The pale and interesting Girls Alouder and style icon talks to Celebs On Sunday about finding her fashion groove, and getting the band back together (scream)…
We’ve long been members of Team Ginge. Because Nicola Roberts is a bit different from your average, formulaic pop star. Not intimidatingly beautiful, thus not sent to make us feel cacky about ourselves, she’s paler than a white-washed wall and proud of it.
Plus, since Girls Aloud went on their sabbatical, she’s made cool-as-owt solo music to please herself and not the charts (they all say that, but in Nicola’s case it’s true).
And now, she’s a judge on our fave fashion show Styled To Rock, in which a bunch of young upstarts compete to design an outfit for Rihanna to wear on stage, the final of which airs this week.
We’re sat in a pub in London’s Primrose Hill waiting for Nicola’s entrance, and we’re expecting big things. The Girls Alouder is a fully fledged fashionista these days, muse for her Styled To Rock judging mate, Henry Holland, and a regular on the front row at London Fashion Week.
But instead of some edgy, high-end appearance, we’re pleased to report the 27-year-old looks, well, refreshingly regular.
Nicola protests when we describe her as a style icon, although this is her being modest (but who would go, ‘Yes, I am in fact the most fashionable, best-dressed person in all the land’, to be fair?) and tells us she is in actual fact clad in head-to-toe stuff we could buy in the Arndale Centre – Asos jumper, jeans and boots from Topshop.
‘So I’m super high street today,’ she says, although she is wearing mahoosive rock star shades, so dark she almost sits on a non-existent bench she thinks she’s seen). ‘Oh, but my bag is Mulberry,’ she mutters.
We’re here to talk about the show, but there’s something else we want to know more. Which is when the blazes are the Best Girl Band In The World Ever getting back together?
‘Argh, I just want to say everything and I can’t…OK, um, what can I say? It’s sooner than you think,’ she says. ‘I can’t say anything else, but we are all super excited, and it’s gonna be good.’
The rumour mill suggests it will be early next year, so ‘sooner than we think’ sounds like later this year…
Our theory is they’ll do it to mark 10 years of fame, to coincide with the time they won their places in the band on Popstars: The Rivals. Nicola was the baby of the competition, barely out of school uniform and living in Runcorn, with no money.
‘I always liked how a new top would make me feel or I’d be begging my mum for £5 for that new belt but we didn’t have any money to be into fashion. And where I’m from there was no need to get dressed up, so it would just be tracksuits – if you dressed in any way other than how everybody else did, you’d have looked stupid. And then I got into the band and we started to work with stylists and my interest in fashion grew.”
And now there’s Styled To Rock, Nic’s latest project, for which she was cherry-picked by executive producer Rihanna as a judge.
The show has seen young designers make stage outfits for the likes of The Saturdays and Katy Perry (Jonathan Ross Tweeted it’s ‘a fabulously weird show. Nicola Roberts reacts to a bad outfit like it’s a war crime.’).
‘I was really flattered to be asked. When Rihanna explained the show, I just thought, “My God, this is the biggest amount of fun ever.”’
Nicola has had a blast working with her fashwan pal Henry Holland. ‘It was interesting to see him in a work environment. I’m a bit of a joker, and he’d be the one saying, “OK, serious now” then he’d put on this camera face where he kind of looks down and pouts his lips. I’m like, “What do you want me to do with that?” That’s not the Henry I know”.’
One of the biggest moments of the show was when Nicola’s BFF Cheryl Cole was the guest.
‘The designs were crap, so bad. The week before they were all amazing and everyone was on a high. Then Cheryl’s week came and I don’t know what happened,’ she says.
‘I hadn’t seen the finished work until I walked in with Cheryl, so it’s not like I could prepare her. I saw it as she saw it. I’d laugh and she’d be like, “What you laughing at?”. I was just like, “This isn’t going to work”. With best friends you have a secret language the world shouldn’t see. I had to appreciate how much work the designers had done but at the same time my best friend needed an outfit. I was like, “S**t, what could she possibly wear?”
This Tuesday sees Heidi (we love Heidi, we think she’s Nic’s fave too, but she won’t say), Zainab and Jacqueline, go head-to-head. And once that’s done, Nicola can get on with getting Girls Aloud back on the road. Come on girls, your country needs you…
Strictly Nicola’s fault
Kimberley Walsh is busy on the Strictly dance floor (the only thing that may scupper our theory for a reunion before the year is out) – which she ‘blames’ Nicola and Cheryl for getting her in to. ‘We talked about it and I was like, “Listen, you’re an amazing dancer – you’ve just come from Shrek, get back out there,” and she was like, “I dunno”, and I said, “Kimberley, you’ve got to do it”,’ she explains. ‘People are going to get to know a side to Kimberley that you can’t not like. As soon as she’s got her little dancing shoes on, she’s so cute, she’s got these little facial expressions – you know how babies are like bundles of joy? She’s like that, but in a woman.’
Meet The Styled To Rock finalists
Nicola says: ‘She’s so super vibrant and bouncing off the walls. At the beginning a lot of the other contestants wrote her off because she is quite ditzy. But we realised her personality is part of the reason her designs are so good. Her work has got better and better every week.’
Nicola says: ‘She’s our dark horse. She was quiet on set and we felt like shaking her and saying, “Get out of your shell”. She’d hide behind her hair. When it was between her and Steve for the final, Henry was fighting for Steve – from a technical perspective you can’t fault Steve, but in terms of creating something for Rihanna to be excited by, I didn’t think Steve was that. So we had a clash. Then I thought, “I hope she does well now I’ve fought for her”.’
Nicola says: ‘She’s an amazing designer – like Heidi she brings so much imagination and creativity into her clothes. Some of it was way out there – the outfit she made for Jake Shears from the Scissor Sisters did something for me. She’s more of a conceptual designer, she’ll be brilliant doing stage wear and costumes, rather than trend stuff.’
Nicola’s fashion confessions
What’s been your biggest fashion disaster?
God, so many. I’ll even look at things I had on last month and be like, ‘What was I thinking?’ Six weeks ago I was wearing Creepers every day, and now I’m like, ‘I can’t put one on’. I move on fast.
Give us some outfit specifics…
I hate every outfit I’ve worn in a video. In Sound Of The Underground, I was wearing felt pink trousers, a little black bomber jacket and God-awful heels and they dyed my hair the brightest orange you could possibly get. I was like, ‘Cheers for that, I actually liked the colour of my own hair before you got your hands on it.’
Do you ever have ‘Can’t be bothered’ days?
Yeah, I’m my most comfortable when I’m in cotton tracksuit bottoms, Adidas trainers, a T-shirt and my hair in a ponytail. I feel most like myself like that.
Who is your style icon?
I like Rihanna’s attitude towards clothes. It all comes from who she is, and what she wants to say. I don’t like it when it looks like someone has just been plonked in a designer dress.
How’s your boyfriend Charlie Fennell’s taste in clothes?
He’s into fashion, his side of the wardrobe is bigger than mine. He’s got this thing about colour coordination so I’m trying to pull him out of the matchy-matchy.
The final of Styled To Rock is on Tuesday, Sky Living, 9pm
Source – The Mirror