Reality shows in Nigeria over the years have served as breeding grounds for talented persons looking to leverage the platforms for prominence.
Although some of the popular entertainers did not emerge winners during their time at the reality shows they have remained consistent and excelled more than the winners;
Here are 30 Nigerian celebrities who emerged from reality shows:
In 2001, P-Square won the “Grab Da Mic” competition and Benson & Hedges sponsored their debut album titled Last Nite released under Timbuk2 music label.
The music duo consisting of the twin brothers Peter Okoye and Paul Okoye now produce and release their albums through Square Records.
2. Emmanuel Ikubese
The model and actor who won the SilverBird male Pageant for Mr Nigeria in 2014.
In 2015, he won the Peace Personality of the Year at the Peace Achievers Awards and in 2016 won the City People Movie Award.
3. Ebuka Obi-Uchendu
Ebuka, known for his trendy styles and fashion, was a housemate on the first season of Big Brother Naija reality show.
Although he finished in the eighth position, he is one of the most successful products of this reality show.
He is popularly known for hosting the reality show Big Brother Naija, the long running Rubbin’ Minds talk show on Channels TV as well as co-hosting The Spot and Men’s Corner on Ebonylife Television.
4. Timi Dakolo
The soul singer rose to fame after emerging winner of West African Idol 2007.
With his victory, he got a recording contract with Sony BMG in addition to other prizes. No doubt, Timi is now an award-winning singer.
5. Yemi Alade
Yemi Alade gained prominence after winning the Peak Talent Show in 2009 and is best known for her hit single “Johnny”.
She has since grown to be loved beyond the shores of Africa.
6. Uti Nwachukwu
Uti Nwachukwu rose to limelight after emerging winner of Big Brother Africa season 5 in 2010.
In 2011, Uti began his acting career and has so far featured in several movies since then.
Praise Ugbede Adejo, better known by his stage name Praiz, is a Nigerian R&B songwriter, producer and singer.
His music career hit the limelight after he finished second runner-up at the maiden season of Project Fame West Africa.
8. Tonto Dikeh
She was a contestant on a show called “The Next Movie Star” in 2005.
Tonto was the first runner-up, making her Movie career hit the limelight.
Darey rose to fame after he participated in the 2004 edition of Project Fame Academy.
He emerged third in the contest.
She rose to limelight after contesting in the first edition of West African Idols music competition.
Omawumi, a graduate of Law from Ambrose Alli University, came second on the show.
Her first single ‘In The Music’, became an instant hit which attracted several accolades.
He rose to fame after winning the first season of Project Fame West Africa, and is best known for his hit single “Kukere”.
Chidinma rose to stardom after winning the third season of MTN Project Fame West Africa in 2010.
Following the release of the music video for her “Emi Ni Baller” single, she became the first female musician to peak at number 1 on the MTV Base Official Naija Top 10 chart.
Niniola Apata, who is popularly known as Niniola, is a singer and songwriter.
She was born December 15, 1986 in Lagos State.
She graduated from the University of Lagos where she earned a Bachelor’s of Education Certificate.
Niniola hit the limelight after she finished as the third runner-up in the sixth season of project fame West Africa.
She has released many singles, including Ibadi (2014); Maradona (2017); Addicted (2020) and so on.
He was brought into the limelight after he participated in the project fame West Africa where he finished as second place on season 1 of the Voice Nigeria.
He has a 14-track album titled ‘Boo of the Booless’.
15. OC Ukeje
OC Ukeje, gained prominence after winning the Amstel Malta Box Office (AMBO) reality show after which he made his first screen appearance in 2008 in ‘White Waters’ alongside Joke Silva and Rita Dominic.
16. Kenneth Okolie
Kenneth rose to stardom after emerging winner of Mr Nigeria 2010 and second runner-up of Mr World 2010.
He has since become a Nollywood sensation.
17. Bryan Okwara
Bryan Okwara gained prominence after bagging the title of Mr Nigeria in 2007.
He also reached the semi-finals of the Mister World 2007 competition.
He has carved a niche for himself in Nollywood and the entertainment industry in general.
Limpopo crooner Kcee gained prominence after he won the first position alongside his then partner, Presh, of the first edition of the Star Quest reality TV show which was sponsored by Nigerian Breweries.
KCee now rides solo after the duo decided to pursue their music career individually.
19. Munachi Abii
Muna won the 2007 Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria (MBGN) beauty pageant.
She has over the years evolved to become a Nigerian rapper/hip-hop artiste, songwriter, television presenter, model, and actress.
20. Gideon Okeke
Gideon Okeke was on the 2006 Big Brother Nigeria reality show.
After his stay in the house, Okeke landed his first major acting role in “Tinsel,” and has since become a household name as the bold and arrogant Phillip Ade-Williams.
He has since featured in Steve Gukas’ “93 Days,” “A Place in the Stars,” “When Love Happens,” “Gidi Blues” among others.
21. Alexx Ekubo
Alexx Ekubo who emerged the first runner up at the 2010 Mr Nigeria contest, made his Nollywood debut in 2005.
However, he landed his first major role in the 2011 movie, “Ladies Men.”
He has since then featured in “Weekend Getaway,” “ATM,” “The First Lady,” and “Golddigging” among others.
22. Bayray McNwizu
Bayray McNwizu came to the limelight after winning the third Amstel Malta Box Office (AMBO) reality show.
Since her win, the actress has featured in “Hire a Man,” “Cindy Notes,” “The Visit,” “Lekki Wives 3” among others.
23. Kunle Remi
In 2010, Kunle Remi won the 7th edition of the Gulder Ultimate Search and has since then become a popular face in the Nigerian film industry.
Since his win, Remi has featured in notable movies including “Falling,” “Any Other Monday” among others.
24. Bisola Aiyeola
Participating in the 2008 edition of the MTN Project Fame helped Bisola Aiyeola kick off her acting career.
She has since featured in “Life of a Nigerian Couple,” “Skinny Girl in Transit” among others.
Her participation in the 2017 Big Brother Naija show is one that took her music and acting career to a higher level.
25. Ayoola Ayobami
After winning the 2012 Project Fame West Africa, Ayoola landed a role in the web series “Skinny Girl in Transit” as the charming Mide.
He has also featured in notable productions including “Isoken” and “Bankers NGR.”
26. Moyo Lawal
Moyo Lawal was a contestant in the Next Movie Star TV Reality Show and even though she did not win, went on to be one of the most sought-after actresses.
She started acting with her role as Chinny in the Mnet soap opera and ever since then she has starred in numerous television series such as Binta and Friends, Dancehood, Eldorado, Flatmates, Jenifa’s Diary, Tinsel and so on.
She also featured in other movies including Sound of Rain, Big gals on Campus, Judas Game, Never Love a Prince and so on.
27. Belinda Effah
Belinda Effah made her first television debut in the 2005 TV series Shallow Waters after which she took a break from the series to feature in the reality show Next Movie Star TV reality show where she finished 5th position.
She won the Most Promising Act of the Year award at the 9th Africa Movie Academy Awards.
She was once a television presenter for Sound City, a Nigerian Entertainment cable station.
However, she left the station to start her own TV show titled Lunch Break with Belinda.
28. DJ Switch
Sensational rapper Obianuju Catherine Udeh, popularly known as DJ Switch, got famous after being crowned Africa’s first X Factor winner in 2013.
After that, the beautiful mother of one has gone on to experiment into the world of music, doing collabos with hip-hop stars, P Square.
29. Beverly Osu
Beverly Osu is a Nigerian model and video vixen best known as one of the housemates on the eighth season of the reality competition television series Big Brother Africa, in 2013.
Ever since, she has done works with concept studios, clarion chukwura’s clothing line, music hit videos for the likes of “Over killing” by Djinee, “Yansh police” by Timi and Black1, “Boys are not smiling” by Terry d Rapman, “A Woman’s needs” by Praiz (mtn project fame), “OLEKU” by Ice Prince and many more.
Always ready to model, Beverly also inputs time to work for a lingerie company “FRANCIS MOSS”
30. Ivie Okujaye
The actress, producer, scriptwriter, dancer, singer and activist came into the limelight in 2009 after she participated and won the Amstel Malta Box Office (AMBO) reality TV show.
She is sometimes called little Genevieve because she resembles actress Genevieve Nnaji.
Her acting career has been widely recognized as she was awarded Best Young Actor at the 8th Africa Movie Academy Awards.