What’s your relationship with Amanda like?
From day one, we’ve always got on. Before the first show we went for a coffee and made an allegiance. We wanted to set an example to women that they can work together, get on, respect one another and not be in fear of each other. We’re not competing – although some of our outfits might on the live shows! And we like each other. It’s not about the drama or conflict between the judges, and I wouldn’t want to work on a show like that. I’ve surprised myself that I’m still here six series later.
Amanda was worried about women judging her harshly as a result of her affair. Did you have an opinion before you met her?
I liked her before we met. I don’t like to judge people – she says as a judge on BGT – but who is anyone to persecute another human being for something, like they are holier than thou? That’s one of my biggest pet peeves. We’re all flawed in some shape or form and none of us are perfect little angels. I think it’s unfair, as she’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. I’ll always have her back and defend her. I really look up to Amanda as she’s a fighter and a “go out there and get it” kind of girl.
And how about your relationship with Simon the boss?
Simon’s not my boss. There’s only one boss of me and that’s Azura. She’s the only person in the world who can boss me around and get away with it. I’m sure Amanda and I tend to put Simon in his place more. I have a great relationship with him and love being in his company as I find him hilarious. He often takes the mickey out of my clothes because – especially when I do BGT – I try to be a bit edgy. He often looks at me and is like: “What are you wearing?”
What did you make of your outfits receiving complaints to Ofcom last series?
Cool, right? I blame Amanda. Honestly, it doesn’t bother me at all and it’s quite funny. If I sit and analyse it, I’m like: “People actually took the time to complain?” I’d love to meet them and have a chat because I find it quite fascinating. I might show some skin, why not? I’m a young woman who wants to feel and look good.
Have you experienced sexism in the industry?
Yeah, probably all the time. I never allow being female or the colour of my skin to be reasons not to succeed. I think women have to overcome a lot more, just in the fact that we live in a time where men get paid more money for doing the same job. Women are so strong, and that’s one thing they can’t take away from us.
What would you do if you discovered David Walliams was being paid more than you?
I’d write a complaint letter and get Ofcom on the phone. It would be an injustice!
What are your attitudes towards ageing?
I’ve never felt better. The first year after having a baby, it takes a long time to feel yourself again. You accept it as it’s part of giving birth, but I’ve got my body to a place where I actually prefer it now. Another reason is that everything I’ve been through in my life that has been challenging happened as a child and through my 20s. Now in my 30s, I’m with the love of my life [long-term partner Azuka Ononye, 36] and have a beautiful daughter. I’m at a point where all the stresses have gone, I’ve learnt how to relax and be more in the moment. Ageing has proved to be really good because my life only seems to get better!
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from the bad times?
Worrying is a stagnant energy that doesn’t get you anywhere. You only hurt yourself when you hold on to anger or bitterness. Unfortunately you do have to go through things to come out the other end.
You kept your pregnancy with Azura secret for six months, but Amanda guessed. Did it bring you closer together?
Yeah, it was lovely. In hindsight, I don’t know why I kept it quiet for so long. In my mind I was like: “People still think I’m single, let alone pregnant!” I thought if I announced it then it would be bump watch during the live shows. The day after the final, I told my family. My nan was furious as I’d known for six months!
If you and Azuka decide to have another baby, would you do the same thing?
If I ever fell pregnant again I would be normal about it now. Becoming a mum was another sense of freedom because there was nothing to hide. I’m at that age where if I am going to have another baby then I need to start thinking about it, but at the moment I’m enjoying Azura starting nursery and getting a bit of us time again.
You’ve been in a relationship with Azuka since 2012. Is marriage on the cards?
Yeah, why not? I’m very open-minded. I’m at a place in my life where if I never got married again that’s OK, and if he asked me to marry him I’d say yes. I wouldn’t rule it out, but I’m not chasing it either. We’re in a really good place, so I’m happy in the now. But I still believe in what marriage represents.
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