These 9 Ladies Are the Most Rugged Actresses in Nollywood (Photos)

Nollywood films have gone a long way in affecting the image and perceptions of many of its actresses. The roles played by some of these actresses have established them as the rugged girls in Nollywood.

While it is said that some actors/actresses select roles, because they don’t want to be seen in a bad light, these other ladies don’t seem to care about the kind of roles that come their way. Many of them have taken up really explicit roles in movies – roles that threw them into the merciless jaws of controversy.

And for some of them, it doesn’t end in movies, as their private lives are also enmeshed in bad press and negative stereotypes.

In this article, we are going to look at 9 of these ladies whom I called ‘the most rugged actresses in Nollywood’. And I hope you have fun as we take a look into the crazy sides of these actresses.


When it comes to the subject of the most rugged actresses in Nollywood, the person that probably tops the list is the one and only Tonto Dikeh, who some time ago asked to be addressed as King Tonto.

Everything about Tonto Dikeh has an undertone of controversy, and people say that is the primary reason that she has not been able to clinch endorsement deals like most of her counterparts. But she doesn’t seem to even care about it.

For those of us who are ardent followers of Nollywood, we have watched Tonto Dikeh transform from the attractive and innocent-looking young actress into a phenomenal figure in the Nigerian entertainment scene.

From taking up really provocative roles in films, as was seen in the film “Dirty Secret” to being caught smoking.

Even her tattoos have been subjects of major discussions on news media across Nigeria, as she has well over 50 tattoos on her body. She said that she’s a lover of tattoos.

Is it that controversies seem to be following her everywhere she goes, or she just chose to be rugged? Her failed marriage and her unusual friendships have not helped in revamping her already sinking image.

But truth be told, her ruggedness contributed immensely to the woman that she is today. There is a popular saying that controversy sells fast.

And it was really the engine room of her rise to stardom. Because millions of people seem to be enjoying the ruggedness she displays in films and on social media.


Well, the only reason that Mercy Johnson’s name is not sitting at the top of this list is that since her marriage to Prince Okojie she clearly turned a new leaf.

Ever since her emergence on the mainstream of Nollywood more than a decade ago, Mercy Johnson immediately grew to establish a reputation that at a point became quite unsettling.

We will never forget in a hurry her roles in the movies – Shakira and Heart of Men. The controversies that trailed those movies were enough to last any celebrity a lifetime.

Blessed with the right figure, she came into the industry with those endowments, and she was unapologetic when it came to flaunting them in films and on red carpets. And even smoking in films was also a regular thing for her.

Whatever role a producer could come up with, just call on Mercy Johnson, and she would do justice to the role. She was a sort of executioner when it came to role interpretation in movies. She could act anything!

But marriage seems to have changed so much about her, and many of her fans miss the old her, which was rugged and daring. But she still remains one of the most rugged ladies in Nollywood.


The beauty queen herself. Right from her days as a model for Delta Soap, Angela was able to work herself up the ladder to the very top of the entertainment world in Nigeria.

She seems not to care about what anyone thinks or says about her, as she does exactly what pleases her. She has also been caught smoking on several occasions, and she owes no one apology for it.

Her enthusiasm and strength of character are a few of the characteristics that stand her out. Perhaps, that is one of the reasons she is mostly given tough roles in movies.


People see her as the new generation version of Mercy Johnson, the one who took up the mantle of ruggedness from where Mercy Johnson kept it.

Destiny Etiko is a whole new vibe on her own, and has continued to stir up the hornets’ nest for some time now. People say that her striking figure is one the vehicles that drove her to the top. Well, I don’t know what to say about that, but what I know is that she is really blessed with the right figure.

She knows it herself, that’s why she is always quick to flaunt it in films and on social media. Even most of her roles vividly hint of her ruggedness. Smoking, handling guns, flirting, fighting, drinking, are usual things you see her do in movies.

She is easily one of the most rugged actresses in Nollywood.


Who doesn’t know Shan George? Before going off the radar, Shan George was one of the most rugged actresses the industry could boast of. She was mainly known for tough roles, and she interpreted each of them perfectly well as they came.

Smoking in movies was a usual thing for her, and there were also reports of her smoking in real life. But those tough roles endeared her to millions of movie lovers in and outside Nigeria.

Even though we don’t see much of her in movies these days, the image she created for herself still remains evergreen on our minds.


I don’t think anyone would have the guts to compile a list of most rugged actresses in Nollywood without including Anita Joseph’s name. She has been serving us hot, and at the same time having fun while doing so.

Even the kind of roles Anita Joseph took up in movies only helped to cement her reputation as one of the most rugged actresses in Nollywood.

Smoking in movies, uploading provocative photos online, and a few scandals here and there, did not do her image good at all. But it seemed those are the kinds of stuff she wanted her fans to see, and many of them actually appeared as publicity gimmicks.

But today here she is – at the very top of her game. Widely regarded as one of the most rugged ladies in the industry, and she has been cashing out on that.


The problem here is that you don’t know which is more famous between Cossy herself and her b**bs. The way she displays them on social media and on red carpets have got a lot of tongues wagging about her.

Even when you see her in movies, it’s still a case of a rugged girl doing her own things. And the press has also been savage on her, but that seems totally okay by her, because she has never done anything to make people see her in a different way.


Well, the vicissitudes of life seem to have changed so many things about Ini Edo. From the rugged and sassy Ini Edo that we all knew her to be in movies, she has transformed in recent years into a bankable ambassador for several brands, with a demeanor that speaks of calmness and responsibility.

But even though the dramatic change has come in these past years, we can’t deny the fact that she is one of the most rugged actresses we have in Nigeria.

We still look at some of her old movies and wince, and remember her for those roles.


Some of us are still trying to figure out the period that Uche Ogbodo changed right before our very eyes from the enthusiastic decent actress into one of the most rugged in the industry.

From smoking, going topless, lashing out at other celebrities with reckless abandon, to not giving a hoot about what anyone thinks or writes about her.

Now, in my own opinion, these 9 ladies here remain the most rugged actresses in Nollywood. Who among them is your favorite actress, and which films do you remember them for?

And is there any other rugged actress you feel should be on the list? Let us know in the comments section. Also like and share the article so that others can benefit too.

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