The dancing you did on TV looked pretty sexy. Did you ever get turned on?
I’ll tell you a secret. Most people on Strictly Come Dancing are really horny all the time. Imagine you’re being groped for five hours a day, hips rubbing together, hands everywhere… it’s like foreplay, but no actual sex. You’re not getting any punani at the end!

Presumably, red-blooded men like John Barnes had some embarrassing moments with wood?
The pros have been doing it since they were eight years old, so to them it’s just a job. I’m sure the male celebs may have been at risk, but they never went into precise details.

How do you get rid of your arousal?
Well, I’m single, so a cold shower and a cup of hot chocolate before bed, of course.

So when you next pull, there’s going to be a lucky, if very exhausted, man somewhere?
That’s what I hope.

You come from Welwyn Garden City. There’s no football team and nobody in our office really knows where it is. What should we know about your ’hood?
It’s a tiny little new town off the A1. There are lots of woods and horses. We have a Shredded Wheat factory. And… er… Nick Faldo is from there.

Sounds captivating. Is it plagued by a rural crime wave fuelled by boredom and cider rage?
To be honest, it’s very quiet, and you rarely hear a police siren or an ambulance. Occasionally there are some teenagers fighting on a Saturday night, but that’s it.

When you toured with Mis-Teeq did you have loads of groupies?
Our fans were mostly teenage girls, but we did have some older male ones. They’d wait backstage with teddy bears and poems they’d written for us. It was a little bit disturbing to be 21 and have a grey-haired 60-year-old man giving you a teddy.

 

 

Now that you’re 29, do you still use embarrassing yoof talk, such as getting jiggy with your boo and peeps?
I have never used the word jiggy.

It’s in one of your songs…
No way!

We bet you £50.
Deal.

Okay, we’ll Google it at the end. There are also quite a few mentions of drinking Cristal in your songs. Are you an expensive date?
No, that’s such a contradiction to who I really am because I’m quite happy with a beer. As for dating, take me anywhere with nice food. Pizza Express is fine, or Wagamama.

What sort of guys do you go for?
All sorts. I was speaking to a friend about this the other day and I realised I don’t have a type. I’m not restricting myself to black guys or white guys, brunettes or blondes. All types of looks are okay, but it has to be someone older than me. I think if you’re a girl in your 20s and you go out with a guy in his 30s, your maturity levels are more likely to connect.

You think men take longer to grow up?
I didn’t say that! I’ve dated younger guys and that’s cool, but they’re not necessarily the sort of guys I’d want to settle down with. I guess I want someone from 29 to 35.

Does dancing make you a better lover?
Ha ha, yes. It gives you more stamina. Men who can dance are very attractive. You don’t have to be a pro, just so long as you look like you have rhythm and can feel the music.

So Michael Jackson is a great shag?
Ha ha! I have no comment on that whatsoever.

 

 

Where do you get chatted up most, parties or nightclubs?
I always get approached by men in airports.

Do they ask you to carry a suitcase through Customs? One that appears to be filled with talcum powder?
No, these are proper chat-ups. There must be something about if you see a woman alone waiting for her flight, it’s okay to come over.

So we should all get down to Gatwick?
Maybe it’s the queues. Talking to people in queues is great – they can’t get away without losing their place. I’m always impressed when a guy isn’t too shy to say hello. But always at the back of my mind I have that unfortunate fear that they may be talking to me because they’ve recognised me from the TV, rather than they’ve seen a girl they like.

Could you date a ballroom dancer? By which we mean someone dressed like a gay pirate after a bomb’s gone off in a sequin factory…
No. In the dancing world, all those spangles are fine. And it’s nice for the girls to see a shirt open to the navel, too. We want to ogle a bit of chest. But not in everyday life, no.

How about the tight trousers?
Well, everybody likes a good buttock.

Most people like two. But moving on, what are you like in the morning?
I’m romantic. I like a kiss and I’m not worried about morning breath. I’ll even make breakfast in bed. Eggs and bacon and Earl Grey tea.

If you eat so much, how come you’re so skinny?
I burn off lots of energy. But my body may change as I get older. My Jamaican nan has massive gazungas that sit on her belt. She’s a proper West Indian woman. I hope I get her boobs. And a nice arse that sticks out and isn’t just a flat extension of my back. Maybe I should eat more Jamaican food. I love curried goat and jerk chicken and pig’s tail.

Jesus, what’s that?
It’s like a long piece of pink meat. Ha ha! You eat it in chunks. Actually, can I say that my ideal man would be a chef. I could be seduced with food, no joke. It would be my dream to have a man come to my kitchen and cook.

What’s the worst thing you’ve seen on a man’s body?
I feel sorry for my ex-husband’s girlfriend because my name is tattooed on his arm. What a shame. Ha ha! Imagine waking up next to someone every morning and seeing their ex’s name?

Are you sure he hasn’t had it changed like Johnny Depp did when he changed “Winona Forever” to “Wino Forever”?, Maybe he’s altered “I love Alesha” to “I love Ale”?
No. And it must be a nightmare for her. But personally I’ve not seen anything too awful. I have had a man undress in front of me and then thought, “Oh my god, how do I get out of here?” It was tiny. I don’t want to say anything to make men feel insecure, but that definitely put me off.

It could have been a grower not a shower. If you’d stuck around…
Aaargh! Next question!

Okay. Have you ever been the victim of a bizarre injury?
I’ve hit myself in the face with my own ponytail a few times… but probably the weirdest was when I fell into a drain. I was coming home from a club at 2am and someone had left a manhole cover off. It was dark, I tumbled in, and I got a nasty scar on my leg. If only they’d had those adverts for Claims Direct back then. I’d be rich…

Do you feel guilty about blokes being forced to watch Strictly Come Dancing?
No way. It’s no different to girls being forced to watch football. Anyway I’ve had sneaky messages from guys on Facebook saying how much they enjoy the show, but have to go to the pub afterwards for a pint to restore their masculinity. I feel sorry for men sometimes. It’s so odd that you’re not really allowed to do things like watch dancing or cry.

Is old dancing like the waltz and the cha-cha sexier?
Absolutely. The ballroom dancing is very sexy. You can lean in and whisper to each other while you’re on the floor. The Latin dancing is very physical and flirty. Just go to a salsa club.

We hear you have movie coming up…
Yes, it’s called Milestones. It’s set in the London jazz scene. Andy Garcia is a talent scout and I play a singer. I got to write my own song for the film, so it’s a great break for me.

Is the pay good?
Not bad. Why?

We refer you to the Mis-Teeq song You’re Gonna Stay. Specifically the line, “And you know I’m feeling jiggy because tonight we’re gonna play…”
Um… I’ll get back to you.

Original interview by Grub Smith in the February 2008 issue of FHM UK magazine