How many celebs do you know who were born in Africa? Probably not enough! It turns out that there are actually so many actresses, models, singers, and personalities that have come out of this massive continent. It’s a shame that we don’t have more exposure on them in the popular media. Anyway, our list will hopefully shed some more light on these stars, because each one of them is not only talented and successful, but very good looking as well. We have stars from a variety of countries, such as South Africa, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. So if you are looking for a new taken on celebrity inspiration, then this is the right list to read!
Whether you want to swoon and sway to their awesome rhythmic beats, or admire their body positivity and inner strength, or even support one of their humanitarian causes, these stars will have you feel empowered and inspired. They have worked with some very famous people in Hollywood (and “Nollywood”) and they have been the recipients of countless awards for their television and film work, their singing, and their acting. You may actually recognize a fair number of these ladies; they have appeared on ABC, NBC, ABC Family, and in popular fashion magazines.
So, it is time to read up on your African babes and hotties. Here they are!
20. Candice Swanepoel
This 27-year-old South African beauty is working as a Victoria’s Secret Angel. She made it to the Forbes list of top-earning models in 2012. At 5-foot-10, she was swept up by IMG Models, Why Not Model Management, and Modelwerk. She recently gave some advice to those seeking to get into the modeling industry (sort of): the best place to get discovered for a modeling career is in the mall. Wow, thanks for the stellar advice, Candice. The model made headlines for her ensemble: a baggy sweater dress and knee-high gray boots. Sure, she’s cute, but if her going on The Today Show is what is making the daily news, then we really need to overhaul this country.
19. Kandyse McClure
Born in South Africa, Kandyse McClure is actually Canadian by blood. She was a star on Battlestar Galactica, where she played Anastasia Dualla. She also can be found on the Netflix program Hemlock Grove. Kandyse was born in Durban, South Africa, but went to school in Canada, graduating from West Vancouver Secondary School. She first appeared on the silver screen in 1999 and her repertoire includes In a Class of His Own, Higher Ground, Just Deal, Jeremiah, and Persons Unknown, among several others. She also works for CARE Canada, a non-profit organization that fights poverty in developing parts of the country.
18. Lily Corazon
Lily Corazon is a force to be reckoned with. The Kenyan model was featured in a photoshoot for BuoArt, a revered fashion and beauty magazine. She hopes to redefine what beauty means and is totally unafraid to flaunt her curves. She is supremely well-endowed, and her backside could definitely rival that of Jennifer Lopez. Lily is also always willing to speak up about her work and how perceptions of beauty need to change. And get this: she is a trained lawyer, too! Sexy and smart? Sounds like a win-win to us! Lily can rock lingerie, swimsuits, evening gowns, a just some casual jeans and T-shirt.
17. Ella Thomas
Born in Eritrea, Ella Thomas is the daughter of an Eritrean woman and a U.S. Air Force Officer. She spent her youth traveling back and forth between her home and Germany, but eventually civil war forced her family to seek safety elsewhere, so they moved to Kindsbach, where Ella was educated. This resulted in Ella learning not only German, but English, French, and Tigrinya (her mother’s native language.) It soon became apparent that Ella had a love for the arts, especially theater. During her teen years, the family moved to the United States, and it was there that Ella was found by a modeling scout. After high school, she pursued modeling full time, and spent the majority of the beginning of her career in New York and Paris.
16. Roxane Hayward
Actress. Model. Singer. Heck, she even blogs, too. Roxanne Hayward is one hot lady and multi-talented. As far as her acting career is concerned, she has worked for Universal Pictures, NBC, and various companies in both South Africa and the United Kingdom. She ventured onto the modeling scene in 2009 and is an international fashionista, showing in Cape Town, London, and various multinational commercials. Her debut album was her next undertaking in 2010, in which she collaborated with DJ Lovepod, another South African celeb. While working, she began filming for Leonardo on CBBC. Will this girl ever stop? Probably not any time soon!
15. Michelle Van Der Water
Michelle van der Water was born in Cape Town, South Africa and is best known for her role on the hit ABC television drama Castle, where she plays Marie Marcado. In the series, Michelle’s character runs into quite a lot of dead ends and trouble, but she has managed to survive so far. Her character has been confronted with attempted rape and assault, violence and back-street fighting, and loads of mystery and drama. Since Michelle’s character is still alive, we hope to see her more, and as Michelle’s acting career continues to roll along, we should be seeing her more frequently.
14. Liya Kebede
Liya Kebede is an Ethiopian woman who embodies independence, strength, and empowerment. She works as a model, women’s health activist, clothing designer, and actress. She was even named by Forbes as one of the highest-paid models in the world in 2007. She also made waves and inspired countless others with her three appearances on the cover of U.S. Vogue magazine. Liya is very passionate about women’s health, especially mothers, and she advocates for them through her ambassadorship in WHO. She serves as Ambassador for Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health, and she’s been doing that she the past decade. The 37-year-old has modeled for Gucci, Gap, Yves Saint-Lauren, Louis Vuitton, and Dolce & Gabbana, among others.
13. Yvonne Nelson
Here she comes, Miss Ghana! Oh at least she participated in the Miss Ghana contest. Yvonne Nelson is a gorgeous Ghanaian actress, film producer, model, and entrepreneur. A pretty hefty resume for such a young woman. She was born in Accra and grew up in Cape Coast. She studied Human Resource Management in college and then entered the 2005 Miss Ghana competition, where she scored major brownie points for her songwriting skills. She performed her rap and won for Best Talent. She worked as a cover girl for Maxim Cosmetics for two years and then appeared on the television show Fortune Island. That led to her success in “Nollywood” and her awards, such as the Joy Fm Nite Stars Best Actress, Face of Ghana’s Best Actress, and Africa’s Best Actress.
12. Agbani Darego
Agbani Darego truly looks like a dream. She was born in Abonnema, Rivers State in Nigeria and is an accomplished model and beauty queen. She also holds the title of the first Sub-Saharan African to be crowned Miss World. One of eight children, she has faced hardships, such as her mother’s breast cancer diagnosis and a very conservative father. Besides winning beauty pageants, she has also judged them. She also graced the glossy pages of Marie Claire, Elle, Allure, Cosmopolitan, Essence, and others. Her modeling work also includes work with such iconic clothing lines as Oscar de la Renta, Tommy Hilfiger, and Ralph Lauren.
11. Charlize Theron
We may know Charlize Theron from her work in the United States, but the actress was actually born in South Africa. She is not only an actress, but has worked as a model and producer as well. The 40-year-old is making middle age look super-sexy! Some of her most famous film work has included Hancock, The Italian Job, Mad Max: Fury Road, and The Devil’s Advocate, among others. As for her awards, those are mighty and many: Academy Awards, Silver Bear Award, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild Award…the list goes on. It actually wasn’t until 2007 that Charlize officially became a citizen of the United States; now she holds dual citizenship (U.S. and South Africa.) While she has two kids, she is currently not in a romantic relationship.
Museba was born in Abidjan and she currently works as a recording artist and singer. Her stage name is Museba, which means “trumpet” in the dialect of Dulala. Her first recording album, Nayo Slowly, was released in 2012. She then released a single that became super popular, called Bom Bom Bom, which has loads of African-inspired melodies and rhythms. Her music toes the line between dance and Afro-fusion, and is a popular choice for dance parties and night clubs. Some countries that regularly play her music include Cameroon, France, and Nigeria, among others. She is talented, inspiring, sultry, and beautiful.
9. Juliet Ibrahim
Juliet Ibrahim has a beautiful name and a gorgeous appearance. The actress is from Ghana and looks like a real-life exotic princess. Her dark eyes, thick brows, and full soft lips are absolutely stunning. She made news recently for her divorce from hubby Kwadwo Safo. Apparently, he was cheating on Juliet for another lady. Juliet is rumored to have married Safo merely as a result of her impending pregnancy, but the starlet has not addressed that. She did say that her marriage was a mistake. Now she is said to be dating IK Ogbonna, a model and actor from Nigeria.
8. Millen Magese
Millen Magese is a gorgeous and strong woman, but the supermodel has also been living with pain and discomfort. She struggles with Endometriosis, a gynecological illness that can cause infertility. She was diagnosed at the young age of 25, but she has not let that stop her from pursuing her dreams. Born in Tanzania, Millen has modeled and continued to put on a brave face, even when she had to take time off to recover from complications and procedures to combat the disease. She is a fighter and a role model for women not only in Tanzania, but across the globe.
7. Zainab Sheriff
Not only a beautiful name, but an attractive and accomplished woman as well! Zainab Sheriff is a model from Sierra Leone who is now working out of Istanbul, Turkey. She has a birth date that is not quite certain (might be July 22 or maybe August 23,) but that doesn’t matter. She is humble, strong, and determined. She has lots of love for her home country, and counts the beauty pageants, the support, and the love as great memories that helped her in the career. Her favorite part about modeling is working the runway, which she has no problem doing, might we add. Her high-fashion and couture looks are stunning and she is a fresh face that adds diversity and allure to the fashion shows!
6. Lola Monroe
Lola Monroe seems to have it all: stunning good looks, a lovely skin tone, and enough talent to fill three lifetimes. This Ethiopian sweetheart is a model, actress, and rapper. She was born in Addis Ababa to an Ethiopian mother and a Trinidadian father. Lola was born in her mother’s native country, but grew up in Washington, D.C. in the United States. At the young age of 12, she was already starting to hone her craft for rhyming and poetry. She started acting, with her first appearance in Queen of Media, the Wendy Williams documentary-movie. Lola’s given name is actually Fershgenet Melaku; the “Monroe” part of her name is a reference to Marilyn Monroe. Okay, so maybe a bit immodest and self-righteous, but that’s okay.
5. Stephanie Okereke-Linus
Forgive us if we’re wrong, but Stephanie Okereke-Linus looks a bit like Serena Williams. And that, our friends, is a major compliment! Stephanie was born in Imo State, Nigeria and have seven siblings. She graduated from the University of Calabar with a dual degree in English and Literary Studies. Now, she is working as an actress, film director, and a model. She won the 2003 Reel Award for Best Actress and was named the Best Actress in 2006 with the Afro Hollywood Award. Even the Nigerian government had to bestow her with some love; she received a National Honor by membership of the Order of the Federal Republic.
4. Yvonne Okoro
Yvonne Okoro shows us the best of both worlds: The Ghananian and Nigerians beauty is not only gorgeous, but multi-talented. She works as an actress and has studied not only drama, but marketing as well. Yvonne is very proud of her African heritage and has achieved fame as one of the most popular acting women in Ghana. She has won several awards, including the Best Actress Award at the 2010 Ghana Movie Awards; four Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards, and a Distinguished Achievement Award at the 2010 Nigeria Excellence Awards. Her acting gigs include Royal Battle, Blood is Thick, The President’s Daughter, Queen of Dreams, Forbidden City, I Broke My Heart, and Crime, among others.
3. Sasha Pieterse
Aw, she is so young and cute. We could put her on a cupcake! Sasha Pieterse is a South African beauty who was born in Johannesburg. She was the youngest cast member on the hit show Pretty Little Liars, at the age of 12. She also appeared in Geek Charming, G.B.F; and has modeled for BELLO magazine and TeenProm magazine. You have probably seen her while out and about without even noticing it; her face graces billboards for SuperCuts hair salons. Her music career includes country-rock tunes such as “This Country is Bad Ass” and “I Can’t Fix You.” Expect to see and hear more from her!
2. Omotola Jalade Ekeinde
This Nigerian singer, philanthropist, actress, and model was born in Lagos and made her “Nollywood” debut in 1995. And she is still going strong! Just look at her, Number Two on our list. Omotola Jalade Ekeinde is of Ondo descent, and has acted in a whopping 300 productions. Her musical abilities have also not gone unnoticed, and she was named Best Actress by Screen Nation for her work in African Magic. She also smashed the record books by being the first African celeb to get over one million “likes” on Facebook. Let’s not forget her philanthropy; she works on the same wavelength as such powerful figures as Kate Middleton, Michelle Obama, and Beyoncé. Time magazine even named for one of the most 100 influential people.
1. Minki van der Westhuizen
Our Number One spot belongs to Minki van der Westhuizen. A long name, but also a lengthy amount of amazingness. This girl was born in Cape Town, South Africa, and at 30 years of age, she has solidified herself as a top international model who began her high-fashion career at 16 years old. She has appeared on countless magazine covers all over the world, including Shape and Finesse. She has also appeared in the film Big Fellas and done some television presenting/hosting work. She and her hubby, Ernst Joubert, recently welcomed into the world a brand new baby, daughter Katerien.