Stephanie Okereke is a Nigerian actress, filmmaker, and entrepreneur. She is the Executive Director of Extended Hands Foundation, a non-governmental organisation that helps facilitate free treatment for women and girls with obstetric fistula. Her natural acting abilities and tenacity have earned her the reputation of one of the best actresses in Nollywood and the African continent at large.
On a special invitation from the Queen of England, Stephanie Okereke 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 honoured.
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Background of Stephanie Okereke
Stephanie Okereke was born on the 2nd of October, I982 in Ngor Okpala, Imo State. She is the sixth child of Mary and (late) Chima Okereke. She had her basic and secondary education in Delta State. Stephanie has a Bachelor’s degree in English and Literary Studies from the University of Calabar, Cross River State.
Stephanie married Linus Idahosa in April 2012 and they are blessed with a son, named Maxwell Enosata Linus. Her husband is an entrepreneur and an international media consultant. Linus Idahosa is the owner of Del-York International, a full service media consultancy and an exclusive partner to the New York Film Academy in Nigeria.
Stephanie Okereke pursued her acting career at a tender age. According to her, “Right after I finished my final exams in Secondary School, I knew I wanted to be an actress. I was used to singing on stage, performing, taking part in school debates and dramas. Shortly after, I got a role in a movie called Compromise”.
Her career rocketed ever since she debuted as an actress in the 1997 Nigerian movies, Compromise 2 and Waterloo. Stephanie has starred in more than 100 movies and has received several awards and nominations for her work.
Blessed with a beautiful height and straight legs, she contested for the 2002 Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria and she came second. Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria is an annual beauty pageant hosted by Silverbird Television.
After years of absence from the screen, Stephanie Okereke launched back with a feature in a Hollywood movie, Boonville Redemption in 2016. She acted as Doris, a compassionate lady who formed a bond with a young girl in search of her father. Stephanie featured alongside Edward Asner, Emily Hoffman and many other Hollywood actors.
Climbing the Ladder
Armed with the passion to be more than just an actress, she headed to New York Film Academy, Los Angeles in 2007 to learn movie directing. After graduating, Stephanie Okereke released her first movie as a director, Through the Glass in 2008. As a multi-talented artiste, she also served as the movie’s producer, scriptwriter and actress.
Through the Glass was a blockbuster and was nominated for Best Screenplay in 2009 Africa Movie Academy Award. The movie also won the Recognition Award from the California Legislature and the city of Carson.
After a successful debut as a director and producer, she released another hit movie, Dry in 2014. Dry focused on Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF) conditions and under-aged marriage among young women in Africa. The movie received public recognitions and awards both locally and internationally. The attention impacted her reputation positively and also gave her recognition as a humanitarian.
Some of Stephanie Okereke Movies
- Compromise (1997)
- Waterloo (1997)
- Pretender (2002)
- Private Sin (2003)
- Emotional Crack (2003)
- Critical Decision (2004)
- Magic Moment (2004)
- Guys on the Line (2005)
- Omalinze (2005)
- Behind the Plot (2006)8
- Sitanda (2006)
- Through the Glass (2008)
- Hidden Treasure (2008)
- Nnenda (2009)
- Reloaded (2009)
- Dry (2014)
- Boonville Redemption (2016)
Other Interest of Stephanie Okereke
In 2012, the A-list actress launched a personal blog site, Stephanie Daily to interact with her fans. In her words, “It’s my own personal space for me to interact with the wonderful fans I have been blessed with. It’s called Stephanie Daily for a reason – that means, everyday there’s something new to talk about. So now there’s an actual platform that draws me closer to the people who believe in what I do.”
Stephanie Daily is a blend of fashion, beauty, inspiration, gist, giveaways for fans and loads of pictures.
Make me Fabulous
In 2015, the Nollywood actress and film maker started a TV reality show, Make me Fabulous. Make me Fabulous is an unscripted, love filled and one-of- its-kind. The reality show helps to rekindle the spark in marriages from newly-weds to old couples. It takes the couples on transformational journey that give them the chance to connect without distractions.
Stephanie Okereke is also a brand ambassador for many organisations including the MINISO Nigeria, Green Valley Oatmeal. She was a representative of Kanekalon Hair, Diva Pads, Nigerian Young Professional Forum (NYPF). In 2015, the National Democratic Institute appointed her as the ambassador for Stop Violence Against Women in Elections (STOP-VAWIE).
The award-winning actress was recently named the brand ambassador for Nollycasting, an online casting platform for personnel in various field including commercials, comedy etc.
Achievements of Stephanie Okereke
In 2010, Stephanie Okereke joined Hollywood 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. She also featured in CNN documentary “50 years of Nigerian Independence”.
In 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 NDI’s Celebrity Ambassador for the ‘STOP Violence Against Women in Elections’ campaign.
Stephanie Okereke is an advocate against injustices such as early child marriage and policies that do not protect girls and women. Using her movie, Dry to create awareness about Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF), she has since done extensive work on the medical condition. She started a not-for-profit foundation, Extended Hands to help women and girls with obstetric fistula.
Extended Hands provides free surgeries to heal women and girls with obstetric fistula, support the treatment centers and work closely with the doctors to provide high quality treatment.
Since birth, the foundation has made donations to many Fistula Hospitals including Maryam Abacha Fistula Hospital in Sokoto. In partnership with NNPC/SNEPCo, Extended Hands Foundation carried out repair surgeries on women with VVF.
Stephanie Okereke is also an advocate for victims of human trafficking. In partnership with the international medical humanitarian organisation, she visited Italy early this year to create an awareness on human trafficking and also gives hope to victims.
Recognitions and Awards
- Best Actress at What a Year Awards 2003
- Best Actress (English) at Reel Awards 2003
- Best Actress of the Year at Reel Awards 2003
- Outstanding Actress at Afro-Dublin Awards 2004
- Award for Excellence at Film Makers of Nigeria 2004
- Best Actress at Afro Hollywood Award 2006
- Miriam Makeba Award for Excellence 2007
- Beyond the Tears Humanitarian Award 2008
- Member of Order of the Federal Republic 2011
- Movie with the Best Social Media at Best of Nollywood Awards 2015
- Best Protagonist at Bentonville Film Festival 2015
- Best Actress in Leading Role at NAFCA 2016
- Face of Nollywood (Female) at DALA Awards 2016
- Best Supporting Actress at Truth Awards 2017
- Distinguished Leadership Award by Dillard University 2018
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