Best known for her role as supermodel Liberty Baker in ITV1 drama Footballers’ Wives, Phina Oruche, now in her 40s, has started to question who she really is.
The model and actress has been busy, “I’m a busy person; that’s the way I roll”, she quipped as TNT managed to catch her mid-thought; preparing for her upcoming one woman show – Identity Crisis.
The play, written at the end of her Masters degree is based upon her own life story, although it explores identity struggles that are common to all of us.
“I wanted to talk about black representation within media, but more precisely the broader picture. I wanted to get the focus off myself and look at the broader picture of what’s gone on”, she told TNT.
The Liverpudlian admits that “There’s a lot that’s been said; Jada Pinkett had her say, Lenny Henry has had his say” about the issue with black representation in the film and TV industry. The news of her play is timely, as it follows the ongoing Oscars’ diversity row which has dominated the headlines in recent weeks.
Phina said “I feel as though when I first spoke up about this, it was dangerous to complain racially, you have to have power to do so, incase you get black listed. . The only way I can speak about it again, is in this play. In 2013, I made a statement about local radio stations being segregated like black shows and white shows. I found out that the men that say it [speak up] get away with more and the women that say it, don’t”.
Having starred in Hollyoaks, had her own radio show at BBC for a number of years, got a Masters degree in Media, become a wife and mother, Phina is now “embarking on this small tour in the North West with a hope to get to Edinburgh”.
Running from 11 April to 23 June, the play begins with the real life story of the sudden death of Phina’s 19-year-old niece in her house in 2011 and the ensuing press intrusion.
Phina said: “After years of identity struggles, writing this show has given me the freedom to play characters I would never get cast as.
“All of my characters are vulnerable, flawed and struggling with who they are and this makes them very human. In 20 years of modelling and acting, and especially my last year in the states, I don’t think I ever played a human being as I played vampires, witches and entities.
“Many of my characters are working class and are portraying voices and experiences that are often absent on stage and screen”.
For more information on upcoming dates: www.phinaoruche.com
TNT Theatre Yasin Chinembiri