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Why Alesha Dixon invented a mixed heritage superhero for her daughter

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Kayleigh Dray
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Alesha Dixon has created a strong female role model for her young daughter, in order to teach her that “she can do whatever she wants”.

Alesha Dixon may be famed for her work as a singer and a television presenter, but the Britain’s Got Talent judge is now making a name for herself as an author, too.

Her debut book, Lightning Girl, tells the story of 11-year-old superhero, Aurora Beam.

In the story, Beam tries to find a way to balance the problems she faces at school while learning how to control her newfound powers – which see her perform good deeds by shooting light and energy out of her fingertips.

And now, in a new interview about her work, Dixon has explained that she specifically created the character to help her own four-year-old daughter, Azura, feel reflected in popular culture.

“There is a lack of female superheroes and an imbalance that still needs to be addressed and so it felt really important to create a strong female role model,” she told A List (as reported by The Standard).

“[Aurora’s] 11 years old and she’s mixed heritage. When I look around there aren’t many characters like her. All you want as a parent is balance.

“I want [Azura] to read it and feel strong and know she can do whatever she wants and not put limitations on herself. Every child needs to be able to pick up a book and feel they are reflected and see themselves in the characters. It was important children from all backgrounds felt included.” 

Speaking about her own experiences, Dixon continued: “When I was growing up I remember looking for role models and it was few and far between and I had to look to America for artists I loved.

“The great thing about now is it feels like anything is possible. Anyone from any background now probably feels like they have a voice and a platform. It’s down to individuals to not give up the fight.”

It is not the first time that Dixon has stressed this point: in an interview with Cosmopolitan back in 2013, the Mis-Teeq singer opened up about experiencing racial prejudice during her career.

“I did an interview with a magazine once and the journalist quite openly said they wouldn’t put a black person on the front cover because the magazine wouldn’t sell. It made me angry because it shouldn’t be about the colour of the person’s skin, it should be about the person.”

Dixon added: “There were very few British black women on TV or in music when I was a teenager; when you’re growing up you need someone you can identify with. I remember at Christmas being bought a doll that didn’t look anything like me so I threw it away. When I saw Neneh Cherry singing on TV I was so glad that there was someone of the same ethnicity – and with the same curly hair – for me to look up to.”

No wonder, then, that Dixon is keen to bring Aurora Beam to our television screens, too.

“Your brain never stops thinking about the next opportunity and I don’t want to put any limits on the character,” she told New! magazine.

“I definitely want to see a live action version of this, be it a TV series or a movie or a stage show. I’m looking into that further. I want to bring her to life.”

Image: Getty

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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