Sahel Standard Personality of the Week celebrates Legendary Lux Model, Patti Boulaye at 70

Patricia Ngozi Ebigwe known by her stage name Patti Boulaye is a British-Nigerian singer, actress and artist who was among the leading black British Entertainers in the seventies and eighties.

Born 3 May 1954 of an Igbo father and an Efik mother, she is one of nine children.

The circumstances regarding her birth was intriguing because she was born in a taxi on the way to the hospital between Asaba and Onitsha.

Her mother worked as a machinist and her father worked at a post office. They split up when she was very small which was a rarity then.

It was a very difficult period, and in a 2016 interview with Daily telegraph of London , Patti Boulaye stated “my mother had to be resourceful. She made clothes and later ran other businesses. She worked incredibly hard despite not having an education herself, and that definitely was a lesson I absorbed. 

We went from extreme poverty, where I had just rags for clothes, to wealth after my mother remarried a politician some years later. She also had a strong faith and looked after other people. With so many ups and downs in my early years, I learnt that nothing lasts forever, certainly not money.”

That politician was SG Ikoku
She survived the Nigerian civil war and came to the UK when she was 16 and accidentally got into Showbusiness.

She had come to visit her sister and one day decided to visit the wax museum Madame Tussauds. Somehow, instead of being in the queue for the exhibition, she ended up in the queue for singers auditioning for a part in the musical Hair. She had no idea she was in the wrong queue, and ended up auditioning and got the part which launched her career in musicals.

Other shows followed
Her big break came in 1978 when her agent put her name forward for the ITV classic talent hunt “New Faces” which she won. Her victory led to the release of the album “You stepped into my life”.

Back in Nigeria, she appeared in TV commercials as the face of Lux Beauty Soap, in the 1970s and Eighties, adorning the Lux Brand for 29 straight years.

In 1984, she had her own TV show. The Patti Boulaye Show on channel 4 which also aired on Nigerian Television Authority and was hugely popular.

This multi talented artist has featured in many stage productions including two gentlemen of Verona, Carmen Jones, Jesus Christ Superstar and the leading role of yum yum in The black mikado.

She has featured in over 200 television appearances and starred in films such as the music machine, hussy, and in Jab Adu’s 1977 movie Bisi daughter of the river, which played in cinemas across Nigeria for three whole years and is one of the country’s highest grossing films.

Patti Boulaye is also a philanthropist setting up the Charity Support For Africa. She has built three clinics in Nigeria which have been gifted to the local communities, Two in Cameroon administered by the Cameroon Baptist Health Services and a school in Lesotho administered by Sentebale, Prince Harry’s charity.

In 2016, Patti Boulaye became a recipient of one of Britain’s highest honours – Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE). She received her medal from then Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace.

Aside Performing, Patti boulaye is a motivational speaker, member of committee of more than 15 charities, Patron of 8 charities, visiting Teaching Felllow at Middlesex Business School for the last 12 years, Speaker and lecturer at Birmingham and Oxford Universities , Colleges and Schools, Chairman of a PLC among other endeavours.

She has a business outfit, Bipada which provides training in skills, confidence and etiquette.

Patti Boulaye is married to Stephen Komlosy. They have two children and two grandchildren.

She released her memoirs:The Faith Of A Child: The Autobiography of Patti Boulaye in 2017.

Sahel Standard salutes this Legendary Icon and wish her more years of Duty, Service and Fulfillment.

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