Rita Dominic has had a singular career in Nollywood, attaining the trifecta of actorly relevance: the adoration of viewers, the acclaim of critics, and the admiration of peers.
The last is noteworthy. She is the most nominated actress in the 18-year history of the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAAs), earning five notices as lead actress and winning on her first attempt, in 2012, for Shattered. (She is tied with the Nigerian actor O.C. Ukeje, both of them one away from matching the overall record by the Ghanaian actor Majid Michel, who notched six, five in lead and one in supporting).
At the industry’s other major awards show, the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards (AMVCAs), she jointly holds the same record with five nominations (tied with Funke Akindele). There, she is the only person to win Best Actress in the two categories, in Drama for ’76 and in Comedy for The Meeting.
Over the last 25 years, she has built a glowing reputation and a career of variety that sets her apart.
In April 2021, I had the chance to interview Ms. Dominic. It was a 45-minute conversation. I had questions and she had the warmth to answer them convincingly. I had gone into it wondering if she would give me anything, if she would, as the decades-famous were wont to do, fold away. But she delved in with delight about her craft and acting choices.
Two years later, here it is: an in-depth look into her journey. From her training in theatre to her defining roles in Shattered, The Meeting, ’76, and La Femme Anjola, we roll back the years. We spoke, too, to two of her directors, Mildred Okwo and Izu Ojukwu, and to one of her co-stars, Nse Ikpe-Etim.
In its focus and detail, this profile is unlike any other that has been done on a Nollywood actor. It does not dwell on this being her 25th year in acting — because the interview was conducted in her 23rd — but it does capture the essence of her work, in the way that all our other profiles capture the essence of their subjects, with insight and new information.
This is Open Country Mag’s eighth cover and our first in film. Each of our previous seven in literature — Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Teju Cole, Damon Galgut, Tsitsi Dangarembga, Chinelo Okparanta, Maaza Mengiste, and The Next Generation — were selected with a purpose. With this one, with Ms. Dominic, we could not have made a better opening choice in our expansion into film. As an actress and producer, she is quietly resetting expectations, and what better time is there to acknowledge it than on the International Women’s Day? ♦
COVER STORY: “Rita Dominic’s Visions of Character”
Previous Cover Announcements
— Chinelo Okparanta Is on the December 2022 Cover of Open Country Mag
— The Next Generation of African Literature Is on the April 2022 Cover of Open Country Mag
— Damon Galgut Is on the February 2022 Cover of Open Country Mag
— Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Is on the September 2021 Cover of Open Country Mag
— Teju Cole Is on the July 2021 Cover of Open Country Mag
— Maaza Mengiste Is on the January 2021 Cover of Open Country Mag
— Tsitsi Dangarembga Is on the December 2020 Cover of Open Country Mag