Well…as you know it’s my constant ambition to look glamorous, flawless and immaculately put together when I’m on stage. The blended make-up, the large diamond jewelry, the coiffed hair, the encrusted stoned crystal shoes, the Barbra Streisand manicured nails and the ultimate dress. Right down to a fine perfume and freshly powdered t-zone. Its a lot of work, but I know when I feel this way I can give my best on stage to my audience up for a glamorous night.
However, this “high-bar” of glamour and perfection doesn’t always work out, and sometimes there’s no time to fix it, I’m flung in-front of an audience with only a quickly positioned safety pin holding together my modesty, or an opened back dress, one earring, or the wrong dress completely.
My first real bespoke dress I had made, which was jaw droopingly beautiful, was when I performed on ITV’s Britain’s got talent finals. Made by Stephen Adnitt, who designed all the strictly and Dancing on ice dresses, his team made a stunning creation. It was floor length, trimmed in ostrich and in a bright white fabric. This dress was so so beautiful. The stones were all Swarovksi and Preciosa crystals. A jaw dropping mass of large flat backed sew on stones in teardrops, and circular mixed. I was then encrusted in the gaps with thousands of flat backed hot fix stones in clear, AB, and ruby red to match my hair. The stones go from a sweetheart neckline encrusted right down to my waist. I was heaven!
In the camera rehearsal I was shown how I would rise up through the floor at the top of a illuminated staircase. I then had to walk down the stairs and was met at the bottom by 6 male dancers in tuxedos. I mean it doesn’t get better than that does it.
So I went round the back of the set, positioned myself on the lift, and they asked me how quick I wanted to ascend. I didn’t know as I’ve never risen up before on a lift. The guy said “you can go slow or have a “toaster lift”. “What’s a toaster lift” I said, “this!” He said, and before I could say another word I was catapulted up to the top of the stairs literally like a slice of toast flying out of a toaster. My feet left the floor at the top for a second as I flew off the floor and I screamed. So upon lowering, I said “a slow raise please” giving him an evil look. He knew what he was doing the evil man.
We rehearsed an elegant slow rise and I then proceeded to walk down there stairs with all my crystals glistening in the spotlight. The best sparkle you’ve ever seen, the fire that amount of stone throws back in dazzling light is incredible. Holding a mic in one hand I descended one step, two steps and on the third my heel got stuck in the dress and yes….down I fell, luckily caught before I hit the ground by a muscular boy dancer…a nice surprise end to my trip. I didn’t plan it I promise.
The timing for these Britain’s got talent days are so limited, with all the acts having a limited length of time to rehearse before it goes live that night. After my fall the producer shouts’ “we need to reset from the lift please and wardrobe sort that dress, she cant fall!” With that the wardrobe team come rushing over with a massive pair of scissors and literally whilst I’m stood there, wearing it, they slice up the front of the dress and cut a massive ‘V” shape out of it to make a split so my legs are free. They tack the feather around the new hem in 5 seconds flat and I’m back on the lift. Now with only a small tuft of ostrich covering the…”essentials” shall we say… with a new very high split. Now not only was I worried, I also risked giving them a Sharon stone flash, onlywith Bridget Jones knickers on.
Luckily it did work with the split, as I didn’t fall on live TV, phew. If you watch my BGT final performance on YouTube of me singing “Diamonds are a girls best friend” you see I asked for the boys to be lining the stairs, so I could descend by taking each boys hand. Watch the first boys hand I grab, I take it so tight to not fall again you see his hand shake and buckle with the shock of my grip.
Two weeks later I was asked to perform on main stage Cardiff Pride festival, I was meant to perform directly after the Pop group ETERNAL. The organizer came in my dressing room and said Eternal are running late can you go on before them, “of course, how long do I have till I’m on” I said. “8 minutes” He said. So… in a mad flap my dresser gets me ready, I step into the BGT white dress and as he pulls up the zip to the top, and it bursts open! A broken zip, and now 4 minutes left. Luckily I had packed a second dress, which was a massive ball gown. So, not only had I clearly enjoyed celebrating post BGT success with a few to many chips and wine, that i I then hadn’t be squeezed up the little steps to the open air stage in a massive ball gown. Not the glamorous arrival I was planning on.
Other disasters include a live band having to be stopped as they played music for a quick costume change where I got my feathers stuck in a zip and could. Not get out of a dress. Having to stop the show it took three men and a large pair of scissors to get me out. The “Quick” Change ended up taking 20 minutes. I also once got a lace covered dress caught on a sequin table cloth onstage and as I walked away I pulled with me an entire table of drinks and a vase of flowers. All pouring down the back of my dress and to make it worse I was mid song!
From opened back dresses pinned shut, two left feet of the wrong shoes packed, to wrong dresses, falling over, and hats falling off…its all happened to me infant of many people. But in the world of showbiz the show must go on.