Meet Emeli Sande – The Scottish Aretha Franklin

On stage: Emeli Sande's Live At The Albert HallOne year ago this week, Emeli Sandé’s first album entered the charts at number one.  Twelve months on, Our Version Of Events is enjoying its 53rd consecutive week in the Top Ten – a record for a debut bettered only by The Beatles’ Please Please Me in 1963 – and the woman behind it is a household name.

The Scottish singer-songwriter crowned an exceptional year on Wednesday night by winning two Brits – best female and best album – while her debut was the only album to sell a million copies in Britain last year. She performed at the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games, while next month’s UK tour is a complete sell-out. Strangest of all, the 25-year-old managed to achieve all this without exploiting her sexuality or getting embroiled in a celebrity scandal.

An old-fashioned pop star, she has kept her private life to herself.

With Sandé, it is all about the songs, a virtue emphasized by this week’s release of her first live album. Recorded last November, Live At The Royal Albert Hall is a CD and DVD double-pack that reiterates the qualities that have made the singer pop royalty. It features hits such as Heaven and Next To Me, and wraps her soulful, heart-stopping voice in atmospheric strings and seductive rhythms.Monochrome: Sande arriving at the ceremony on the red carpetWith intimate, piano-led songs her forte, the centerpieces are the ballads Clown and River, back-to-back tracks that are simultaneously sad and uplifting. On Clown, she admits to being a novice pianist, but her performance is still mesmerizing.

Other highlights include a haunting take on the Cup Final hymn Abide With Me (as sung at the Olympics opening ceremony) and a note-faithful cover of Nina Simone’s I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free.

‘From the age of eight, she’s been my inspiration,’ says Emeli.

As live albums go, it isn’t perfect. Emeli has the soulful voice and songwriting abilities of Simone, but she has yet to acquire the stagecraft that is a hallmark of her other great influence, Alicia Keys. While the New Yorker will fall back on her inner showgirl when she plays a big venue, the naturally reserved Sandé can seem overwhelmed by the occasion.

‘Wow, I’m playing the Royal Albert Hall,’ she says. ‘This is my wildest dream come true — and it’s all happened so quickly.’

Her fans, however, react warmly to her girl-next-door charm, especially when she touchingly dedicates songs to her watching mum, dad and sister Lucy. Trim figure: Emeli debuts her slimmer figure after slimming down before trying to crack the USIf the tender, reflective nature of Sandé’s material threatens to make this album slightly one-paced, the singer is inspired in her choices of collaborators, and guest appearances by rapper Professor Green (on Read All About It) and singer Labrinth (on Beneath Your Beautiful) ensure that the energy levels soar at the end of the evening.

Beyond her undoubted artistry, though, what has made Sandé such a star?

The thing that sticks out the most about the singer is how down to earth she still is. In an era of TV-created idols, she offers something different:

The daughter of a Zambian father, Joel, who moved to Britain on a scholarship and now teaches engineering, and an English mother, Diane, from Cumbria, she was raised in a small, conservative village in the Aberdeenshire countryside.

Dramatic weight loss: Singer Emeli Sandé cuts a slimmer figure on the red carpet at the pre-Grammy party on Saturday night, and seen right at the MOBO Awards last NovemberFrom there, she went not to stage school but the University of Glasgow, where she completed a medical degree, specialising in Clinical Neuroscience.
In the final year of her studies, she spent time in hospital wards meeting patients with spinal injuries and schizophrenia. Had she not taken up music, she would now be a qualified junior doctor.

‘My intention was always to become a doctor,’ she said ‘I specialized in neurology, and I found medicine a real challenge. ‘It was something that was going to stretch me, because I wasn’t just stuck in a research laboratory.’

‘I was in a hospital, and I got to see people at their most vulnerable. Ultimately, though, I wanted to try music.’

There is a touch of steel to Sandé, too, along with the strong work ethic that is a prerequisite for any modern pop star.  The singer concedes she was ‘headstrong’ as a child, and, in her teens, she declined a record deal after winning a Radio 1 talent contest, preferring to cut her musical teeth by writing hits for Cheryl Cole and Susan Boyle.

Her approach has won her the admiration of her peers. Jay-Z praised her ‘unique sound’, Rihanna asked her to write a song for her, and Dido, when I interviewed her recently, was quick to acknowledge a singer she sees as a kindred spirit, not least for the fact that Sandé, like Dido.

Even amidst the prying eyes of the paparazzi, she managed to get married to marine biologist Adam Gouraguine in a very private ceremony.

‘I think she’s brilliant,’ Dido told me. ‘It’s voices that resonate with me, and I love hers. She’s the most exciting female artist of the moment. She never gets boring, either, because I don’t know anything about her private life, which is great.’

Slim and healthy: A radiant looking Aretha Franklin attended the New York Knicks game last night at Madison Square GardensSandé herself is already looking ahead, with this live set previewing two songs from her forthcoming second album. The first, Enough, is a big, flowing piano ballad. The second, Pluto, looks more to the Massive Attack-style strings of her debut single Heaven. On the evidence of these, the stunning success of Our Version Of Events is no fluke.

‘You have a duty to be a positive role model, especially when some of your fans are young girls,’ she says. ‘You get 13- and 14-year-olds thinking they have to dress a certain way to get on.

But my inspirations were Aretha Franklin and Nina Simone. With them, the music always came first.’


Up Close & Personal With Eurasian Actress Vanessa Hudgens…

Vanessa Hudgens Paper Mag Interview Feb 2013 1During one magical chapter of her childhood, Vanessa Hudgens lived in Anaheim, California — home of the 510-acre Disneyland theme park. On many days, Hudgens, her mother, and her younger sister would wake up, do schoolwork for a few hours and then head to the Happiest Place on Earth, where the family’s season passes became a regular part of their home-schooling curriculum.

“I don’t know if it was very conducive to a good learning style,” she laughs, “but it was fun.”

Who is Vanessa Hudgens?

As it turns out it was time well spent. When Eurasian Hudgens, who is of Filipino and Caucasian American descent, was 15 she was cast as the leading lady in the Disney Channel’s High School Musical. The 2006 TV movie not only jump-started Hudgens’ acting career, but inspired a lucrative multimedia franchise.Vanessa Hudgens Paper Mag Interview Feb 2013 2

“In 10,000 hours, they say you can master anything,” Hudgens deadpans. “10,000 hours in Disneyland and you’re the queen of Disney.”

Eurasian of Filipino and Caucasian American descent!

The break-out role…

During her reign, from 2006 to 2008, Hudgens reprised her role as the sweet, brainy songbird Gabriella Montez in High School Musical 2 and High School Musical 3: Senior Year.

She collected enough tween-centric awards and nominations to fill a Disney-licensed tote bag; dated her on-screen love interest and frequent duet partner, Zac Efron, in a highly publicized romance; recorded two studio albums–the gold-certified solo pop record V, and its follow-up, Identified; and zigzagged across the continent for a High School Musical concert tour.Vanessa Hudgens Paper Mag Interview Feb 2013 6According to Forbes, she became one of Hollywood’s top-earning young stars, alongside Daniel Radcliffe and the Olsen twins. But these years weren’t all shopping mall tours and generous Mickey Mouse paychecks. In 2007 nude photographs the actress had taken ended up on the Internet.

“That was just a really shitty situation that sucked,” Hudgens tells me over breakfast at Kings Road Cafe in Studio City, her mood deflating for the first and only time in the two hours that we spend together. “That was by far the worst moment of my career.”

But perhaps those photos were a blessing in disguise, signaling to the world that she was not just the one-dimensional squeaky-clean face on the HSM collectible lunch boxes.

She was a typical 18-year-old girl with a camera phone and a sexual appetite. Hudgens manned up and took responsibility for the pictures, apologizing to her fans. (Disney stood by her throughout the ordeal, simply admonishing the actress with an afterschool special-worthy message: “We hope she’s learned a valuable lesson.”)

Maturity and learning from the previous mistake…

Five years later, Hudgens is about to embark on the most crucial year of her career yet — one which could cement her as a wide-ranging dramatic actress. After supporting roles in projects like Zack Snyder’s fantasy thriller Sucker Punch and the sci-fi adventure Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, Hudgens will plumb markedly darker depths in her next three movies — all scheduled for release in 2013.Vanessa Hudgens Paper Mag Interview Feb 2013 2

If the first of these films — Harmony Korine‘s Spring Breakers, out March 15th — is any indication, the 24-year-old is headed into legitimate adult acting territory — a leap that few Disney stars have managed to land. Korine is the unconventional filmmaker — who shocked audiences and no doubt many parents, with his 1995 breakout film Kids — from whom the idea for the wickedly original Spring Breakers sprung.

The cra-mazing crime comedy stars Hudgens as one of four bored best friends who bust out of their small-town college and rob a restaurant to finance their spring break. After a raucous few days, the bikini-clad quartet is arrested, only to be bailed out by a corn-rowed rapper/gangster named Alien (James Franco), who incorporates them into his Florida crime scheme.

After making twisted, experimental films like, Gummo and julien donkey-boy, Korine returns to the same gritty world of unsupervised teenagers that he explored in Kids. But he tops himself in Spring Breakers, showing uncensored displays of debauchery that would make even the hardest-partying frat boy blush.

Spring Breakers and the unveiling of Vanessa’s adult acting career…

In other words, it’s a father’s — and a certain corporate mouse’s — worst nightmare. Ironically, though, it was Hudgens’ father, a retired firefighter, who flagged Spring Breakers as a script worth reading.Vanessa Hudgens Paper Mag Interview Feb 2013 5

“He loved Kids so he was really excited for the project,” she says, then quickly adds, laughing, “He didn’t read the script, but when he saw that Harmony’s name was attached to it he said, ‘That’s going to be a really interesting project.'”

Asked what she considers the key to making the tough transition from Disney star to grown-up actress, she says,

“It’s always been hard for actors to cross that bridge but honestly, you have to hold out and do what you think is right for yourself,” she says, adding, “But I also think it is about finding someone who truly believes in you. Harmony took a really big jump in hiring me and [co-stars] Selena [Gomez] and [ABC Family actress] Ashley [Benson].”

Although Hudgens seems to think Korine gambled on her, the filmmaker says that he wrote the female roles with both Hudgens and Gomez in mind. In part because he loved the idea of incorporating actresses whom the audience “is not used to seeing in this way.”

(“This way” meaning that the girls writhe suggestively over each other, wield shotguns, take bong rips and snort coke off other spring breakers’ stomachs.) Korine even suggests that it was Hudgens who took a chance on him.

“From the very beginning, I’d say, ‘This isn’t going to be like anything else you’ve done before. We’re going to push it. So I need you to be bold.'”

Hudgens heeded his advice. And in what Korine considers her most impressive scene — one in which she and Benson shove a gun in Franco’s mouth — the actress not only holds her own against her Oscar-nominated co-star, Franco, but with the help of Benson, overpowers him with the kind of unexpectedly aggressive and manipulative temperament you might see in a David Lynch villain.

“The scene wasn’t even written like that,” Korine says. “She took it to this other place where she kind of tried to emasculate him and then he ends up strangely turned on by it.”

The actress refers to the scene as the one in which she and Benson “make James our bitch” and explains that it was not difficult to get into the Franco-taming mindset.Vanessa Hudgens Paper Mag Interview Feb 2013 3

“You sit there. You’re smoking your fake blunts. You just do it.”

It was Franco, her avant-garde co-star, who attracted her to the unlikely project. (“I saw that James was already attached and I am his biggest fan. I thought, ‘I need to be in this movie.'”).

But even though they shared intimate scenes together, including a three-way love sequence in a swimming pool, Hudgens is not any more familiar with the enigmatic actor now than she was when she first read the script.

“I still don’t know him,” Hudgens says in wonderment. “I have no idea who James Franco is. I know who Alien is. He’s that into method acting. He comes on set as his character. In between scenes, he is still his character.”

“When I first saw him, I was speechless because he just completely transformed himself. The way he talked, with that accent… Everything he does is so organic.”

She did, however, bond with her co-stars Benson, Gomez and Rachel Korine (Harmony’s wife) over crushed-up vitamin B, which the actresses snorted on camera in lieu of cocaine. The foursome quickly realized that the vitamin’s effect was not unlike that of the drug it was simulating.

“We would run around set like mad men, and people would wonder, ‘Did you switch that out with anything?”’

Playing a prostitute in ‘Frozen Ground’…

Although her acting career began rather innocently — when she played Mary in the nativity story at age three — Hudgens has always yearned to test her dramatic limits. She’ll follow Spring Breakers with the thriller Frozen Ground, in which she plays a drug-addicted prostitute.Vanessa Hudgens Paper Mag Interview Feb 2013 4

“Ever since I was young, I wanted to play really heavy and intense roles and really push myself in a dramatic direction. So I was like, ‘A prostitute! I can play a prostitute! This is going to be exciting.'”

The role that demanded the most transformation, however, is the wayward teenager she plays in the upcoming Gimme Shelter. For the survivalist drama, which is based on a true story and co-stars Rosario Dawson, Hudgens gained 15 pounds, chopped off her hair, wore three fake piercings and prepared by spending two weeks inside several covenant shelters for pregnant teens.

She describes the film as “my Monster,” and says she was so unrecognizable, even to herself in the mirror, that it took her time to regain her confidence and sense of self.

“It’s nice to be girly!” she exclaims. “I need my nails and my hair.”

Dealing with paparazzi…

Exiting the restaurant to head out on a hike, the actress protectively warns, “There are a lot of paparazzi outside, just so you know. So don’t get freaked out and scared.”

Indeed, a swath of photographers lie in wait, and trail us to a nearby park. They document her paying the parking meter, and station themselves at the bottom of the hill to await her return.

Pulling a basketball cap far down on her face, Hudgens whispers: “I’m always afraid that when I’m wearing a hat, I’m just going to run into a pole or something.”

A clumsy misstep might be the most exciting thing these paparazzi could catch her doing these days.

The boyfriend: Austin Butler…

She spends most of her free time decorating her house (she just finished a Moroccan-themed room) and watching Girls and reruns of The Office with her boyfriend, Austin Butler, the handsome male lead in The Carrie Diaries.Vanessa Hudgens and Austin ButlerThe couple has been together for a year and a half but they’re not quite ready for the next step — a puppy. After cooing at several passing dogs, Hudgens laments the fact that she can’t commit to canine ownership — even if she was a successful surrogate to her sister’s toy poodle, Moonshadow.

“I took her with me to shoot a movie once. After that, I realized it’s a lot of work, and she was kind of bitchy. I’m always traveling, so it’s hard.”

As we round a bend and overlook Los Angeles on an unexpectedly clear day, our conversation returns to Disneyland. The actress still adores her frequent childhood destination, and after a recent visit to the park’s legendarily private Club 33 — the only place in the park that serves alcohol — Hudgens has a new appreciation for her former home away from home.

“There’s nothing more fun than being drunk at Disneyland,” she giggles. Vanessa Hudgens has officially left the theme park.

Credits: Paper Magazine

  • Styled by Heidi Bivens (Sweater by Marc Jacobs and bracelet by Cartier, dress by Dior, vintage choker from Screaming Mimi’s and bracelet by Cartier, dress by Jeremy Scott, shoes by Pedro Garcia and bracelet by Cartier, dress by Louis Vuitton and underwear by Missoni)
  • Hair by Adrian Clark
  • Makeup by Stevie Huynh at the Wall Group
  • Produced by Ahmer Khan at Jed Root
  • Photographed at Dune Studios
  • Fashion Coordinator: Kelly Govekar
  • Stylist’s assistants: Jake Skolnick
  • Connor Krill Photographer’s assistants: Paolo Stagnaro and Austin Kennedy

Eartha Kitt: Femme Fatale

Eartha Kitt Femme FataleKitt was once referred to as “the most exciting woman in the world” by Orson Welles. From her vast singing and acting career and for being outspoken in the world of politics and publicly ostracized for her anti-war remarks that derailed her career, Kitt’s life was definitely one of intrigue.

Now she’s being immortalized via a comic book. “Eartha Kitt: Femme Fatale“, written by New York Times Bestselling Author Marc Shapiro, who also penned the Julie Newmar series,  was released last week.  ”This series has been have been so much fun to do,” said Shapiro. “And it is an homage to the kinds of stories that first appeared in the mid-60′s”.

According to the press release:

Multiracial Eartha Kitt, of Caucasian, Native American, African-American descent, and  is on holiday, searching for the purrfect wave. When suddenly??? Well we won’t spoil the surprise. But in the tradition of DC Nation and all good things for all ages comes Eartha Meets The Gorgon, the first in a series of adventures. Eartha Meets The Gorgon is the long anticipated return to good clean fun.

The print version of the comic is only available at the Comic Book Flea Market and can be ordered directly through this link: To find out more about the legendary Eartha Kitt please go to her website: http://www.earthakitt.comEartha KittIt will also be available digitally at locations such as these:  Wowio, ComiXology, DriveThru Comics, Google Play, My Digital Comics, Overdrive, Iverse, iTunes, Kindle, Wowio, Nook, Kobo and wherever eBooks are sold.

First published in Clutch Magazine.

Meet Karruche Tran – Blasian Stylist & Aspiring Model…

Meet 25 year-old Karrueche Tran, a Blasian model of Vietnamese and African descent. Karreuche is very exotic looking, as she is of both Vietnamese and African descent. She has posed for brands, such as LoveSicc, and allegedly refuses to do nudes. S

he is most famous for dating the singer Chris Brown from 2010-2012, and she was his first serious girlfriend since the stormy demise of the performer’s relationship with singer, Rihanna.

Karrueche has many quotes tattooed all over her body, and according to her Tumblr, she very much enjoys food. Out of her photo-shoot-fresh high-waist shorts and tiny red bikini top, she comes clean about her thorny relationship status.

“I feel like, more than anything, girls can relate to me, regardless of if what they have to say is negative or not,” she explains. “Because the situation is so messy.”

Despite being snared in a love triangle that rivals Brangelina’s, third-wheeling with music’s controversial lovers has afforded Karrueche an op to launch a clothing line, The Kill, with the man responsible for her fame. After meeting Chris through a styling gig two years ago, while he was still warring with the media over his 2009 assault on Rihanna, the ex–personal assistant kept her bond with R&B’s bad boy platonic.

A crushing public breakup in October 2012 (during which Chris dropped an inebriated confessional admitting his love for both Rih and Kae) has made her the odd woman out, even as she and Breezy serve as strange bedfellows in a partnership that places much of the creative control in her well-manicured hands.

For her part, Karrueche assures The Kill will satisfy demand once on racks: “Our clothes are all black and white. I don’t know any other line that’s doing that,” she notes.

Though pushed back from its 12/12/12 launch date, the line has snagged prime pixel-space on style blogs, thanks to Breezy, Christina Milian and Bun B sporting Kill headgear in public. The moniker for the unisex street-wear-meets-high-fashion threads is itself an attention-grabber.

“When people first think of the name, they think violence, guns, blood and being very aggressive, but it’s not,” she says, citing La Roux’s hit “In for the Kill” as inspiration.

“I liked it because the name stood out. I can’t say the clothes are for one type of person.” What about a person named Rihanna? She laughs nervously before unleashing an abrupt, “I don’t know.”

While her subliminal Twitter feuds with Rih soothe the drama-hungry, Karrueche has her own e-groupies (272,000-plus Twitter followers; more than 400,000 on Instagram) who both praise and bait her.

“I never respond to the haters. There’s no point because at the end of the day, nobody knows me,” says the newfound Insta-fashionista.

“It’s honestly weird, because I was brought into this whole ‘being known’ thing. I was never looking for fame. Seeing myself on blogs sometimes, it’s like, ‘Chris isn’t with me. Why are you following me?’”

Now accustomed to the flashes, Karrueche has upgraded her paparazzi’d garbs from dressing in mama’s tights as a tot to loose tees and Jordans as a lady. The upside of an impromptu entourage is that she’s always picture-perfect. As the Chrianna reality show plays out, her relations with Chris remain blurry at best (snapshots of her and the superstar linger on her Instagram).

But she’s willingly hanging on by a thread. “He’ll always be in my life because we have a line together,” she states.

The prospect of a three-way chat with Rih, that’s a little more unlikely. “It would take me to somewhere I wouldn’t want to go,” says Karrueche, still oddly cordial. “Whatever it is will never be understood, even from Chris and Rihanna.”

Keep one eye open for the launch of the The Kill and follow @thekillsociety. In this Vibe photoshoot, the Blasian model shows a sultry side…Karruche Tran Vibe March photoshoot 1

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From The Heart: X-Factor Star Alexandra Burke Talks Organ Donor and Mother’s Kidney Disease….

Charity: Alex has used her fame to campaign for good causes, including this one for Breast Cancer Awareness WeekFor over five years, Alexandra Burke has looked after her ailing mother Melissa Bell, who is battling severe kidney failure brought on by diabetes and is on life-saving dialysis eight hours a day.

The 24-year-old former X Factor champion buys her mum food, has spent £20,000 renovating her house so she can have the dialysis treatment there rather than in hospital, and is paying thousands more to send her on a doctor-approved holiday to Egypt for her birthday next month.

But the one thing Alexandra can’t give her mother is the only thing she really needs – a new kidney.

The need for a kidney…

That’s not to say Alex, as her friends and family know her, hasn’t tried. In fact, she’s tearfully offered her mother – the former lead singer of 80s Grammy Award-winning group Soul II Soul – her organ on more than one occasion even though it could impact on Alexandra’s chances of having children herself.

‘I’ve tried three or four times,’ she says as her eyes well up with tears.

‘But Mum made the choice and shut down the discussion because the doctors said it could mean I wouldn’t be able to conceive. She didn’t want to restrict me from having my own life. But I was willing to adopt because I want to do that anyway.’

Melissa has said that asking her famous daughter to give away a kidney would be ‘downright wicked and selfish’.

Alexandra says she responded by telling her: ‘I don’t think it would be a selfish choice. It’s been offered to you. I’m your daughter. Take it!’ She adds: ‘I’ve tried to meet her doctor privately to be tested to see if I’m a match, but he wouldn’t see me because my mum wouldn’t allow it.’

Emotional: Alex’s X Factor triumph in 2008 came just days after her mother’s diagnosis was revealed
Emotional: Alex's X Factor triumph in 2008 came just days after her mother's diagnosis was revealed
‘I’ve even had some of my fans offering their kidneys and going for tests. I’ve been very down about the situation. This might be selfish, but I’m not ready to let my parents go. After all, Mum’s still young – she’s only 48.’

Waiting for  a transplant…

Melissa is one of 10,000 people in the UK awaiting an organ transplant. Sadly, ten per cent of these die while they’re on the waiting list. One of those statistics was Alex’s Auntie Verna.

‘She was waiting for a heart for eight years. The moment it came in she died,’ she says quietly.

Despite the statistics, only 31 per cent of the British population have put themselves on the NHS Organ Donor Register – a much lower figure than in many other countries.

That’s why Alex and her mum agreed to be star guests on From The Heart, a major ITV entertainment special next week hosted by Dermot O’Leary and featuring Rowan Atkinson, Hugh Laurie and Jools Holland. The show is the centerpiece of a week of programming on ITV to raise awareness of the shortage of donated organs.

‘I was nervous about taking part initially,’ Alex admits. ‘It’s a subject that’s so personal to me I find it very emotional talking about it. I only put myself on the register a year ago. I decided they can take everything from me when I die, apart from my eyes. I don’t think I’d feel happy without them, even in death.’

The diagnosis…

In 2008 Alex saved Melissa’s life after returning to the family home in Islington, north London, to find her collapsed in bed after going into kidney failure.

She called 999 and her mother was rushed to hospital. Soon afterwards she gave one of The X Factor’s best ever performances, an unforgettable duet with Beyoncé of the superstar’s song Listen, before being crowned the winner.

When her mother’s illness went public, former Harrods boss Mohamed Al-Fayed offered to pay for the treatment she needed privately.Dazzling: Since her brilliant duet with Beyonce Knowles in the 2008 X Factor final, Alex' career has gone from strength to strength

‘She didn’t accept it,’ Alex says. ‘It was a genuine offer but the NHS advised her against switching to private care as they had been treating her so long. I’ve offered to pay for her treatment since as well.’

‘But it’s not about money. Money won’t buy her a kidney. You just have to wait.’

Alex has no idea how far down the waiting list her mother is. ‘She’s a rare blood type, which makes it harder for her to get a match.’

‘The waiting game is the hardest thing. They’ve said she can survive for 25 years on dialysis but she’s not living a proper life. She’s hooked up to a machine for eight hours a day and can’t really move.’

‘I know there’s a family history so I’m very strict about my diet and I work out all the time,’ Alex sighs. ‘I’m a bit of a health freak, completely unlike what my mum used to be. But she’s on a diet now and doesn’t even touch sugar.’

Her childhood…

Alexandra’s family relationships have always been fraught. Her father David had an affair with an underage girl while Melissa was pregnant with Alex. The case went to court and Alex effectively lost contact with him until after she won The X Factor. (‘We’re very close now,’ she insists.)

As a result, Melissa was a single mum to Alex and her sister and two brothers.

Heartbroken: X Factor star Alexandra is finding her mother's illness hard to cope withAlex’s relationship with her mother has also been tumultuous. Melissa once said of her daughter, ‘To be honest, I’m a better singer than she is. But she’s thinner than me. It’s all about image these days, more than talent.’

However, Melissa’s illness has brought the pair closer. ‘Our relationship is not feisty at all any more. I’ve seen a drastic change in my mum. I feel we’re more like friends now, rather than mother and daughter,’ she explains.

Now it’s Alexandra who supports her family financially. ‘I’m 24 and I’m the backbone of my family. I pay for everything. But it’s what I live for and I don’t think it’s a burden. Don’t get me wrong it’s not a bed of roses all the time. But I feel it’s my calling.’

Unlucky in love…

Alex has already developed a reputation for being hopelessly unlucky in love. She’s rumored to have dated high-profile suitors, ranging from comedian James Corden to England footballer Jermain Defoe, but most of her relationships appear to end in heartbreak.Concerned: Alex is desperate to raise awareness of organ donation in the hopes that her mother will eventually get a kidney transplantMost recently she’s been linked with Hollywood actor Jeremy Piven, the star of ITV’s period drama Mr Selfridge. At 47, he’s 23 years her senior. Last month, the pair arrived together at a party in London for fashion designer Tom Ford.

Later, they were spotted entering London’s Corinthia Hotel in the early hours of the morning, sparking speculation they’re a couple. The last time I met Alex she told me she wanted to meet ‘someone who’s 42 and probably old enough to be my father.’

She hoots when I remind her of this, burying her head in a pillow. ‘Oh my God! If I was white, I’d be bright red right now,’ she says, clearly embarrassed. ‘Maybe that’s what happens when you put things out there to the universe!’

She claims she’s just ‘close friends’ with Piven but it’s clear to me, and I know her well, that there’s more to it.

‘Jeremy’s lovely,’ she says, still blushing. ‘I’ve known him for a few months now. We met when I performed at the Samuel L Jackson ball in London. He’s lovely. We hang out a lot when we can.’

She quickly remembers to add: ‘I have no intention of being in a serious relationship because of my focus on my career. It’s difficult for me to be in a relationship. It has to be with someone who understands my lifestyle, and that my career and family come first. I’m in no rush to get married.’

So what attracts her to older men? ‘It’s a maturity thing. I want a man to be serious. I don’t go for looks. You would also hope an older man would have done their mucking around with other women.’

Alex has always been wise beyond her years. ‘I’ve always been responsible. When I left school, I told my mum and dad I was going to be a singer. I moved out of home and I paid my own bills. That’s a different mindset to many girls my age.’

‘A lot of my girlfriends are in their 30s and 40s and I learn from them. I remember when I was 16 and first auditioned for The X Factor, Simon Cowell said to me, “You’re not 16, you must be 25. Show me your passport!”‘

The future…

Alex is serious about her plans to adopt in the future, although she would also like her own family.

‘I’ve traveled and seen kids across the world. Even though I can have my own children, I really want to adopt a girl from China because of their one child rule. I can’t wait to do it.’

One thing Alex is not is a stereotypical pop puppet. She is the first X Factor winner to make the decision to voluntarily break away from show supremo Cowell and sign with RCA Records, another division of music giant Sony.

‘It was a brave move but the right move. He was going to be busy with X Factor USA and trying to make that work. He had to concentrate on that.’

I wonder how hard it is to be known as the winner of the talent show, given how many people seem to want to see them fall flat on their face.

‘In general, people want to tear The X Factor down and I don’t think that’s right. I didn’t just get where I am from the show – I’d been working at it since I was nine. But I would never say I wanted to move away from The X Factor. If Simon ever offered me an opportunity to be a judge, I would do it in a flash.’

Alex is now recording her third album, taking piano lessons and considering trying out for a lead role in the West End after a successful one-off stint playing Eponine in the London version of Les Misérables to raise money for Children In Need.

‘I want to do as much as I can to further my career. I want to see myself being nominated for a Grammy Award one day. I’m not there yet and I’ve got a lot of work to do. That’s why marriage and children will have to wait until I’m 30.’

‘But what would make me happier than anything else would be for my mum to get her kidney. We believe this will be the year.’

Multiracial Parenting Advice: Tamera Mowry Addresses Race of Son Aden!

Tamera Mowry and son Aden 2I wanted to write this post as a thank you letter to all my fans and readers.

I really feel like I have the best fans in the world – your words of encouragement and uplifting stories always brighten my day and remind me of what’s important. Especially since Aden has been born, I’ve been blown away by the support and fierce loyalty I’ve witnessed. Thank you for your love!!

Tamera Mowry and son Aden 4Tia and I have always known we have amazing fans, but reading all your messages and comments on this blog make it even clearer.  When people say ignorant things about Aden’s race or my marriage with his daddy Adam, it’s easy for me to take it personally – even after all this time, my skin isn’t that thick!

But hearing your stories about your own beautiful, mixed race babies and the love you have for their fathers grounds me back to reality and reminds me of the truth: Skin color has NOTHING to do with love.  How Aden looks or grows up to look like – whether he looks more “white” or more “black” – doesn’t matter to me.  Tamera Mowry and son Aden 3Why should it? He’s my precious baby boy and my only job is to be the best mommy I can be to him while showing him both sides of his heritage.  All I want for him to believe is that love knows no boundaries.

So – a huge virtual hug and kiss to everyone reading this and supporting me along the way. I mean it when I say you all are the very best fans a brand new momma could ask for.


INTERESTING FACT: According to classical scholar Frank Snowden, skin color did not determine social status in ancient EgyptGreece or Rome. Relations between the major power and the subordinate state was viewed as more significant in a person’s status than was their skin color.

P.S. XXXX used the Contact Us form to ask her question. You can too should you need multiracial parenting advice.

Celebrity Spotlight: Nigel Barker of Oxygen’s The Face and his family

Multiracial photographer and former America’s Next Top Model judge Nigel Barker talks about his latest TV project and life in the West Village with his family.

Multiracial Nigel Barker, who is of British, Sri Lankan, Portuguese, and Irish descent, is a London-born photographer whose early career as a model whisked him to spots like Milan and Paris, but for the past 15 years, the former America’s Next Top Model judge has called the West Village, where he lives with his wife Cristen, son Jack, 7, and daughter Jasmine, 4, home.Nigel Barker and family 1

“People think New York is this big city where no one knows each other, but when you live in the Village, it’s the opposite,” he says. “I know the butcher, the baker and all the local coffee shops. It makes New York a very manageable place to live with kids.”

Nigel Barker and family 2Barker found himself working very close to home on his most recent project, The Face, a new supermodel competition reality series on Oxygen (the show premieres on Tuesday, February 12 at 9pm).

“We shot the whole thing in Brooklyn, so you have the New York City vista in the background,” he says. “Jack and Jasmine even got to spend a day on set, where they raided their dad’s closet, tried on his clothes and took turns sitting in the director’s chair.

“They got to boss him around a little bit, too. It was kind of fun,” Cristen says who is of Chinese and Irish ancestry.

What are the Barker family’s favorite things to do in New York?

Molly’s Cupcakes (288 Bleecker St between Carmine St and Sixth Ave; 212-414-2253, is on our way home from school—we’re there a lot.

“The kids’ friends gather at the shop and the waitress even knows Jasmine by name. Plus, the cupcakes are so unusual—they’re like ice cream flavors. They have chocolate-chip cookie dough and lemon meringue cupcakes.”

Nigel Barker and family 3


“We love wandering around the art galleries in Chelsea, but Jack especially enjoys going to the museums in the city. His favorite is the National Museum of the American Indian.”

“He likes to look at all of the Native American artifacts, especially the room that’s decorated with teepees and headdresses.”

Nigel Barker and family 4


“We’ve been coming to Dublin 6 (575 Hudson St between Bank and 11th Sts; 646-638-2900,, a local Irish pub, for the past 15 years. It’s a great family joint.”

“The kids can eat pizza and burgers while parents enjoy a pint of beer. Jasmine and Jack especially like the fish and chips, which are followed by complimentary ice cream. It’s also opposite Bleecker Playground, which is convenient.”

Nigel Barker and family 5

Nigel Barker and family 6


“Jack goes to the skateboard camp at BB Social Club ( They take the kids to various skateboard parks around the city. Jack’s been everywhere from Hoboken to Queens and Brooklyn.”

“We were recently driving through the Bronx and Jack was like ‘Oh, I’ve been here.’”


“Jasmine is really into ballet and princesses—she goes to the Joffrey Ballet School for dance class.”


Cowgirl Café is a very family-friendly neighborhood place for brunch. They give the kids little toys to play with, and they all know us there.”

First published in ‘ Time Out New York Kids’


An Interview with singer Tamia: Talks Grammy nomination, parenting and more…

tamia hott mommaWhen the Grammy Award nominations were announced in December, biracial singer Tamia’s mind was elsewhere. For one thing, the velvet-voiced Canadian R&B singer was on tour. She runs her own record label, so touring means more than strutting across a stage every night — she’s equally as focused on the minutiae of promoting gigs, shuffling gear from one venue to the next and managing the staff that helps her.

She also has a busy family life, two daughters and her husband, NBA star Grant Hill, whose own demanding schedule necessitates that the couple stay in constant contact, their calendars as tightly joined as the interlocking teeth of a zipper.

The Grammy nomination…

Tamia at the 4th Annual ESSENCE Black Women In MusicSo when she was roused out of sleep at her hotel after a long day of rehearsals by her producer Claude Kelly around 10 p.m. by the news that she had been nominated for two Grammys for Beautiful Surprise, her first album in six years, her first instinct was that it was a joke.

“I think I even told him: ‘Stop playing,”‘ she recalled, noting that she then verified and called her tour manager to tell him the news. “He immediately said: ‘I’m calling everyone. Come downstairs. We’re partying on the tour bus.’

“So I immediately got dressed and went downstairs and partied on the tour bus for the rest of the night. So it was good. I really wasn’t even thinking in that realm about Grammy nominations,” she adds. “I was concentrating on the tour.”

“And obviously I have two kids and a husband and trying to juggle all of those things, certainly that wasn’t on my mind like that. But that was the best wake up call that day, for sure.”

The Grammy nominated song…

These nominations, for best R&B album and song, for Beautiful Surprise and its title track respectively, are not the first in Tamia’s long career.Tamia

She was singled out for three nominations back in 1997, when she was a three-octave ingenue whose You Put a Move On My Heart was working a move of its own on the hearts of listeners.

That year, she soared into the glitzy Grammys tucked under Quincy Jones’s wing — and while that’s an enviable spot for any fledgling R&B singer to find him or herself, Tamia certainly didn’t have autonomy over her career at that time.

She was in her early ’20s, and very much along for the ride. “I was so young in the business,” she said.

“I’d just really gotten started and I’m not even sure if I really understood all that it took to get Grammy nominations, and what it meant from your peers to be recognized. This time around, it was that much sweeter to be recognized for the work I’ve been doing.”

Taking time off…

tamia and kidsAnd that’s in part because she now has ultimate control over every element of her career. Although each of her first three albums were certified gold, she split with her major label after 2004′s More and released 2006′s Between Friends independently via her own label, Plus One Music Group.

She subsequently took time away to have her second child in 2007 but released Beautiful Surprise the same way. Of course, Tamia had been used to being a prized asset on a wealthy major record label back in the days when major record labels were still wealthy.

The last time she hit the road on the dime of a major imprint was 2004, when she toured with Missy Elliot, Alicia Keys and Beyonce.

“It was a fun, amazing tour,” said the singer, who took her husband’s last name of Hill. “But I could tell you that I was with a major label and I don’t know how much it cost. I don’t know if I ever got paid. I just sort of got on the bus.”

“This tour,” she says, referring to a recent jaunt, “I know how much it cost me, how much everyone was getting paid, what I needed to do to make money, and all these things. I mean, there is a lot more involved in it.”

“But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I think it’s important to know all facets of the music business, and certainly it’s important to keep track of your money and where it’s going and what’s coming in … to be the one to be able to make decisions on where the money is being spent.”

“The artist doesn’t want to know those things,” she continued. “The artist in me wishes she could just go onstage and sing, but I can’t do that. And overall, I’m much more happy that I can understand all aspects of it before I get on that stage.”

The music comeback…

With no “big machine” behind her, Tamia’s career now feels like a more modest mom-and-pop-type operation, a labor of love that isn’t necessarily lucrative. And without a massive marketing budget, her success relies upon “one person telling another person telling another person telling another person” about her latest project.

That’s part of why she’s so thrilled about the Grammy nominations, a coup for any artist but particularly one who makes music without the implicit validation of a massive corporation actively backing her work.

“We’re just like the little engine that could,” said Tamia, who grew up in the inner city of Windsor, Ont.


To some degree, however, it seems Tamia relishes not only the autonomy but the demanding nature of her dual roles.

“I think she actually enjoys all the wearing of the different hats and the stress and the problem solving,” said her biracial husband, Grant Hill, chatting before a recent Los Angeles Clippers game.

“Just to be a career woman, to juggle the career, the running of her label, being a mom, being a wife, that’s not an easy thing to do…. Each one on its own is difficult, but to do all those things at once — you know, it’s pretty amazing.”

Of course, given that from time to time both parents can be trekking around the continent simultaneously, theirs is a unique union.

Juggling it all…

The Hills are meticulous in their scheduling.

They also grasp opportunities to spend time together when they can — for instance, the past U.S. Thanksgiving when a fortuitous coincidence had Tamia playing a show in New York around the same time Grant’s Clippers were taking the court in Brooklyn.

The whole family came in and spent the holiday together, before their careers again intervened, and the girls came along with Tamia to see her perform her next date in Washington, with their grandparents looking on.

“Oh, we’re crazy,” Tamia laughed when asked how they manage. “We’re certainly unconventional. It’s a lot of scheduling. We have a lot of calendars.

“I think as a working mom, you’re constantly juggling things,” she added. “And sometimes you drop the ball but you pick it up and hope no one’s looking. And you start juggling where you left off. You just hope no one saw you drop it — you pick it up and sneak it back in.”


In the video for her buoyant ballad Beautiful Surprise, Tamia cavorts mostly solo, cooing the song’s decadently sweet lyrics, which could have flowed from the pen of a starry-eyed first-time lover, until she and her husband are reunited for an intimate moment together.

Tamia says that she told Hill that he’d better take that opportunity to appear in one of her videos, since he might not want to associate himself with one of her scorned-lover screeds — like Stranger in My House, a top 10 hit Stateside after its 2000 release.

And Grant admits that he tends to prefer her more upbeat tracks. He admires her ability to write vividly identifiable love songs:

“I think she’s able to cover all the different feelings and emotions that come with love, so the heartbreak, the disappointment, the betrayal, the excitement, the love. All the highs and lows,” he says — but notes that the lyrics are so real, some people presume they’re autobiography.

“I enjoy the upbeat ones, because people automatically assume — with Stranger in my House or Me, songs like that — that I did something to create that drama,” the seven-time NBA all-star said with a smile.

“So not all the negative songs are inspired by me. At least I don’t think they are. I hope they’re not.”

Dealing with multiple sclerosis…

Tamia’s work ethic is perhaps particularly impressive when one considers that she’s been dealing with health challenges for the past decade, since she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2003.

She’s been an active spokesperson for the inflammatory disease (which affects the communication between nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord), sharing her story in the hopes of inspiring others. She wants her tireless drive to serve as an example of what’s possible with the condition, although she acknowledges that she must stay aware of her limits.

“It’s been an interesting ride with MS — I can’t believe it’s been 10 years. If anybody had any doubt about how I’m doing, I think seeing me do 30 cities with as many as four shows a night singing live.”

“I think that sort of squashed any doubt about how I’m feeling and things like that,” she said, adding that prior to this interview she’d just wrapped playing two hours of tennis.

“For me, the diagnosis of MS was sort of a wake-up call, to not run myself into the ground, to stay balanced mentally and physically, to sort of listen to your body, know when you need to rest, and know when you can push yourself and you can keep it going. I just try to live in a balanced way, and that’s been working for me.”

Asked if she plans to take time off following her next tour dates (the specifics have yet to be announced), she’s emphatic: “No way!” She re-entered the music business gingerly after her maternity-inspired hiatus, writing songs slowly with Kelly without necessarily knowing the end result.

Part of what inspired her comeback was the desire to show her daughters that there was more to their mom than they realized.

“They (didn’t) recognize me as mommy the singer, they recognized me as mommy the chauffeur,” she said, laughing. “Every now and then I have to let them know.”

Her husband will be rooting for Tamia from afar when she attends the Grammys in Los Angeles this weekend, since his Clippers will be in New York. So Tamia’s bringing her daughters along, allowing them another glimpse at their multi-faceted mom doing something quite out of the ordinary.

“They’ll be excited to go to the Grammys,” she says. “It’s like a once in a lifetime thing, right?”

Well, for most people.

First published in ‘O-Canada

Bruno Mars teams up with model Ajak Deng for Flaunt Magazine

Rock Star Moment – Photographed for the latest issue of Flaunt Magazine, model Ajak Deng joins musician Bruno Mars for the cover story shot in black and white by Hunter & Gatti. The pair wear tailored ensembles evoking a retro vibe courtesy of stylist Lysa Cooper.

Flaunt Magazine’s editor describes Bruno Mars’ style as, “a bit of old timey, relaxed gambler gangster vibe”:

“[Bruno] dresses like his grandfather and the music he plays is the music that his father raised him on. The music his grandfather would have been listening to when he was 18,19 years old.”

Bruno Mars and Ajak Deng for Flaunt Magazine 1

Bruno Mars and Ajak Deng for Flaunt Magazine 2

Bruno Mars and Ajak Deng for Flaunt Magazine 3

Bruno Mars and Ajak Deng for Flaunt Magazine 4

Bruno Mars and Ajak Deng for Flaunt Magazine 5

Bruno Mars and Ajak Deng for Flaunt Magazine 6

Bruno Mars and Ajak Deng for Flaunt Magazine 7

Bruno Mars and Ajak Deng for Flaunt Magazine 8


Model: AJAK @ Img models
Digital Operator: NERISSA NORTJE
Assistant: JILIAN ATUN
Makeup for model: INGEBORG (opus beauty)
Digital Assistant: IRA JAMES
Lighting assitants: ACE BUHR / JAI LENNARD
Videographer: Vincent Lacroq
Art Intervention: Aurelien Juner

Super Bowl XLVII Commercials: Naya Rivera’s for M&M and Zoe Saldana for Budweiser

Naya Rivera brought a spark of Glee to the NFL Super Bowl broadcast by pretending she was being wooed by a piece of sugar coated chocolate in an ad for candy maker M&M’s. In a romantic, but very funny, 30-second ad titled ‘I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That),’ the 26-year-old actress has a strange encounter with a red member of the candy who falls head over heels in love with her.

The candy coated piece of chocolate follows her around, doing his best to woo her. Rivera is clearly interested, but only in eating him. In the 30 second spot, Rivera is seen wearing several different outfits as she is chased around the town.  In one quick scene at the park, the singer wears a pink floral dress; while at home baking, she is dressed in a plaid shirt.

‘Hahaha yay! So glad everyone caught the M&M commercial!’ she tweeted after it aired at half-time.

Rivera stars as Santana Lopez in the hit show, Glee. She plays a cold-hearted cheerleader who is mean to girls, but loves the boys. In May, 2011, Rivera, who is also known for her vocals, signed a deal with Columbia Records to produce a solo album.

The Latina actress also knows more about football than the average girl: Her brother, Mychal plays for the University of Tennessee.

Watch the commercial below:

Anything for love: A red member of the M&M Candy collection hounds actress Naya Rivera for a date in a commercial that aired during the Super Bowl SundayThe candy coated piece of chocolate follows her around, doing his best to woo her.Colorful: The 30-second good-humoured commercial was an instant success during the Super BowlColourful: The 30-second good-humoured commercial was an instant success during the Super Bowl How much do you love me? Naya tests the red candy’s affection during the side-splitting adHow much do you love me? Naya tests the red candy's affection during the side-splitting ad In you go: The candy endures much for loveIn you go: The candy endures much for love Yum: Naya gets what she wants from the tasty piece of candyYum: Naya gets what she wants from the tasty piece of candy Costly: The commercial was filmed in various locals and cost as much to make as some feature length moviesCostly: The commercial was filmed in various locals and cost as much to make as some feature length movies

Sultry Zoe Saldana plays the assistant to musician Stevie Wonder‘s witch doctor role in eerie Budweiser Super Bowl ad

Some people are known to watch the Super Bowl just for the ads. One that grabbed viewers attention this year was a commercial for Bud Light featuring musician Stevie Wonder as a witch doctor and sexy Avatar actress Zoe Saldana as his assistant.

‘I hope you guys like the commercial! Un beso – zs,’ the 34-year-old actress tweeted minutes after it aired.

It was the second Super Bowl ad of the night that featured Saldana. She was also in the trailer for the upcoming film Star Trek Into Darkness, in which she co-stars with Chris Pine. In the Bud Light ad, Anheiser Bush played off its ‘It’s only weird if it doesn’t work’ campaign, and went with a film-noire feel to engage beer-drinkers.

The spot starts with two friends pilfering a lucky chair from one of their buddies and lugging it across the city of New Orleans to a witch doctor – played by musician Stevie Wonder – and his gorgeous assistant. Saldana swiftly works her magic on the filthy corduroy chair and poof! The luck is gone.

The two friends sneak the seat back to its original owner, where he finds his lucky chair has been sucked clean of any and all fortune. The casting of Stevie Wonder, who famously wrote and sang the hit Superstitious, was unusual since the award winning musician rarely acts.

Watch Stevie Wonder and Zoe Saldana work their magic in the commercial below:

Magic Man: Musician Stevie Wonder played a witch doctor while actress Zoe Saldana was his assistant in a Bud Light commercial that aired during Sunday’s Super Bowl gameMagic Man: Musician Stevie Wonder played a witch doctor while actress Zoe Saldana was his assistant in a Bud Light commercial that aired during Sunday's Super Bowl game Maniacal: Stevie Wonder laughs after he pulls the magic from a lucky chair in the eerie commercialManiacal: Stevie Wonder laughs after he pulls the magic from a lucky chair in the eerie commercial Maniacal: Stevie Wonder laughs after he pulls the magic from a lucky chair in the eerie commercialManiacal: Stevie Wonder laughs after he pulls the magic from a lucky chair in the eerie commercial Maniacal: Stevie Wonder laughs after he pulls the magic from a lucky chair in the eerie commercialManiacal: Stevie Wonder laughs after he pulls the magic from a lucky chair in the eerie commercial Eerie: Wonder sits in a candle lit roomEerie: Wonder sits in a candle lit room ‘I hoped you liked it!’ Zoe tweeted as the commercial aired'I hoped you liked it!' Zoe tweeted as the commercial aired Does it make you thirsty? Beer wasn’t directly referred to in the black magic themed adDoes it make you thirsty? Beer wasn't directly referred to in the black magic themed ad Spanish kisses: The actress sent ‘besos’ out to her fansSpanish kisses: The actress sent 'besos' out to her fans

Music Spotlight: Nicole Scherzinger Debuts New Video ‘Boomerang’

She’s been opting for a demure look of late, choosing elegant gowns over the skimpy ensembles she used to favor during her days as a Pussycat Doll. But Nicole Scherzinger returned to her racy roots in the video for her brand new single, Boomerang.

Ensuring her incredible figure got maximum exposure in the raunchy shoot, the 34-year-old singer paraded her killer legs in a pair of barely-there leather hotpants. Strutting her stuff in a pair of skyscraper heels, the star left little to the imagination with her skimpy choice of clothing as she got her groove on in time to the beats.

Watch the video for Boomerang below:

Strutting her stuff: Nicole Scherzinger paraded her incredible pins in a pair of skimpy leather hotpants in her video for new track BoomerangStrutting her stuff: Nicole Scherzinger paraded her incredible pins in a pair of skimpy leather hotpants in her video for new track BoomerangRacy: The 34-year-old singer certainly didn’t hold back as she showcased her incredible figure in a decidedly skimpy ensembleRacy: The 34-year-old singer certainly didn't hold back as she showcased her incredible figure in a decidedly skimpy ensemble Vampy: Nicole teamed her sexy hotpants with a fierce dog-tooth check jacket and skyscraper heelsVampy: Nicole teamed her sexy hotpants with a fierce dog-tooth check jacket and skyscraper heels Working it! Nicole have her all as she strutted her stuff in her skyscraper heelsWorking it! Nicole have her all as she strutted her stuff in her skyscraper heelsTeaming her tiny black shorts with a fierce dog-tooth jacket and vampy leather gloves, Nicole proved she was back to her sexy best by writhing around on the floor as she belted out the pop-tastic tune. In another scene, the X Factor judge had her long raven locks transformed into corn rows as incredible CGI effects made the dreams of most men come true by projecting scores of images of the star on to the screen.

Although this was a much more demure look, Nicole made sure to suitably flash the flesh in a plunging top and form-fitting black trousers which emphasized her toned legs. While in one shot, the former Pussycat Dolls singer displayed her curves in a vampy PVC skintight dress, another saw her show off her ballerina-like grace, jumping up into the air to perform a series of incredible moves.

She’s got The X Factor! The star paraded her incredible pins in a pair of vampy leather hotpantsShe's got The X Factor! The star paraded her incredible pins in a pair of vampy leather hotpants Scher-mazing! Nicole shot the racy video in West London late last yearScher-mazing! Nicole shot the racy video in West London late last yearShe means business! Nicole certainly looked like she was the boss as she strutted her stuffShe means business! Nicole certainly looked like she was the boss as she strutted her stuff Vampy: The star flaunted her curves in a form-fitting PVC dress, which she teamed with a trendy top knot and gold hoop earringsVampy: The star flaunted her curves in a form-fitting PVC dress, which she teamed with a trendy top knot and gold hoop earrings Later in the video, the raven-haired beauty switched into a slinky robe and fierce leather knee-high boots as she showcased her incredible dance skills. It was a change of direction for Nicole, with her more recent videos showing off her demure side and natural beauty.

Throughout most of the shot, the star made sure to grab attention in a daring mesh dress and fishnet dress, which certainly left little to the imagination when it came to her incredible figure.

Dancing queen: Nicole showcased her graceful ballet movesDancing queen: Nicole showcased her graceful ballet moves Sexy: In one scene, Nicole opted for a daring plunging topSexy: In one scene, Nicole opted for a daring plunging topChange of direction: Nicole transformed her usually flowing raven locks into a corn row styleChange of direction: Nicole transformed her usually flowing raven locks into a corn row style Seeing double: Nicole’s image was transformed into a dazzling display thanks to CGI effectsSeeing double: Nicole's image was transformed into a dazzling display thanks to CGI effects

Proudly introducing the new video on her Twitter page, she wrote: ‘It’s here! #Boomerang is live now only on @VEVO_UK!’ Thanking her fans for their support, Nicole wrote on her Twitter page: ‘Thanku so much 4 ur love n support today for my new single #BOOMerang.’

And despite her apparent ease in front of the camera, Nicole confessed to Fabulous magazine that she isn’t always so confident.

Fierce: Nicole changed into a skimpy robe and leather knee-high boots as she performed a series of sexy movesFierce: Nicole changed into a skimpy robe and leather knee-high boots as she performed a series of sexy movesThe dream: The star was surrounded by a number of mirror images of herselfThe dream: The star was surrounded by a number of mirror images of herself Her big comeback: Nicole proudly announced her new video via her Twitter page on Friday morningHer big comeback: Nicole proudly announced her new video via her Twitter page on Friday morning Daring: The singer left little to the imagination in a mesh and fishnet minidressDaring: The singer left little to the imagination in a mesh and fishnet minidress

She said: ‘I get very shy if I have to go to an event or walk a red carpet and be around a lot of people. It takes me a while to come out of my shell. I’m a loner – in the [Pussycat] Dolls, when I was in college, always a loner.’

‘I think it’s because I’m always in work mode with a million things in my head,” Nicole continued. “It’s just how I was made. It’s got me to where I am today.’

Neon brights: The star covered up her raunchy dress with a brightly-coloured biker jacketNeon brights: The star covered up her raunchy dress with a brightly-coloured biker jacketBold: Nicole swept her raven locks off her face into a high ponytail and wore a slick of fuchsia lipstickBold: Nicole swept her raven locks off her face into a high ponytail and wore a slick of fuchsia lipstick On the prowl: Nicole left little to the imagination in the tight mesh dress as she promotes her latest singleOn the prowl: Nicole left little to the imagination in the tight mesh dress as she promotes her latest single Daring: Nicole showed off her incredible curves in the dress, which left little to the imaginationDaring: Nicole showed off her incredible curves in the dress, which left little to the imagination Shocking: Nicole’s dress certainly showed off her slim figure in the dress, which made a VPL very difficult to avoidShocking: Nicole's dress certainly showed off her slim figure in the dress, which made a VPL very difficult to avoid

Boomerang is the lead single from her second solo studio album, the follow-up to 2011’s Killer Love. The music video is expected soon after the song’s debut.