After weeks of pure excitement and entertainment, intense drama and suspense, Akio Precious Ilami has emerged winner of the 2010 edition of the Next Movie Star Africa. The 20-year-old Linguistics student of the University of Jos therefore becomes the proud winner of a brand new car, a mouth watering cash prize and enviable movie roles.
Not just that; she joins the NMS hall of fame hitherto occupied by past winners; Kingsley Ogboso, Portia Yamahan, Enoch Hammond from Ghana, Avenette Sirleaf from Liberia and Oyindamola Odesola. Good-looking model and aspiring actor, Ifeanyi Williams was the first runner up while Princess Shyngle of Gambia was second runner up.
Gangling theatre artist, Boma Mac Ake was the third runner up. As painful as it was losing out on the NMS top crown, the three finalists were consoled by the fact that Kevin Chuwang Pam and Uti Nwachukwu who have gone on to achieve continental fame did not win when they contested in the NMS in 2006 and 2007 respectively.
In fact, they were both runners up. Interestingly, Kevin went on to win the Big Brother Africa in 2009 while Uti won the 2010 All Stars’ edition of the BBA.
Though pitted against equally talented contestants, the pretty, fashion-conscious young lady stunned Nigerians and Africans at large with her artistic abilities and social flair giving outstanding performances in the numerous tasks given to her.
Shocked and surprised at the announcement of her name by popular comedian, Gbenga Adeyinka the 1st, Akio jumped, cried, laughed and danced at the same time. She gushed; “I can’t believe this. I can’t believe I am the Next Movie Star. Is this a dream? My acting dreams are eventually coming to reality.” The winners and their fellow housemates partied till morning to show their excitement and gratitude for being a part of this year’s NMS.
Precisely, on Wednesday, November 10, 16 youths, drawn from across eight African countries entered the Next Movie Star House in search of fame, pride and glory. In the first two weeks in camp, the housemates went through several training and grooming sessions by accomplished professionals as part of the organizers’ commitment to engender an informative, entertaining and educative show.
They were thereafter taken to the custom-built NMS house in Akute, Ogun State. During the show, the housemates had for company many celebrities including the world famous Kennis Music All Stars comprising Goldie, Jaywon, Femi and Joe el; Foluke Daramola, comedian, Koffi, Eyo of Project Fame who is an alumnus of the NMS, Mo’Cheddah and Portia.
The celebrities visited the NMS house as part of the Thank God It’s Friday programme which allowed housemates to party and meet with their favourite celebrities.
Conceived in 2005 to serve as a springboard for unheralded talents to enter the Nigerian movie industry in grand style, the NMS has over the years, produced countless movie stars including Tonto Dike, Annie Macaulay, Moyo Lawal, Eyo, who was on the last Project Fame West Africa and Lydia Forson, the Ghanaian contestant in 2007 that went on to become a joint winner of the best actress award at the 2009 Africa Movie Academy Awards.
Now in its sixth edition, the NMS has proved to be Africa’s most enduring and most accomplished privately funded show, continually throwing up fresh talents every other year. According to the executive producer of the show, Sola Fajobi, “This year’s show was especially very interesting because we had house mates from eight African countries who were all very talented in their own right.
The house mates were also conscious of the fact that they needed to dig into the depth of their talents which made it very difficult to determine the eventual winner because the last eight housemates were winners in their own right but only one person could win at the end of the day and the lucky person is Akio Ilami.” Speaking further, Fajobi says he has no doubt that Ilami would hold her own anywhere in the world acting takes her.