyz," and the short film "Hell or High Water." With his latest production, "Saving Onome" making waves in cinemas, Raymond Umenze's future in the industry does look bright.

5. Ruby Okezie

Ruby Okezie, like her peers, has been in the acting game for a while. However, she hit the big time as "Nnenna" in the Netflix series "Far From Home." 

Known for her versatility, Ruby has appeared in numerous films, including Uduak Isong's "Beautiful People" and "Waiting For You," as well as Play Network Studio's remake of "Glamour Girls."

This year, Ruby has been busy with roles in projects like the epic love story "Chetam" and "Agu" on Showmax, as well as "A Green Fever" and the Africa Magic series "Dust." With her charm and talent, she's sure to land many more great roles in her promising career.

6. Moshood Fattah

Moshood Fattah is making a name for himself in the Nigerian movie industry, thanks to standout performances in Netflix's "Far From Home" and Funke Akindele's "Battle on Buka Street." He's not limited to the screen, though, as Moshood also shines on stage.

He's appeared in stage plays like "Waterside," "Menace," and Bolanle Austen Peters' "Death and the King’s Horseman" and "AWO: The Musical." With such a diverse skill set, there's no doubt Moshood is destined for A-list status.

7. Lolade Okusanya

Lolade Okusanya hit the big time with her role in Toyin Abraham’s movie "Ijakumo," where she portrayed the characters Sharon and Mary. Since then, she's been making waves in the industry with roles in films like "Iyayin," "Arun," and "Angel Eyes." We believe she's just getting started and will soon be among the top Nollywood actors.

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8. Genoveva Umeh

Genoveva Umeh has been a familiar face in the industry, but it was her roles in Netflix series like "Blood Sisters" and "Far From Home" that really got her noticed. Her performances as Zina in "Far From Home" and as Timeyin in "Blood Sisters" resonated with audiences. She continued to impress in the Prime Video movie "Breath of Life" in 2023.

In addition to these, Genoveva has appeared in projects like "A Tribe called Judah," where she played Olumide Oworu’s love interest, as well as "A Tune Away," MTV Shuga season 5, and Showmax’s "Crime and Justice Lagos." Her infectious personality has won her many fans, and we expect big things from her in the years to come.

9. Tomi Ojo

Playing the younger sister to lead character “Mike Afolarin” on Netflix’s hit young adult series “Far From Home” for Tomi Ojo was natural. Since her limelight in the film industry, Tomi Ojo has gone on to star in numerous productions like “Adire”, “Leaked”, “Ada Omo Daddy”, “Mojisola”, season 2 of Red TV’s “When are We Getting Married?” and lots more.

Capturing viewers with her innocence, Tomi Ojo is definitely an actress that will be in on time, well established as well as be ranked up there among her peers. We really can’t wait to see what she does next.

10. Emeka Nwagbaraocha

You might recognize Emeka Nwagbaraocha's face from several films, as his acting career didn't start with the Netflix series "Far From Home," although it certainly boosted his visibility in the industry.

Emeka Nwagaraocha has starred in countless productions. From Prophetess to Passport to Orah and even Rattlesnake: The Ahanna Story, Emeka has in fact proven himself time and time again through these roles. That is to say that he is on track to become an A-list actor in the coming years. 

Whatever Emeka's next endeavour may be, the 24-year-old is sure to shine brightly.

11. Folaremi Agunbiade

Folaremi Agunbiade's journey in Nollywood started with roles in TV shows like “MTV Shuga Naija”, “Tinsel”, and “The Undertaking”. He then moved on to feature in movies like the 2017 action thriller “Slow Country” and the comedy drama “Introducing the Kujus” parts 1 and 2, establishing himself as a rising star with a promising future.

But Folaremi didn't stop there. His portrayal of “Diekola” in the Africa Magic series “Itura” has earned him praise from viewers for his exceptional talent. 

You can also catch him in projects like the Africa Magic series “Unscripted”, “Checkout”, and the movie “Your Excellency,” directed by Funke Akindele.

12. Taye Arimoro

Lately, Taye Arimoro has been in our faces, making waves with recent film roles in “Casa De Novie” and “Criminal”. Fans have loved him since his appearances in the Ndani TV web series “Game On” and “A Romantic Comedy Featuring Lara and Tobi (2022)”. 

His performance in the dark tale “Egun” has solidified his status as one to watch in the industry. With his talent, it's easy to see him rising to A-list actor status in the near future. We definitely can picture great things that will come from Taye Arimoro.

13. Gbugbemi Ejeye

It's clear that Gbugbemi Ejeye had been working in the industry for a while before hitting it big as "Aduke'' in the Netflix series "Far From Home." She had roles in several projects, including Kunle Afolayan’s “Citation,” “The House of Secrets,” and “Quam’s Money.” But "Far From Home '' really propelled her career to new heights, solidifying her position in Nollywood.

This year alone, Gbugbemi has already appeared in multiple productions like “Criminal,” season 2 of the web series “Game On,” and the upcoming movie “Farmer’s Bride.” She's definitely leaving her mark, and we're eager to see where her career takes her next.

Wrap up

These days, it’s refreshing to see fresh faces grace our screens. Hopefully, they will subsequently become household names in time. The aforementioned are all the 13 performers we believe will be the next generation of Nollywood A-list actors. The future of Nollywood film has never looked brighter!