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"I want other women to feel good"

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If the Fifties were all about Marilyn Monroe, the Sixties Twiggy and the Eighties Madonna, then the person who guided us from the late noughties to a new millennium and stole the nation’s hearts in the process was a certain Cheryl Cole.

Do you remember when you first got into make-up?

Oh god, when I was a teenager I used to watch music videos and then try and recreate the hair and makeup but it was always disastrous. I was never very good at applying my own make-up; I’d have eyeliner smeared all over the place. But you know what’s funny I always loved big bouffanty hair, even then, but because I didn’t know how to get it properly, I’d tie it up in a bobble, push it back so it created a quiff, then I’d put crocodile clips underneath it. Hair by Cheryl. I loved it.

Were you confident growing up?

I was quite a quiet kid. A bit shy. Ever since I was three, just get me in a frilly dress, spray my hair and put me on stage and I’m away. I don’t know whether it’s being fourth in line and saying, ‘look at me I can kick my leg high and do jazz hands’. I was the entertainer of the family, but I was never ever like that in everyday life. In fact I was very unconfident when I was younger. In my looks, in everything. Then you go through that stage when you’re turning from a young teenager into a young woman.

You feel gross, your features don’t fit. If I had have know what I’d have known now it would have been very different.

When did fashion start to make sense to you?

About 3 years ago, I started to realise if you wear a pair of high heels you feel more womanly. It was a total penny drop moment. I’d argue with the stylist and the girls to wear trainers all the time. I only developed all those ‘womanly’ things in the past three years; Shoes, handbags, I’d snap me neck.

You always look exceptionally polished now though

It something that you learn. Especially being in this industry. I’m always with amazing people who do my make-up and hair, then when I go home, I’m like, ‘well she did it like this’, and try and copy what I’ve just seen someone doing. I’m very fortunate, I’m in it. I think women put too much pressure on themselves to look like that girl on TV, when actually if you look five years ago on TV, I didn’t look like that.

I was never very good at applying my own make-up; I’d have eyeliner smeared all over the place

How do you combat it if any old insecurities do kick in?

I don’t know if you ever really do. I’ve got this theory that when you hit your 30s you become you forever. I always look at women in their 30s and they’re just them, they know exactly who they are and what suits them. Again, I’m always looking at myself in pictures, so I know and I learn.

What do you see when you look in the mirror?

Big hair. Plump lips. I’m not critical, other people criticise me a lot, so I let them do that. I am what I am now. I’m at that point where I hate when other women pull themselves apart. I just want other women to feel good about themselves. That’s 100% come with age, it’s hard to look at yourself as a teenager. I just don’t think negatively now.

You must have one fail safe feel good tip…

Well you always feel good once you’ve sprayed your hair. The higher the hair the closer to heaven. I would rather have big hair and no make-up on than make-up and flat hair. All the way.

Do you remember what you wore on your first <Popstars> audition?

Yes. I. Can (cringes). I got a loan from the guy that comes round your house, to get myself something – some hairspray, make up and outfit. It was the latest thing from River Island. It was the top everyone wanted. But please don’t print a picture of that. Please.

Does exercise help your stress levels?

I haven’t got time. But I love dancing. And I do full on performances, so it’s like a workout. I wish I could say I went to the gym and bashed it all out, but it’s more like eating hobnobs in front of the telly.

And what’s your absolute must have product now?

My mascara. But I just love new products. I’m always trying new things. It’s one of the perks of the job. It can sometimes be one of the biggest problems when it comes to how you look, you get stuck in a rut, the same old products the same old regime sometimes you’ve just got to break free.

Photos: Rex Features

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