Celebrity Entertainment

Spotlight on Funke Akindele: A Nollywood Amazon & Achiever

Written by Omolola Akinyemi

Nollywood actress, producer, director and scriptwriter, Funkẹ Akindele no longer needs introduction. Unless you are not following Nigeria’s movie industry. She is one of the amazons of Nollywood who have worked and fought their way to the very topmost place amongst record breakers. Funkẹ Akindele is a witty, intelligent, and courageous worker, with a comedy edge infused into her works.


The ace producer has gone beyond the shores of Nigeria to cement Nollywood craftsmanship into the hearts of viewers in the diaspora. Her iconic character name of ‘Jenifa’ and the associated stage roles have skyrocketed her fame beyond the ordinary.

Funkẹ Akindele: Her Origins

Funkẹ Akindele was born on August 1977 in Ikorodu, Lagos State; the second of four siblings. Her father is a retired secondary school principal, and her mother a medical doctor. She schooled at Grace Children School, Gbagada. The actress proceeded from there to Moshood Abiola Polytechnic to obtain an OND in Mass Communication. She later graduated from the University of Lagos with a degree in Law. 

Funkẹ Akindele’s Journey into Nollywood

Between 1998 and 2002, Funke stepped quite unsteadily into an acting role that depicted her as a secondary school teenager. It was a hugely popular Nigerian sitcom sponsored by the United Nations titled ‘I Need to Know.‘ The television series highlighted the challenges and needs faced by teenagers during puberty. She was at first considered almost too old for the role. Nevertheless, Funke took up the role of the major character, and eventually excelled at it. 

Her role in the sitcom ‘I Need to Know’ was so well depicted; and it marked the beginning of her rise to stardom. In one of her interviews, the actress gave an account of the fact that she was very nervous as a startup actress. But she met mentors that encouraged her. 

But her breakthrough finally came. In 2008, Funke Akindele played the lead role in the Nigerian comedy-drama titled ‘Jenifa’, which became virally popular. The character of ‘Jenifa’ chronicled the awe-inspiring journey of a village girl with an unbelievable determination to succeed in life. She had hilariously poor English-speaking skills, funny behaviors, and a legendary ‘Can-do’ attitude. She perfected the art of practically faking it to make it. She eventually gained admission into university, and became a successful entrepreneur. Funkẹ won an award for  the Best Actress in a Leading Role at the Africa Movie Academy Awards for this same role. She also won two Best Actress awards at the Nigeria Entertainment Awards, and the Nollywood Movies Awards in 2012.

The ‘Jenifa’ movie was followed by a sequel in 2011. It developed into a television series in 2014 titled ‘Jenifa’s Diary’, which featured some notable Nigerian celebrities. It also acquired a franchise of its own, due to its viral popularity. And from there, Funke featured in other Nollywood movies (especially indigenous Yoruba movies). 

Game Changer: Funke Akindele’s  Role as a Movie Director

Funkẹ transitioned from being an actress into a movie producer. In 2019, she produced her debut movie ‘Your Excellency’. Then in 2021, she co-produced the record-breaking movie ‘Omo Ghetto: The Saga’. ‘Omo Ghetto: The Saga’ went on to become the highest-grossing Nigerian movie of all time. It accrued up to 468,036,300 Naira from box-office sales in one month. The movie towed the same path of comedy and wit, a typical style in Funke’s works. The movie exceeded the earnings from Kemi Adetiba’s popular movie ‘The Wedding Party‘.

It did not stop there. In December 2022, Funke Akindele produced and directed the movie ‘Battle on Buka Street‘. The movie accrued about 135,000,000 Naira in record sales across Nigeria and West Africa. The same movie also accrued about 60,000 US Dollars in the United States of America. For the record, Funke Akindele is the CEO of Scene One movie productions.

Funkẹ Akindele’s Net Worth and Endorsements Deals

Reputable online sources put Funke Akindele’s net worth at a whooping 7.6 million US Dollars. She is currently ranked the third-richest Nollywood actress in Nigeria. This is in addition to her palatial mansion in Amen Estate Lekki, her fleet of cars, other possessions, and cool endorsement deals.

Some of the notable endorsement deals signed by Funke Akindele include:

  • Dettol antiseptic ambassador (2018)
  • Iroko TV ambassador (2018)
  • Keystone bank ambassador (2018)
  • WAW detergent ambassador (2019)
  • Molfix ambassador (2020)
  • Kelloggs Nigeria ambassador
  • Amen Estate influencer 

Funkẹ Akindele: Awards and Achievements

The ace actress has won no less than 20 awards in her acting career. They include:

  • Nigeria Entertainment Awards: Best Actress award (2012)
  • Nollywood Movies Awards: Best Actress award (2012)
  • Three-time winner of the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards (2014, 2017, and 2020)
  • Invitation to join the membership of the Oscars organizers by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) 

Funkẹ Akindele’s Personal Life

Funkẹ has been married twice. Her first marriage was to Kehinde Oloyede in 2013. But the marriage ended 413 days later, according to some online sources. 

Funkẹ is now a mother of twin boys. They were a product of her last marriage with singer, rapper and music executive, Abdulrasheed Bello, (a.k.a JJC Skillz). They married in 2013, but are currently divorced after six years of wedlock. 

Funke also foraged briefly into politics, when she attempted to contest for the post of deputy Governor of Lagos State at the 2023 elections. She teamed up with the governorship aspirant on the platform of People’s Democratic Party, Dr. Azeez Olajide Adediran (a.k.a Jandor). However, they could not win the governorship seat. 




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About the author

Omolola Akinyemi

A Computer Science graduate of UNILAG, I hail from Ekiti state of Nigeria. An astute teacher, learner & admin assistant of many years experience. I love technology, innovation, and Nature. A problem solving mentality is important to me. The future is only seconds away, and I believe I can define the future now. You can also.

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