LOOKING back, I always hated being this pale.
I would put body make-up on to go and have [costume] fittings with the band because I hated my skin tone.
I felt like once I took my clothes off, the seamstress or the stylist was going to think: “Oh my god, she’s so white!”
I was so wrapped up in it and so self-conscious that I let it get so much bigger than it was.
Even from when I was a very small child, I knew that being pale wasn’t considered beautiful, because all the adults were always using sunbeds.
When I was at school, it would be a blazing hot day and I would ask my parents if I could wear tights because I was so embarrassed about how pale my legs were.
They just let me do what I wanted to do, there was no big sit-down to see if something was going on with me.
Boys at school would joke: “You’re so pale, you look like death warmed up.”
I think they would hear it from their dads at home, because that perception of women just trickles down, doesn’t it?
When I auditioned for Girls Aloud in 2002, I became more aware of my looks.
The reason I wanted to be in the band was because I could sing.
I didn’t think about how it was going to make me feel and the fact that I might look different from the other girls [Cheryl Tweedy,
Sarah Harding, Nadine Coyle and Kimberley Walsh]. Once I got into the band, the magnitude of all those other things just became so apparent and I saw comments about me in the media, from people on television and the radio, other celebrities and the public.
Everything was related to my appearance – nothing was about what I sounded like.
It felt horrible for me as a teenager in a new world.
But still, I would always think I’d rather be me than the person saying those things.