XX: Who is Patrice Francois? Tell us about yourself!
PATRICE FRANCOIS: I’m a motivated individual, I’m very optimistic and believe that anything is possible. I don’t believe in excuses. I have had many challenges, especially when you migrate to a foreign country, it’s traumatic sometimes but I continue to push forward. Through it all I’m proud to say that I have two Master’s Degrees, one in Business Administration and the other in Human Resources, and I recently received a certificate in Studio Production and I’m presently enrolled in a course for Field Production
People try to classify me as a comedian but I’m far from it, I would rather the word entertainer. People always said I was crazy (because I think outside of the box, what they fail to realize it that you can’t put me in a box), but I like to point out that it have a lot of people in history that many called crazy and they changed the world and left a legacy.
XX: When did you leave Trinidad and what do you miss most about living in the Caribbean?
PF: I’m originally from Trinidad and Tobago and I migrated in my late teens. The main things I miss about Trinidad and Tobago are my family and the sunshine. When I think back of growing up in Trinidad I think about peace and calm. I come from a very supportive family and I can thank my mom, Christine, and dad, Patrick, for my humour.
XX: How have your Caribbean roots made you who you are today?
PF: My T&T roots have made a huge impact on the person I am today – mainly in the way that I have two different perspectives on life now.
XX: Ok, let’s talk a little bit about your work.. tell us about the Mss Francois show.
PF: The Mss Francois Show was inspired by my own personal frustration with looking for my soulmate. Going through so many failed relationships and having to start over can be draining. Thinking you have finally found that person and it turns out he’s been unfaithful or wasn’t ready to commit or he’s not mature enough to handle a real woman and get intimidated by her strong commitment to success. But whenever a relationship ends, one is left heartbroken and they feel lonely and helpless.
Generally, women tend to talk to other women because we are seeking comfort or closure, and many times these other women are in worse predicaments which only continues to feed the negative emotions. I realize that we all go through these things and yes, while we have to grieve, we tend to stay down for too long. I decided that if we just laugh a little at ourselves and situations, we will come to realize it’s not that bad.
And so The Mss Francois Show was born – a talk show that would infuse some comedy in a frustrating situation. It’s part Carol Burnett, part Steve Harvey, part Oprah Winfrey. It focuses on the many issues women face when dating and searching for their life partners.
XX: How did you get into hosting a talk show in the first place?
PF: I never had a goal to have my own TV talk show. In February 2018, the co-founder of AIMHIGH Empowerment Institute and I were talking, and I felt like I was supposed to be doing something life-changing, and I wasn’t. He asked me what I would do if I could do anything without worrying about money, and I jokingly said I’d have my own TV show. He led me to the course about studio production, which offered us the opportunity to produce our own shows.
I reached out to a friend who’d just come out of a bad marriage, who told her story on-camera for my class project. I always believe if you do anything, no matter how small, you do it 120%, and a few months later, I submitted that project as a pilot and it was accepted. That first episode turned out to be episode 1, The Other Woman.
XX: The show is the fusion of reality and comedy, why did you think this was important for the structure of the show?
PF: My show is multi-dimensional, just like me. Sometimes the show’s primary focus is on relationships, sometimes I may just have someone tell their story. The first 5 minutes of the show is a guest, who could be a comedian or musical entertainer, but they must be focused on the topic and make you smirk, smile or laugh. I have found that the only two ways to keep people’s attention, and that is to make them laugh or cry. I choose laughter.
XX: Who would you love to interview on coming episodes of the Mss Francois Show?
PF: My ideal interview would be to choose celebrities from my home country first – so women like Nailah Blackman and Patrice Roberts. I would love to sit down with Steve Harvey, Ellen, Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey.
XX: What does it mean to you to be a Trinbagonian? How does your identity help your work?
PF: Being Trinbagonian makes my show unique. My accent makes it unique, my perspective makes it unique. Island girls add flavour and spice to everything, and I believe that’s what I’m giving my viewers every time they tune into an episode.
XX: What’s next for Patrice?
PF: I have a long list of goals, including dreams to be a guest on shows like Steve Harvey and Ellen, to be mentored by Tyler Perry, to produce my own show on Oprah’s network, to speak at a TEDx talk, finish writing a book, get published in Black Enterprise magazine, and of course, hopefully have a husband and kids something in there.
XX: Where can we see the show?
PF: We release the show on YouTube, The Mss Francois Show, twice a month, on the first and third Friday of every month. It’s also available through the GT Network throughout the Caribbean, every Wednesday at 4:30pm, or available to stream on Bronxnet.org, every Thursday at 9:30pm.