Not many people know that screen goddesses- Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde and Genevieve Nnaji are sworn enemies in real life. But the interesting thing is that both of them will always deny such reports.
Even sometimes in the past, they employed elaborate media camouflage to hide the fact that they are perhaps, Nollywood's biggest rivals since Clarion Chukwura and Barbara Soky battled themselves during Zeb Ejiro's Ripples a few years back.
Showbiz People gathered that the rivalry between the two actresses started over movie roles and the contention between them over who is Nigeria's biggest screen diva after Liz Benson and Regina Askia quit the stage some years ago. In 2003, the battle between Genevieve and Omotola reached a crescendo with the explosion of Genevieve as the hottest and most sought after actress in Nigeria.
While Genevieve reigned, Omotola's pals were always eager to pass scant remarks on the Mbaise, Imo State-born movie queen, describing her as a "hustler", while also using other uncomplimentary terms to qualify her. The truth is that between 2002 and 2004, Genevieve grabbed most of the leading roles in the movie industry, leaving Omotola trailing behind.
As a reply to Genevieve's moving up the ladder, Omotola increased her appearance fees movies and became the first in that category to earn above N800,000. Genevieve later caught up with Omotola and in 2003, both ran neck-to-neck earning between a fee of Nl million and N1.3 million. Again, Genevieve broke the tie when she grabbed N3 million to do a semi-nude movie; a whopping Nl.5 million above what Omotola received in 2002 to star in the controversial flick, "The Prostitute. "
Rumour merchants are also quick to reveal that it was at the Coal City of Enugu that the rivalry took a new dimension. As the story goes, it was yuppie producer, Tchidi Tchikere, who played up the rivalry between the two actresses. Most people believe that Tchikere in 2002 and 2003, was the eastern marketers' production choice and he settled for Genevieve in his major flicks. By 2003, Tchikere was said to have shifted his choice from Genevieve to Omotola. But little did he know that the duo were having a clash, with Genevieve reportedly accusing Omotola of using "extra" means to become Tchikere's first choice actress in 2003.It was Tchichi who paid Omotola the first N800,000 and set the tone for the fee's war between Genevieve and Omotola.
But the war has only recently gone personal, with both actresses allegedly passing derisive remarks about each other. In 2003, there were media reports that both had a fight, but the following week after the reports, Omotola granted interviews calling Genevieve "my sister", with Genevieve doing the same thing in another interview.
These days, Omotola's supporters are quick to point out that Omotola is the better of the two, what with her stunning figure even after four kids. Although Genevieve herself looks smashing after one kid, but Omotola's camp say her figure cannot be matched by Genevieve should she be in similar child bearing circumstance as Omotola. Besides, they insist that Genevieve is not material
enough without a husband and that Omotola's wedding-in-the- air cannot be rivalled yet. They even argue that Genevieve, with all the razzmatazz, has not been able to win The Movie Awards (THEMA), which Omotola won in 1997/98.
Genevieve's supporters are however vocal in their praise of 'our' girl. They flaunt her City People Awards for Excellence as a proof that she is a big star in her own right. They also beat their chest that Genevieve was rated number one between 2002 and 2004 in the industry. Above all, they point to Genevieve's several modelling roles and recognition within the African continent, especially the Face of Lux advert, which will eventually hit the screen this year, while also observing that Omotola's dress sense is nothing compared to that of Genevieve.
Meanwhile, only recently with the ban on the two actresses by the movie marketers, both screen queens have taken their battle into the music industry with each poised to hit the market with her own brand of music. While Genevieve has chosen Hip Life, Omotola, it was gathered, is favouring Afro- R&B with a of tinge highlife.