Rachael Okonkwo Nnenna popularly known as Nkoli Nwa Nsukka is a fast rising Nollywood actress, model, singer, dancer and a philanthropist.
She was born on 26 May 1987 in Nsukka, Enugu State in the south eastern part of Nigeria. She is currently 30 years old.
She hails from Ukpata in Uzo-Uwani Local Government area Of Enugu State, Located in the south eastern part of Nigeria.
Rachael Okonkwo completed both her primary and secondary school education in Nsukka, Enugu State, Nigeria and obtained both her First School Leaving Certificate and West African Senior School Certificate.
After completing her primary and secondary school education, Rachael Okonkwo studied at University of Nigeria, Nsukka in Enugu State, Nigeria.
She started acting in 2005 but due to lack of movie roles she switched her career to dancing and made several cameo appearance in musical videos in Nigeria.
In 2007, Rachael Okonkwo joined the Nigerian movie industry (Nollywood) professionally after registering with the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) Enugu Chapter at the National Museum in GRA, Enugu, Nigeria and started attending movie auditions and featuring as minor character in movies.
In 2008, she played a Supporting role in the movie “Royal War” alongside with Ini Edo and Van Vickers. In 2010, she played a Supporting role in the movie “Open and Close” alongside with Nuela Njibuigbo, Patience Ozokwor, John Okafor and Charles Inojie.
In 2014, Rachael Okonkwo rose to fame after playing the lead role in the Nollywood blockbuster movie “Nkoli Nwa Nsukka” an Igbo indigenous movie produced and directed by Mac Collins Chidebe. She is one of the most gifted, most skillful, most creative and most talented actresses in Nigeria. She can interpret any role given to her perfectly and can fit in any character given to her by movie directors.
Rachael Okonkwo has acted in more than 100 Nollywood movies which include Nkoli Nwa Nsukka, Royal War, Ekaette Goes to School, White Ladies, Open & Close, Sister Esther, Paw Paw the Guitar Boy, Bloody War, Ogidi, Teri Teri, Arthur One Eye, Onwa Na South, Left Over, Zee World Madness, University Girls, Vale of Tears, Ojawa-Nwa, Justify My Love, Eno My Calabar Love, Ijele the Princess of Fire, Local Prostitute, Please Leave My Husband, Tears of Betrayal, The Gods Anger, Pinging Ladies, White Ladies, Agatha, Blackberry Madness, Tears of Olamma, etc. She acts both in English and Igbo speaking movies.
In 2014, Rachael Okonkwo won the Best Indigenous Comedy Actress at the City People Entertainment Awards. In 2016, she was nominated for Best Comedy Actress of the Year at the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards for her role as Nkoli in the movie “Nkoli Nwa Nsukka” produced and directed by Mac Collins Chidebe.
Her role in the movie “Nkoli Nwa Nsukka” also won her an award for Best Indigenous Comedy Actress at the African Movie Academy Awards. However, there has been rumor on social media that the beautiful and talented actress was dating Nollywood movie producer and director Mac Collins Chidebe, after which another rumor skyrocket on social media that she was dating Nollywood famous actor Ken Erics, but during an interview with the media she debunks all the allegations and stated there are just business partners and professionals in the entertainment industry.
Rachael Okonkwo is also a philanthropist. In her own special way of giving back to the society, hosts an annual carnival which aims at providing free gifts to kids and entertainment to the people. She says the project enables her to interact with her fans.
In 2015, she hosted the first edition of the children’s Easter Carnival aimed at giving free gifts to kids during the Easter celebration which was held in Enugu coal city of Enugu State in the south eastern part of Nigeria.
In 2016, she hosted the second edition of the children’s Easter Carnival which was held in Onitsha, Anambra State in the south eastern part of Nigeria which had even more turnout as she was accompanied by fellow Nollywood actors like Ken Erics among others to the event.
In 2017, she hosted the third edition of the children’s Easter Carnival which was held in her city of birth Nsukka, Enugu State in the south eastern part of Nigeria which had about 5000 people in attendance including Nollywood celebrities like Angela Okorie, Nonso Diobi, Ken Erics, Eve Esin and Nigerian Hip hop rapper Slowdog. The project was supported by top brands in Nigeria which enabled it to be a bigger Event than its predecessors.
In 2015, Rachael Okonkwo was nominated for Best Supporting Actress of the Year (English) at the City People Entertainment Awards and Best Comic Actress of the Year at the Karis Media Awards.
In 2016, Rachael Okonkwo was nominated for Best Supporting Actress at the City People Entertainment Awards.
Rachael Okonkwo is currently one of the richest and most influential actress in Nigeria with an estimated net worth of $500,000.
Below is a live interview of the super star actress with the tribuneng
Nollywood actress, Nnenna Rachael Okonkwo is famous for her role in Nkoli Nwa Nsukka, a movie series which has run up to six parts. Born in Enugu State, Nkoli Nwa Nsukka as she is popularly called, began her journey into the movie industry in 2005 in a dynamic off and on phases, a story she shared with Newton-Ray Ukwuoma in this interview.
How did your journey into the movie industry begin?
It began in 2005 when I officially joined Nollywood. I acted in about 7 movies and stopped. The experience was terrible for me. I then joined the music industry as a dancer. I danced so much that people started calling me ‘oteegwu’[Igbo: great dancer] because I appeared in most gospel music videos in the market then. I went back to Nollywood and continued acting and eventually the movie,“Nkoli Nwa Nsukka” came and gave me the break.
Did you ever encounter sexual harassment in the beginning?
No, I did not, and I have not. It is not the way people talk about it.
So, why was the experience terrible?
I don’t want to talk about it. But, simply put, not many people believed in me in the beginning. So, it was difficult.
Were your parents in support?
I lost my father at the age of 13. My mother did not support my acting career initially because she felt I was not on the right track. But after she saw my potential, she became my biggest fan and supporter. Her prayers and that of my siblings and fans keep me going.
With your father’s demise, how was growing up for you?
It was not rosy at all after he died. I hawked corn, groundnut and did all manner of menial jobs to survive and helped my family. But I did not lose focus.
In that state, did you see yourself becoming famous?
Not really, even though I always believed in myself, fame actually took me unawares. I had no idea I will be where I am today. I give God all the glory.
You are famous for your role in the movie series, Nkoli Nwa Nsukka. What was your initial challenge interpreting the role?
Before Nkoli, I had done Olamma, the Cripple, King Harold, and Marine Daughters among others. So, when I got the script after the audition, I was nervous and curious at the same time. I didn’t see myself as a comedian or someone who could play a comic character, so that was the initial challenge. But when we started shooting, the director had to work on me; and I got better scene after scene.
You once said that not many people thought you would make it the industry because you weren’t tall enough and rich. Were these part of the difficulties you faced?
Yes, but that is in the past now.
Can you share one of your best moments as an actress?
One of my best moments as Nkoli Nwa Nsukka was when we were shooting Nkoli Nwa Nsukka seasons 5 & 6. We got to a location and people did not allow me to shoot because they saw Nkoli Nwa Nsukka. I never knew I had become that popular. In fact, I ran back inside the car and started crying, tears of joy.
How do you deal with stubborn fans?
I try to manage them very well because I see them as my well-wishers. Without people like them, we won’t feel appreciated. God will always bless my fans for me.
Any embarrassing moment with a fan you can’t forget?
Yes o. I came out of my car to enquire something from someone and on noticing I was the one, the young man jumped up and kissed me right on my lips. And this happened in a traffic jam; so, many people saw it. I can’t forget that day in a hurry. I felt so embarrassed that I felt like disappearing from there. It was one of those things.
Aside movies, what else do you do?
Property management; I buy and sell properties.
You organise a carnival every Easter for children. How was this year’s?
The 2018 Nkoli Nwa Nsukka Children’s Easter Carnival was awesome. We expected no fewer than 20,000 children this year. We had thousands of gifts for them, bicycles, school bags, food items, clothes, books and other learning materials. It took place at the Government Field, Nsukka and this year’s edition was the best ever. God has been awesome in my life and that is why I took it to the next level. Everything was double, double as it is said in local parlance.
This is the third edition. What is the motivation for the annual event?
It is my way of giving back to the society after all that God has been doing for me. Since Nkoli Nwa Nsukka came out people have been showing me love. I appreciate all they have done and still do for me. This is my own way of saying, thank you. I also want to thank Aqua Rapha, Eforevo TV and Royal Edge Celebration among others for supporting and sponsoring the carnival over the years.
Do you intend to bring it to Lagos some day?
Yes. The next one is likely going to be in Lagos. So, let’s see as it goes.
You love kids apparently, but how many kids do you intend to have?
As many as God gives me.
When should we expect the wedding bells to ring?
As soon as Oyim (Igbo: my fiancé) is ready for us to walk down the aisle (laughs).
Are you currently in a relationship?
How do you assess men for intimate relationship?
The one that understands me more than all the men in the world, (laughs) the one that understands the nature of my job and is hardworking and has the fear of God in him will mostly qualify. I know, no man is perfect but kudos to those who try.
Have you ever been heartbroken?
How did you deal with it?
I picked up the pieces of my heart and moved on (laughs). You know how it feels watching someone you so much cherish leave you probably for another girl but thank God someone better has taken the place.
What makes Rachael different?
She doesn’t try to be like anyone else. She believes in the uniqueness of man and wishes everyone well because she doesn’t believe in competition.
Before you joined the movie industry, were there actresses you looked up to?
Yes. I looked up to Genevieve and still look up to her because she has lasted in the industry and is still holding it down. She is indeed an icon. I love and respect Tonto Dike very much. She is strong and passionate about her career. I can’t forget her words of encouragement the first time I worked with her. Funke Akindele is another actress I admire so much. She is in her own world and I respect her for that. Angelina Jolie is a role model too.
What inspires you?
I’m inspired by God, kids and love for humanity. Nothing gives me joy like touching lives positively.
Do you plan to go into movie production?
Yes, but not anytime soon. Right time, I want to concentrate on my acting career.
What makes you cry?
Worship songs because they remind me of God’s goodness in my life. I can be so emotional with such songs.
What do you think should be done to take Nollywood higher?
We need more investors. Funding has been a major challenge. Marketing is another challenge but with proper funding and monitoring of the market, we can take the industry to the next level. Shout out to those who have remained steadfast in the game. The industry keeps getting better by the day.
What has fame deprived you of?
The same old me. I am trying to be the same old me, but it is getting difficult by the day.