Yes, I did the moves. Yes, I sang the songs and yes I had the dungarees. But I was not the only rowdy seven-year-old who had became fanatically obsessed with a three piece girl band who managed to take the nation by storm with their upbeat, fun loving bubble gum pop and infectious personalities.
Every young girl wanted to be the long lost fourth member of platinum selling girl group Cleopatra and join Yonah, Cleo and Zainam Higgins around the UK, Europe and America to showcase their new-found stardom.
The hype around Cleopatra started way back in 1998 and quickly spread nationally. The trio managed to bag themselves three top 10 singles including Life Aint Easy, a cover of The Jackson Five hit I Want You Back and of course everyone’s favourite, Cleopatra’s Theme.
In an exclusive interview with Pappzd, Zainam Higgins revealed how the idea of Cleopatra came about:
Cleopatra wasn’t a creation it was just who we were, we used to perform and sing everywhere and it just so happened that we got signed.
We never really went out to get a record label it just happened for us. We never would’ve imagined that our success would get to that level.
The girls then went on to have their own TV show on CITV, Comin’ Atcha and In the House which was based around their antics on tour and at home.
As their fame rose in the UK the US soon caught on and the trio’s success continued to grow. Being signed to Madonna’s record label Marverick obviously had its perks. In the US the girls performed at the 11th annual Nickelodeon Kid’s Choice Awards, starred in their very own Disney Channel special Cleopatra on Tour and in 2000 they were the faces of American cosmetic giant Cover Girl. Cue the fake American accents!
Good Things Come to an End
Just like legendary trios Destiny’s Child and TLC, Cleopatra’s singing career as a band came to an end after the failure of their second album Steppin’ was never released. It was allegedly because of the label’s poor promotion of the band’s single Come and Get Me.
Rumours also claimed that their label wanted Cleo to leave the band and go solo (which didn’t go down to well with the girls) leading them to leave Maverick.
Flop Pop Goes The Band
As an artist making a comeback to the charts after you’ve been away from the scene can either go well ie Take That or just flop i.e. Blue. So when the sisters decided to revamp their career with a whole new sound and image it was bound to win back the hearts of many Cleopatra fans across the world, right? Not.
In 2009, the girls appeared on Living TV’s Pop Goes The Band. The show set out to bring back and revive former bands by giving them a new look by undergoing makeovers. For the first time, Cleopatra fans got to see a whole lot of pouting, cleavage and leg. Despite their revamp, the girls came to the realisation that though a sexy new image was a winning idea, the wrong management could lead to their downfall.
The people who we were working with at the time didn’t know what the heck they were doing. I think we just took ourselves on with the wrong team.
Becoming Yummy Mummies
Zainam told us how motherhood had taken priority in the girls’ lives. For example, she’s a mother to one-year-old daughter. Sydney-Robyn. Cleo was the first to swap the mic for a baby bottle back in 2001 with her first child Chika Li Chie. She then gave birth to son Taylor James. Her baby dad is schmokin’ hot X-factor reject Marlon Mckenzie.
Myself and Yonah are the last two to add to the family Cleo has two children her daughter is eleven this year and her son is six.
I’ve just moved back from Essex to Manchester to be with the family. I think its better to have them all grow up together the way me and my sister did, it’s lovely
Not one to shy from the limelight, lead singer Cleo also tried to make a name for herself after the days of Cleopatra. In an interview with Dirty Media back in 2009, Cleo revealed that she had penned a few songs that were being pushed for the likes of Britney Spears, Leona Lewis and Alexandra Burke.
Yonah, the youngest of the three sisters has kept the lowest profile since the band stopped making hits but still managed to keep in touch with her musical side.
In 2008 Yonah featured on the track Keep on Searching with Mancunian rapper Zinc Larynx as well as getting a sneaky boob lift with big sister Cleo as part of her makeover on Living TV’s Pop Goes the Band. It’s known that Yonah also turned her talent to teaching dance and cheerleading to children from deprived areas.
For big sister Zainam it’s been non-stop working and travelling for the new mum:
I’ve been travelling a lot performing. I’m really into the dance scene and I’m mostly a writer now at the moment.
I’m a mum now and I have different ideas about what I want to do in life
- Zainam Higgins casually modelling on a boat
As well having a publishing deal with Notting Hill Music, Zainam went on to reveal how she would definitely say yes if she was asked to become a judge on The X Factor and how she wouldn’t turn down a steamy photo shoot… well as long as her puppies aren’t on show:
I would never do topless modelling as in terms of showing the puppies but I’d definitely do lingerie or swimwear. I’m comfortable with my body to know what I’d want to do with it.
It feels like only yesterday that they were running around in their dungarees and wearing swimming goggles on top of box braids was the latest swag. Now Yonah, Zainam and Cleo have moved on from their cutise, innocent Cleopatra days. It feels almost wrong to give into the strong, sexy and independent personas they have today.
Well to Pappzd they’ll always be the same old Cleopatra *sings Cleopatra Comin’ Atcha at the top of voice*