With "The Boy Does Nothing" in the top ten, and fresh from being crowned Ultimate Confidence Queen at The Cosmopolitan Women of the Year Awards last week, Alesha Dixon is Cosmopolitan's December cover girl. She chats about the reality of beauty and her own insecurities, how she bounced back from being cheated on by her husband and dropped by her record label in the same fortnight, and what the future holds now she's 30 and looking for love. Here are the highlights:
- On her early insecurities: "When I joined my old girl band, Mis-Teeq, I was so insecure. We got our first record deal when I was 22 and I remember, from that moment until the day we split up five years later, we were caked in makeup … So when it came to taking a break and being normal, I wouldn’t recognise myself in the mirror. I hated how I looked."
- On the reality of beauty in the celebrity arena: "The longer I spent in the music business, the more I had to get a grip on what was real and what wasn’t. It’s great fun dressing up and having 20 people around you to make you look beautiful, but it’s not real … I did a documentary on beauty earlier this year, which I got a lot of stick for because it looked like I was slating magazines. I wasn’t – I love magazines. I was trying to raise awareness that anyone could look as good as me if they had a glam squad around them like I have today!"
- On what she has learned from speaking with women about body image: "We should stop using the word ‘flaws’ – why is it a flaw to have a scar or a mole? That’s what makes you different. I’ve never been one for dieting, either. I know there are some people who’d compromise what they eat to wear a certain outfit – but I’d rather eat a nice dinner than wear a crop top."
To find out what Alesha said about how she dealt with difficulties, got her confidence back and stayed grounded, as well as what the future holds, just
- On being cheated on by her husband and being dropped by her record label in the same fortnight: "Something inside me changed that fortnight. I lost the two things I loved most in the world, pretty much overnight, and it shook me to the core. I was lost. I hit rock bottom, and when I came back up I was a different person. I’m stronger now – I know that nothing can ever hurt me that much again … I loved being married, but the choice was taken out of my hands. People who’ve got it sussed are the ones who roll with the punches and accept that nothing is going to stay the same forever."
- On how you can get your confidence back: "Never give up and never stop believing in yourself. One of my saviours was my three-year-old collie, Roxy, who I got from the RSPCA. The day I was en route to pick her up was the day I got the call from my record label telling me I’d been dropped. I was with Mum, and I just broke down; I couldn’t stop crying. When we got to the RSPCA and got out of the car, I said to my mum, ‘I’ve got to sort myself out, I can’t be in this state when I pick up the dog.’ I put on a front for Roxy. Without her, I wouldn’t have left my sofa."
- On how she stays grounded and down to earth: "My mum brought me up to respect everybody as an equal. I can’t stand that, as a ‘celebrity’, you get treated better than those around you. It makes me so angry because, for example, on a video shoot it takes about 50 people to make it work – not just me. I’m no more important than the backing dancers … I’m more grounded than my friends and family!"
- On what the future holds now she's 30: "My twenties were for living and learning – and I learnt a lot – and now I’m ready to put it all to good use. I feel really empowered … Now that I’m 30, I can close the door on that chapter of my life and be open to whatever else life throws at me."
- On the possibility of finding love again: "I said to one of my best friends yesterday, ‘I can feel it in the air that God is going to deliver me a really nice guy’. It’s taken a while for me to even consider going into another relationship – I can’t split up with someone and be with someone else straightaway. But, let’s face it – it’s been two bloody years! … Just a plaything will do! I’m pretty busy most of the time, but now and again I stop, and that’s when I think, ‘I wish I had someone to share this with’."
"You can’t tarnish every bloke with the same brush. When Harvey cheated on me, it would have been easy to say, ‘I never want a boyfriend again.’ But I never stopped believing that there’s someone out there who deserves me – I am a good person, and I have a lot of love to give."
It's so great to see Alesha riding high, but staying so grounded, after her setbacks. The full interview appears in the December issue of Cosmopolitan, out now.
Photo credit Roberto D’este