"You have to take risks in life," Nicole Scherzinger tells POPSUGAR, a couple of hours before she hits the red carpet at Cannes Film Festival. And those risks have certainly paid off for the singer throughout her career. It's hard to believe it's been 18 years since Scherzinger burst onto the scene with the Pussycat Dolls hit single "Don't Cha", and she's remained in the spotlight by making the most of the opportunities that have come her way. Solo music, primetime TV judge, and musical theatre star, her most recent opportunity took her to the stage at the King's Coronation concert on 7 May.
"It was an honour to be invited to perform on that stage for, not only the King himself, but for the world," she says. "I really love the British audience. I feel like they've embraced me as one of their own and adopted me, so it meant a lot that I was one of the few, not being a Brit myself, to be able to share that stage." Scherzinger's eccentricity, enthusiasm, and undeniable talent has seen her become an honorary Brit, making her the perfect addition to the royal lineup. She performed a sensational rendition of "Reflection" from the Disney film, "Mulan", alongside pianist Lang Lang, and her performance is even more impressive when she tells us she'd never performed the song before.
"I really love the British audience. I feel like they've embraced me as one of their own and adopted me."
"They asked me to sing that song," she says of the royal family. "I'd never performed that song, never sung that song, I learned it that week so I just put the meaning in my heart into the lyrics and I wanted to share that story with everyone." Scherzinger's powerful vocals may have been a highlight of the coronation weekend, but her professionalism slipped backstage when she was hit by the magnitude of the occasion. She couldn't help but steal a little memento, so swiped a branded aluminium bottle. "I was like 'y'all ain't taking these water bottles, I want one of those water bottles that says King's Coronation on it'," she admits, although it wasn't quite as fancy as the late Queen's keepsakes. "I was so excited about the water bottle, because when I went to the Queen's jubilee they had champagne bottles with the Queen's jubilee [on them], so I saved one of those and now I have a water bottle from the King's coronation."
Singing for the royal family may have been bucket list stuff, but for Scherzinger, meeting Whitney Houston still takes the top spot for pinch-me moments. "The Pussycat Dolls were doing a private Christian Dior show and Whitney Houston was in the audience and I got to meet her as she was fleeing out the door," she says of meeting her childhood idol. "I don't know if I made any sense, if I formed a sentence. I love her so much," she adds.
When it comes to current music, it's Raye she's listening to right now. "I really love her music, especially this last album, 'My 21st Century Blues'. I just love every song on it and I just feel like I can relate to her as a woman," she says. While Scherzinger is working on her own new music, she's also preparing to hit the West End, starring as Norma Desmond in "Sunset Boulevard" at London's Savoy Theatre from September. This means she'll be back living in the UK, presumably with her boyfriend of four years, rugby player Thom Evans, who she met on "The X Factor: Celebrity". So what is she most looking forward to when she's back in London? "I'm a Sunday Roast girl," she says. A woman after our own heart . . .
While in Cannes, she later hit the red carpet at the Magnum VIP party to celebrate the launch of its two new flavours: Sunlover, a refreshing mix of coconut ice cream, mango and passionfruit swirl, coated in white chocolate, and Starchaser, a naughtier treat of caramel and popcorn-flavoured ice cream, caramel sauce, and milk chocolate. She dressed in a Barbiecore minidress in fuchsia pink for our chat, before changing into a stunning sheer midnight blue dress by Khya Studios with dripping jewellery and a chic, blunt bob for the evening. The two looks perfectly aligned with the day-to-night aesthetic of the event, proving Scherzinger knows how to wow on stage and with her wardrobe.
But if she were to describe herself as an ice cream, what would she be? "That is crazy. That is good," she laughs, while pondering the very important mix of ingredients. "Maybe I would have chocolate, definitely chocolate. Some nuts, some almonds, because I'm a bit nutty sometimes. I think it would be cool to add a little bit of spice, because I'm spicy. A little salted caramel like my skin. And then it could be fun to add bits of fruit, whether it's like dried mango because I'm from Hawaii or raisins." We couldn't have summed up Scherzinger better ourselves.