INTRODUCTION Stella Damasus is a popular award winning Nigerian actress who came into the industry many years ago. She is a movie producer and also a singer. Stella Damasus has shown in many popular Nollywood movies.
EARLY LIFE AND BACKGROUND
She grew up in Benin City where she completed most of her primary education. Born into a family of six (five girls and one boy who is now late), Stella attended Greater Tomorrow Primary School and Idia College both in Benin, Edo state. She had her tertiary education at the University of Lagos where she studied Creative Arts and graduated in 2002.
In an interview Stella revealed more about her background, see excerpts below: “I’m from Delta State. I was born into a Christian family of five girls and a boy. I lost my brother in 1991 to asthma. I lived with my parents until I came to Lagos after my secondary school. I was living with my sister, got into music and that was when I went to Klink Studio, joined a band and started performing live. My daddy is a fantastic man. He is Chief SKC Damasus. He was a banker all his life. During the war he was a soldier and after the war he became a banker. My mum is a banker as well. I was brought up in a home of bankers. Everything was by the book. You go to school, come back, study, receive guests and the likes. Again, because I had older sisters things were easier. Growing up was fun.
My family name was changed from Ojukwu to Damasus during the Nigeria/Biafra civil war because we were being mistaken to be related to a warlord. I was told that my family name used to be Ojukwu but during the civil war there was confusion because a lot of my family members were mistaken to be related to one war lord. They were burning a lot of houses in my village so my father and his brother decided to adopt my grandfather’s first name. It was a Greek name which was Damasus, my grandfather’s name was Damasus Ojukwu. So I was born into Damasus not Ojukwu and the only thing I know about the civil war are the stories my parents told me.” – Stella Damasus
CAREER AND LIFE
Stella got her first lead role in the film “BREAKING POINT”. Her performance was so spectacular that she instantly became a household name across Nigeria.
Her portrayal of a blind girl who stole the heart of a wealthy young man in the movie “REAL LOVE” shot her into super stardom across the continent of Africa, Europe and the United States amongst lovers of African films and cinema. Her face and name attached to any project guranteed it to be a sure hit at the box office.
Making movies however did not stop this multitalented woman from her love for music. She still did live performances on stage with her band all over the country. Thrilling audiences with her voice and cover of very powerful songs by great singers like Dianna Ross, Whitney Houston, Jill Scott, India Arie, etc.
In the movie “WIDOW”, she portrays a woman who is tormented and oppressed by her late husband’s family after his demise. This has been described by many as the performance that redefined film performances, not just in the Nigerian movie industry, but the entire African motion picture industry. Stella Damasus has gone on to work in over 90 feature films. Her fanbase extends from Africa to Europe, North America, the Middle East and the Carribbean Islands.
She has been honored with several prestigious awards in Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Dublin, London and the United States including Best Actress at the REAL AWARDS 2003, Best Actress at the NIGERIA ENTERTAINMENT AWARDS 2007 and Best Actress at the GIAMA AWARDS 2012. In 2004, she was honored in Washington DC for her outstanding performance and contribution to the Nigerian movie industry.
Beyond entertainment, Stella Damasus is famous for her philanthropy work and her fight for the empowerment and re-positioning of women and children in Africa. She has spearheaded several campaigns to help protect the rights of women and children. Her philanthropy work has taken her all over Africa and America.
In 2011, she started the STELLA DAMASUS ARTS FOUNDATION where actors and singers can enroll to receive FREE training in Acting and Singing for 3 months. Graduates of SDAF have gone on to have great careers in television, film and music. A recent graduate of SDAF, Tope Tedela, won Best Actor at the 2014 AMVC Awards in Nigeria.
She is the Co-Founder of Index Two Studios and the President of SDA Productions.
A devout Christian, mother, writer and business woman, Stella sees herself as a person that has been placed on earth for many resons and is determined to fulfill every single one of them. Her willingness to take on daunting tasks and face danger in the eyes is second to none.
Damasus married her first husband, Jaiye Aboderin, in 1999. The couple had two daughters before Jaiye died suddenly in 2004. Damsus re-married in 2007, this time to Emeka Nzeribe. The marriage lasted for seven months before a mutual agreement to divorce. In 2011, she became associated with multiple award-winning Nollywood producer & director Daniel Ademinokan; the couple have been together ever since. Their relationship sparked a lot of controversy all over Nigeria and Africa because both parties never publicly admitted to be dating, engaged or even married until 2014.
Damasus started her career as a singer in Lagos where she used to work as a studio session singer at the famous Klink Studios owned by filmmaker Kingsley Ogoro. There she honed her skills as singer and went on to do vocals for the top jingles on radio and TV in Nigeria at that time.
Damasus is a Theatre arts graduate of the University of Lagos. She first appeared in the Nigerian film Abused in 1992. Her claim to fame, however, was her second movie Breaking Point produced by Emem Isong and directed by Francis Agu where she shot into superstardom across Nigeria. She has gone on to star in over 60 movies. AWARDS She’s won several huge awards which include; Giama awards, AMVCA and more…