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You Have Never Seen Alesha Dixon Like This Before…

Article published on instyle.co.uk. Written by Chloe Mac Donnell.

Less Strictly, more stripped-back. Meet the updated Alesha Dixon from our November issue…

‘When I look back at pictures now, I’m like, what on earth were we thinking. But at the time, it really worked and was of the moment,’ says Alesha Dixon, reminiscing about her Mis-Teeq wardrobe days. Together with bandmates Sabrina Washington and Su-Elise Nash, the popstar racked up three top-ten, double-platinum albums and seven consecutive top-ten singles across Europe. And, of course, there were the outfits. ‘I’ve got a wardrobe full of stage clothes because I think they’re sentimental. I don’t think I could wear them now, but I definitely want to keep them as memorabilia. I still have the denim catsuit from the Be With Me video.’

Post Mis-Teeq (they split in 2005), it would have been really easy for Alesha to step out of the spotlight and enjoy the royalties from their floor-filler hits, such as Scandalous. But instead, she set about building her own career. After winning the glitter disco ball in Strictly Come Dancing in 2007 (she still has one of the highest average scores of any contestant to ever take part in the show), she released a solo album that earned her a Brit nomination.

Next, she joined the Strictly judging panel, replacing Arlene Phillips, which led to the BBC being accused of ageism. But her bubbly personality and genuine advice quickly won over the viewers. Unsurprisingly, three years later, Simon Cowell poached her to join him on Britain’s Got Talent, saying, ‘She’s feisty, opinionated and knows what it’s like to be a competitor and judge.’ Here, she talks walk-in wardrobes, trolling and being business savvy. Plus, check out the video below to see Alesha show off her goat training skills. Yep, you read that right…

What did you splurge on with your first pay cheque?
‘Me and my fellow Mis-Teeq ladies would have a 15-minute window spare in a crazy day, so it was like a supermarket sweep. As a young girl, I never really had a great wardrobe. I was always borrowing friends’ clothes. And so the opportunity to go shopping with that freedom was a really big deal. I loved it.’

What’s your wardrobe like now?
‘When I refurbished my house, I made sure to create a sort of dream walk-in wardrobe. In my old house, I always used to struggle for storage space or couldn’t find certain items of clothing. So now I have it in sections, like my jeans in one part, my Britain’s Got Talent stuff in another.’

People get very opinionated on Twitter about what you wear. Do you read the comments?
‘I’m really laid-back about it. I don’t know if it’s my age or the fact I’ve just been doing it so long, but I’ve got a good perspective on what’s important in life. I think, when people watch the show, they want to see statement pieces and they want to see us having fun with fashion. And I always like to be slightly on the more risk-taking side.’

Simon gets slagged off a lot about those jeans. Do you ever try to help him out by offering fashion guidance?
‘I don’t give him any stick or any advice. He knows what he likes and it works for him. David has lovely Tom Ford suits made for him and he always has an interesting tie. But I do feel for them because I think, “Oh how boring, putting on another suit every week”.’

Tell us about the record label you set up…
‘The music industry comes with a lot of politics and a lot of games. So in a way I am the underdog because I don’t have a huge machine. But at the same time, I have artistic freedom. I can make a record on my own terms. And I have that personal sense of achievement. I’ve done it all myself.’

How do you think the music industry has changed since you were starting out in Mis-Teeq?
‘I don’t even think they had MySpace when we started out. Back in those days, it felt like you had to work a lot harder to get recognition. Nowadays, artists can create their own hype. They have a quicker way of connecting with the public. For us, we had to get DJs to believe in our music and play it, and then hope it would be picked up by the bigger stations.’

Have you always been quite savvy when it comes to the business side of the industry?
‘Once Mis-Teeq became too big for us to manage ourselves, we hired Elton John’s manager. I’ve always been very hands-on because I’ve seen how artists get taken advantage of. It’s very risky and nothing is guaranteed. I think I still have the same passion that I had as an 18 year old wanting to get into the industry, but now I make smarter choices.’

Let’s talk image. What’s the secret to your healthy glow?
‘I have a trainer, but I don’t work out religiously. For me, I would love to exercise twice a week, but it depends on my schedule. When I do work out, I do a lot of body conditioning stuff, like lunges and squats. Performing on stage is definitely where I get my heart rate up.’

Any post-workout beauty essentials we need to know about?
‘Coconut oil. I use it on my skin and on my daughter’s hair. I also really love Sisley products. They’re the one thing I really indulge in. But I do try to keep it simple when I’m not working. I get made up quite a lot for my job, so when I’m at home, I kind of do the complete opposite.’

 

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The last time we met Alesha Dixon, she hinted that a wedding was on the horizon.

Boyfriend Azuka Ononye was proposing “all the time” and she said no one should be surprised if one day they just ran off, got hitched and told everyone about it later.

Today, she’s not quite as convinced it will happen like that. Or indeed at all.

In fact, she says Azuka, 35 – known as AZ, pronounced “Ay-Zee” – has stopped bothering to ask.

(more…)

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Original article has been published on mirror.co.uk on February 7th, 2016.

Performer and presenter, Alesha Dixon, 37, on the 10th anniversary of BGT, being a working mum – and why she won’t feel guilty about scoffing a box of Celebrations…

Perched on the end of a creamy white sofa in an exclusive suite at a smart London hotel, Alesha Dixon greets Love Sunday magazine as if we were old friends.

The Britain’s Got Talent judge is just as gorgeous, bubbly and engaging in the flesh as she is on the talent show, and when we have some minor technical issues with our recording device, she lets out a long and genuine laugh.

“Use your phone, they do everything these days,” she says, helpfully.

It’s been eight years since she was crowned Strictly Come Dancing champion, but Alesha is still in fantastic shape – she looks toned and slim.

She jumped judging panels from Strictly to BGT five years ago, and now her seat has been confirmed for the 10th series of BGT, we’ll be seeing a lot more of her later this year. We ask her if she’s excited to get back to filming.

“I was with David [Walliams] last night, actually. We both really look forward to it,” she nods. “I can’t believe how quickly it has come around; this will be the fifth year us four judges [Alesha, David, Simon Cowell and Amanda Holden] have been together, and it’s the 10th anniversary so it’s going to be a big one. We’ll make sure we celebrate in style!”

And what does she enjoy the most?

“I love sitting next to David, he’s so funny. Also, the fact we don’t know who or what is coming out, so we are always surprised,” she says.

“You’d think that after doing it for so many years you’d learn to compose yourself, but there’s always someone or something that shocks you. That’s why it’s so successful, because it stays interesting.”

Although BGT is not back on our screens until April, the auditions are currently underway and Alesha has no time to rest.

“This is a busy time of year for me,” she says. “I have my new album coming out, so I’ll be doing some live dates around the country in March or April.”

And Alesha has just become the face of Swisse, an Australian vitamin company. We’re curious to know if she credits her healthy glow to a strict supplement routine.

She laughs. “Not strict, no – but I’ve always been very conscious about just being healthy and taking care of myself. I have fun with it and I don’t really stress, I think that’s the key.”

Alesha and her partner Azuka Ononye [a former backing dancer] have been together since 2012, but the star has always kept her relationship out of the spotlight. They have a daughter, Azura, now two – but if you thought being a mum would slow Alesha down, you’d be wrong.

“I’m really lucky because I have a great support system at home – when I’m working, she’s with her dad, and when he’s working, she’s with her nan. I’m not doing a 9-5 job, so every week is different; one week I might be at home for three or four days, and another week it’ll be busier.

“That’s the beauty of my job. I am one of the lucky ones: I have a lot of friends who don’t have that flexibility, and only see their kids at nights and weekends.”

It sounds like she has everything under control…

“I knew I always wanted to be my own boss,” Alesha tells us, when we ask her if she always wanted to be a performer. “My mum would probably say I’ve been my own boss since primary school. It was probably always my destiny, to be honest.”

Looking at her, you would never guess Alesha was nearing 40, and her flawless skin shows no sign of any ‘stressed mum’ wrinkles. She doesn’t look a day older than when she first came on to the music scene in 2001 as one third of girlband Mis-Teeq. So how does she do it?

“My motto is simplicity – with everything. Try to get a good night’s sleep, drink lots and lots of water, exercise when you can, take your supplements [she winks] and smile. That’s all we need,” she says.

“Oh, and smiling does make a big difference,” she adds, throwing us a friendly grin. It seems this girl really does live by her motto.

Although, as health-conscious as she is, it’s good to hear she does have some guilty pleasures, too…

“If I feel like eating a pizza… or a whole tub of Celebrations, I’ll do it,” she shrugs. “I’m not one of those regimental people who never eats certain things – that’s not life.

“You’ve got to live; you’ve got to eat what you want and treat yourself. Don’t beat yourself up about it. You know when you’ve gone too far so just go, “Okay, I ate my pizza, I ate (all) my chocolate, so tomorrow I’m going to eat well.”

“If 80% of the time you’re being healthy, then 20% of the time just do what you want.”

We couldn’t agree with you more, Alesha!

How does Alesha spend her Sunday?

What did you do last Sunday?

I was working. The Britain’s Got Talent auditions were in London so I was busy with that. But on a normal weekend I like to spend time with family.

PJ day or an active day?

I’m really busy right now so I would really love to just have a PJ day, although I’m lucky because I can dictate the days I work, so I try to make sure everything is balanced.

Tea or coffee?

Not coffee, but I’d probably wake up and grab a jasmine tea or green juice.

What makes a weekend for you?

A good weekend would be a day off! I love having time with my family and good food is always nice. I’m generally a healthy person but sometimes I do like to indulge.

 

Alesha Dixon is the UK Ambassador for Swisse, stocked at Boots. For more information, see swisse.co.uk.