Hello and welcome to the first edition of Deespeakable’s Dee-Audacious; a segment where we bare our minds and tell the stories of people who refuse the status quo and choose to be different irrespective of the challenges they encounter and what the society has to offer.
This interview is quite special because our guest and I attended the same University, we have mutual friends and we also got the opportunity to work for the same Non-Governmental Organization for a couple of months.
The few months we spent working closely at the NGO, the various conversations we had about life, career, love, family and the need to fulfill the purpose of existence did prove to me that she is someone I definitely want to interview and have on Dee-Audacious segment.
Mind you, she, not your stereotypical Kogi girl. She is one who sees a life beyond ethnicity, culture, background, and environment. She is someone you would want to have in your corner rooting for you; a hype woman, cheerleader and a firm believer that everyone can excel in their individual corner without having to compete.
Growing up in the city of Lokoja as the last of six children, she describes her childhood as the typical African childhood with a little bit of fun, and of course, routine, and strict discipline as her parents, just like most African parents did not give room for the adventurous and overly independent way of life. Now a lover of adventure and spontaneity, she took her National Youth service year as an opportunity to visit about 13 states in Nigeria.
The last week at work before she officially resigned, I stole about twenty minutes of her time to have a little chit-chat with her just to have a little insight on what goes on in that mind of hers.
Meet Patience Christopher, a Biologist, a Fashion Model at Enrol Model Management, a humanitarian who has worked with quite a number of Non-Governmental Organizations across the country. Patience is also the CEO of Scents by Chenny. Join me as I converse with Patience Christopher as she shares her journey to independence, fulfillment and living her best life, even as she teaches us to be “Audacious”……….
It is not every time someone gets to grow up in their State of Origin. Whenever I come across someone who grew up in theirs, I get curious because I grew up far from mine. What was growing up in Lokoja with your family like for you? Would you describe as different from those who grew up in other States?
Growing up in Lokoja was fun for me although Lokoja is not so big. As you know, my twin and I are the last child from a family of six so we were pampered a lot and spoilt. We always got everything we needed, but it was basically a house to school routine for me and my siblings. We did not have parks, so we basically grew up indoors; the typical “omo get inside type”. My parents did not allow us to go out much, we never used to go out unnecessarily. Occasionally, our parents will allow us to attend and participate in programs organized for children/teenagers and I believe it is part of the reasons why I love my freedom as an adult.
Now that I have traveled a bit, I see growing up there as boring. They did not have what other states like Abuja have in terms of fun places. It was basically growing up there with my siblings that made it fun for me.
Being the last of six children, did you ever feel overshadowed or feel the need to make a name for yourself at any point while growing up?
I never felt that way. Thanks to my family, they had a way of refueling your confidence and pushing you to your full potentials. I have always stood out at school, church or wherever I found myself. Sometimes I get singled out and given responsibilities even when I did not feel up to it.
I always hear people say that every slim and tall girl in Nigeria wants to be a model! Though I would not know the authenticity of that, I would love to hear your modeling story. What was the drive? What was the push?
I discovered my passion for modeling back in the University at the age of 18. Apart from people complimenting me about my unwavering slim figure and my height, I have always admired top models on television, billboards, and magazines. My face literally brightens up whenever I see models and I discovered we had a lot in common in terms of body structure like you stated and I could actually do it too.
That means you were born ready! Lol, After discovering that you had a lot in common with these Models you admire, when did you take the next step to get past the point of admiration for enrolling in the Modeling Academy?
I wanted to be like the models I saw and admired, so I made my first attempt by signing up for pageantry in 2014. while I was still in the University, I contested for the Most Beautiful Girl in Keffi and I emerged as the winner.
After that, I built my confidence and started going for auditions. I got signed to GI Model Management in 2015. That was the first agent I enrolled with, they represented me and I was with them for years before leaving.
I got signed to Enrol Model Management in 2018. There I discovered that I learned everything about modeling so fast! At that point, I knew it was not just a hobby, it is something I will indulge in for a long time.
Everyone with a talent drives some form of pleasure from it, I know I do when I write and talk to people. Would you say you drive pleasure from what you do?
The love I have for modeling can not be explained through words but I will try lol. I love the glamour and style that comes with it. The runway and the studio are my happy places, it gives me a sense of purpose and so much joy. I love how it makes me feel!
From 2018 of taking a step to pursuing your modeling career to 2020, how has the modeling journey been so far?
My modeling journey has been a beautiful one I must say. It has been fun; especially with the traveling and the designers, I have been opportune to work with.It has been amazing and I have made new friends and networked a lot. So like I said, it has been really amazing.
Asides being a Fashion and Runway Model, I see that you are also a passionate businesswoman. You do not joke with your Perfumes. What inspired you to start up your own business?
I wanted to start my business due to my love for financial independence. Being a businesswoman has sincerely made a positive impact in my life, I have learned a lot in this journey. I used to be someone who procrastinated a lot, I was mostly indoors, I never used to really socialize with people or make new friends. I glad to say that I have grown in several areas of my life as a result of starting my business.
How do you find a balance? Between walking the runway, marketing your perfumes, selling and delivering them? Knowing that these are things you are passionate about…
To be honest combining work, business and my passion are not as easy as it seems but it is achievable. The first period was very draining but I had to remind myself that I actually enjoy all I do and dropping one for the other was not an option, so I had to learn how to balance them by creating time for each of them.Luckily, my perfumes are what I can market in the middle of a photo shoot. I also have delivery personnel who does all the running around, so I usually do not have to stress so much.
You mentioned traveling to about 13 states in Nigeria during your service year, that is quite something, the long hours on the road and every other stress that comes with road trips. Why do you find adventures interesting despite all these?
It excites me! (laughs) It gives me a sense of purpose and fulfillment.
I mean, what is life without excitement and fulfillment? I have a favorite quote that says “before you die, you live”. There is no living without adventures.Adventure to me is living, it is life itself.
Visiting these states has taught me to appreciate other cultures. It is easy to question and judge cultures that are different than yours. Traveling or living somewhere completely different gives you a new perspective that’s different from just hearing or reading about it.
Did you ever get to a point where you almost gave up on your dreams?
Yes! That was during my service year. I served in a remote village, it took a whole year out of my modeling career and that almost made me quit.At the end of the day, my passion for it gave me a reason to get back into it.
What inspires you to push harder every day you wake up? I would love to believe that passion is one aspect of it…
I have a lot of inspirations but my Mother is a major part of my inspirations. She’s the strongest woman I know. This takes me back to how I balance passion and business. My mum works 8 to 4 everyday and she has multiple businesses. She has been like that even before I was born. So let’s just say I took after her. She’s my inspiration!
You recently resigned from your job to focus on other things you have a passion for, what point would you say you are in life right now?
I am very proud of how far I have come. I have my own place, my business, my career, cater for myself and I think that is quite an achievement for a girl my age. So I can say I’m proud of myself and I know there’s more to come.
At this point, I honestly want to live my best life, I want to acquire more skills, I genuinely want to be the best version of myself. I do not want to be basic or stagnant, I do not want to be stuck in a particular routine. I do not like routine, I want to be better.
As someone who is bold enough to take certain steps despite the uncertainties, what do you think about youths and the opportunities available for them in Nigeria?
There are opportunities available for youth. We need to discover our potential. I noticed something we have been doing wrong. It is how we settle; we settle for less when there is so much more that we can achieve.We need to open up our minds and explore so we can be the best version of ourselves without fear.Never settle for less. There is so much more than you can be and do if you put your mind to it.That was a wrap of the chat I had with Patience Christopher and I must say that I admire her courage and strength. She is indeed one of the Dee-Audacious people you will ever come across. I wish her all the best with life, modeling, and Scents by Chenny.
You can keep up with her adventurous life and story on Instagram @patiencechristopher_ and @scentsbychenny.
Do you think your story is Audacious enough to share? Do send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org