Stephanie Okereke is an actress who has earned a reputation as one of Africa’s foremost actresses, especially in Nollywood, the Nigerian film industry.
Stephanie Okereke was born in Ngor Okpala, Imo State. She is the sixth child of Mary and Chima Okereke’s eight children. She completed her primary and secondary education in Delta State. She studied at the University of Calabar, in Cross River State, where she graduated with a degree in English and Literary Studies.
While she was still a teenager in the year 1997, she starred in two Nollywood movies; Compromise 2 and Waterloo.
During the 2002 Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria beauty pageant, Okereke reached 3rd place. A year later in 2003, Okereke won two awards, out of the eight nominations she received, at the 2003 Reel Awards for ‘Best Actress – English’ and ‘Best Actress of the year 2003’.
After graduating from the New York Film Academy in 2007, Okereke released the movie Through the Glass in which she served as director, scriptwriter, producer and actress. The film received an Africa Movie Academy Award nomination for Best Screenplay in 2009. In 2014, she released another movie, Dry and again served as a director, scriptwriter, producer, and actress which won many awards including 12th Africa Movie Academy Awards and 2016 Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards best movie overall movie with the prize of a brand new car. Okereke has starred in over 90 movies.
She has starred in more than 100 films and has received several awards and nominations for her work as an actress. These include; the Afro-Hollywood Awards, Film Makers USA Award for Excellence, Reel Awards for Best Actress and recently, the prestigious AMVCA 2016 Award for Best Overall Movie in Africa and AMAA Awards Best Nigerian Film for her most recent work – DRY. This comes after her highly successful directorial debut in ‘Through The Glass’, which was the country’s first film to gross 10million naira in its first week and then carted away several awards.
In 2010, Stephanie was featured in the CNN documentary “50 years of Nigerian Independence.” That same year, she joined Hollywood A-list star Meryl Streep, for an exclusive stage reading of the play “Seven” at the Hudson Theatre in New York City as part of the Women in the World Conference, opened by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
On a special invitation from the Queen of England, Stephanie was one of the distinguished guests who attended the 2015 Queens Young Leaders Award in Buckingham Palace where 60 young people across Commonwealth Nations were being honoured. As an avid supporter of the campaign, Stephanie met with England’s Queen Elizabeth II and other dignitaries at the Palace.
Beyond her work as an actress, she is passionate about women’s rights and strongly advocates against early child marriage. Through her foundation “Extended Hands”, she has done extensive work in the field of Vesico Vaginal Fistula. This earned her the Miriam Makeba Award for Excellence in 2007, and the Beyond the Tears Humanitarian Award for her work against rape and VVF. She is the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Regional Ambassador on Maternal and Reproductive Health for West and Central Africa. Stephanie is also passionate about raising her voice against electoral violence. In March 2016, she spoke alongside other world leaders like the First Female U.S. Secretary Of State, Madeleine K Albright and the Canadian First Lady, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau at the #NotTheCost Conference in New York in her capacity as the the NDI’s Celebrity Ambassador for the ‘STOP Violence Against Women In Elections’ campaign. She was awarded Nigeria’s fourth highest award, Member of the Order of the Federal Republic.
Stephanie’s resilience and determination have proven that she will always remain one step ahead and she is arguably one of the most respected actresses in Nollywood. Her desire to evolve is what inspires and drives her in all of her work as an actress and entrepreneur. With a string of local and international awards and a burgeoning portfolio of philanthropy and activism, Stephanie is irrepressible and at the top of her game.