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Phina Oruche's Biography

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Phina Oruche was born on 31 August 1972.

Her family heralds from Nigeria but Phina Oruche was brought up in Toxteth in Liverpool by her mother Christine after her father walked out when she was three.

Phina Oruche told The Mirror:

"I was born on my dad's birthday and my middle name means 'Daddy's girl' in Nigerian ... when I was 24 we went to Nigeria to find him. We tracked him down to a hospital but my mum couldn't go through with it. He'd been abusive to her..."

As well as being a talented student, Phina Oruche was selected to go as a gymnast in the pre-Olympic qualifying team.

Phina Oruche started modelling and appeared in ID and The Face before going to the States. In New York, Phina Oruche became the face of Gap for five seasons.

However, in an interview with War Cry, Phina Oruche talks about her mixed feelings about modelling: "It's brutal - you're loved when you're popular and dropped when you're not."

Phina Oruche then went into acting and got parts in NYPD Blue, Saved by the Bell, Nip/Tuck, Charmed, She Spies, Diagnosis Murder, Charmed and Buffy the Vampire Slayer - in which she played Olivia (Giles's girlfriend).

In the UK, however, it was with her role as Liberty Baker in Footballers' Wives for which Phina came to prominence.

Phina Oruche raised vital funds and awareness for The Anthony Nolan Trust when she ran the 2006 London Marathon.

Phina Oruche was the fourth person to be voted out of the jungle in I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here in 2006.

In the summer of 2007, Phina Oruche married Stefano Mariani.

In April 2008, a heavily pregnant Phina Oruche had a stint in the booth on The Wright Stuff.

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