Our Nollywood Spotlight this week is on the super versatile and talented Ghanaian actor, Majid Michel!
The son of a Lebanese father and a Ghanaian mother, Majid was born in Cantonments, a suburb of Accra, on September 22, 1980. The youngest of nine siblings, he grew up in a fairly affluent neighbourhood and had an overall happy childhood. After attending St. Theresa's Primary School, he went on to study at Mfantsipim School. It was at secondary school that Majid got his first taste of acting, joining the school drama club and performing in several plays during his time there. Even this early on, his talent was recognised and he won a Best Actor Award for one of his school's performances.
After completing his secondary school education, Majid's introduction to acting as a profession came about through modelling. After encouragement from a neighbour, he auditioned to join the Super Model Agency and was accepted. Once again, his talent was noticed and he went on to star in the super successful TV series "The Things We Do for Love", where he played Shaker. In fact, he is still nicknamed 'Shaker' by many today, due to the show's booming success.
Majid's first ever movie role was the male lead in the 2004 romantic-drama "Divine Love". Not only did Majid launch his career with this movie but also his co-stars Jackie Appiah and Van Vicker, as "Divine Love" was extremely well-received by critics and audiences. From then on, Majid was in high demand and went on to receive seven nominations for his star performance in "The Agony of the Christ".
So far we've covered Majid's rise to fame in Ghallywood, but how did he break into Nollywood?
One of the factors that led to Majid becoming a household name in this industry was the Nigerian film director Frank Rajah Arase and a certain contract. This contract, which Arase signed with Venus Films, basically gave Ghanaian actors equal 'star power' as their Nigerian counterparts. This resulted in many Ghanaian actors gaining access to Nollywood, launching careers and providing an abundance of opportunities for up-and-coming talent.
Majid was, of course, one of the talented young actors who benefitted from this pivotal moment in the Nollywood movie industry. His first Nollywood role was in 2009, as the romantic male lead in "Emerald
", alongside the legendary Genevieve Nnaiji. Despite a luke-warm response to the movie itself, Majid and Nnaji's on-screen chemistry was undeniable, causing critics to rave about their performance for weeks on end.
Later that year, the pair starred alongside one another, yet again, in "Silent Scandals
", which was received far more positively. Their performance together was applauded and "Silent Scandals
" propelled Majid to the forefront of Nollywood cinema. He has worked with Nnaji twice more, in the 2010 drama "Bursting Out
" and in the 2015 drama "Road to Yesterday
Although nominated for multiple awards throughout his career, it wasn't until 2012 that Majid won an African Movie Academy Award
for Best Actor in a Leading Role
for "Somewhere in Africa". He went on to bag the Nigeria Entertainment Award
for Best Actor (Africa)
for his performance in 2015's "Knocking on Heaven's Door
As for Majid's life off-screen, he has been married to his wife, Vera, for 12 years and the couple has two daughters, Keira and Zara. Majid often credits his wife with continuing to inspire and motivate him in his acting career. He is a devoted family man and states that he only puts God above his beloved wife and daughters. Majid is a born-again Christian. The former atheist declared his new-found Evangelism on various social media platforms back in 2016, as well as in several interviews, and has performed several church services since finding God.
This year, we are super excited about Majid's role in the romantic comedy "Getting Over Him", which was released in select cinemas on January 26!
Which Majid Michel movie is your favourite? Let us know what you think in the comments!
Here are some more fun facts about Majid Michel:
- He was rejected for his first movie audition but says this drove him to work harder
- His full name is Majid Michel Eracow
- He has stated that God has used him to perform miracles on people
- Last October, Majid said he does not want to kiss in movies any longer, feeling that it conflicts with his Evangelism
- Majid has an estate named after him in Accra
- He is a Virgo as he was born on September 22
- He suffered from Dyslexia at an early age
- He is a pastor
- Despite his devotion to God, he used to be a notorious 'bad boy' of Ghallywood and Nollywood
- Kofi-Annan attended the same secondary school as him
- He said that when he first met Genevieve Nnaji he was totally star-struck and she was instrumental in teaching him how to act
- He hates travelling by plane
- He only takes on roles if feels fully connected to the character
- He and his wife grew up together in the same neighbourhood