To celebrate her 10 years in pop, we created Sophie Ellis Bextor, 31, her very own circus with all the fun of the fair. And despite her showgirl good looks, she insists that with laddered tights, paint-sploshing tendencies and a ‘moon face’, she’s more like one of the clowns…
Before meeting Sophie, we thought she might be an ice queen. We thought she might be serious and, dare we say it, a touch condescending? We shake our head in shame because we were wrong. Yes she’s articulate and, if we’re honest, a tad sparing with the smiles, but that’s because she’s no faker. And she does occasionally betray her steely demeanour with flashes of silliness, involving tales of her kids and husband. She married Richard Jones (The Feeling’s bassist) in 2005 and clearly adores him – not that she’d gush. She just can’t help affectionately peppering his name throughout the answers to our questions. ‘When it comes to my family I never quite know how protective I have to be, or what I should or shouldn’t say,’ she ponders. As a mum of two boys, Sonny, six, and Kit, one, she insists the family are ‘boring’ and do normal things like getting the tube, although music obviously plays a big part in their lives. ‘We were on the train and someone had headphones on, Sonny could hear the bassline and recognised it as one of my songs,’ explains the singer. ‘It’s the same with The Feeling’s stuff, he’ll hear it and say, “Is that you daddy?”’
As for her yummy-mummy exterior, the daughter of Blue Peter legend Janet Ellis guffaws at the prospect. Arriving at the shoot in a vintage navy mini-dress, tights and ballet pumps, which she insists is ‘dressed down’ (not by our standards, but whatevs), she says she’s never happier than when making a mess. ‘I don’t know why people think I’m polished – I often leave the house with buttons missing and ladders in my tights. I had a bucket of paint thrown at me in the video for my new single Bittersweet and it was great.’
It’s only when you consider this single will be taken from Sophie’s fourth album, Straight To The Heart, out this summer, you realise how much she’s achieved. Her first single Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love) with DJ Spiller in 2000 is still hailed as one of the best No 1s of all time. But it’s her subsequent hits like Murder On The Dance Floor that have sealed her rep as a Disco Diva. She doesn’t take it for granted though. ‘Having a successful first album is one thing, but a successful third is another,’ she says philosophically. ‘You have to apply yourself because you’ll never get a better opportunity than the one you have right now. Having said that, people know by now if they like me or not. I don’t need to prove anything.’
Tottering her bird-like frame over to the picture set in heels of stilt-like proportions, we do believe she’s proved a lot. Looking every inch the glam trapeze artist, she’s smashed our ice maiden preconceptions, and, when we continue our questions with a dubious circus theme, she just laughs and takes it in her stride.
ROLL UP ROLL UP FOR OUR MAGICAL, MYSTERY CIRCUS-THEMED QUESTIONS
Who would be the RINGMASTER in your family?
There isn’t one person in our house who calls the shots, but it takes a lot for Richard to blow his top. Sonny dictates too much of what goes on and we let him get away with it, but he makes us laugh and is a bit bonkers.
So are you and Richard CLOWNS?
There are a lots of clowns in our family – our house is a fun house. We might have the music on before bedtime and sometimes when Sonny gets to stay up dancing around with us, he’ll be like, ‘Just one more song!’ And we’re like, ‘OK, just one more’. We’re too childish to bark, ‘No!’
Have you ever seen a FORTUNE TELLER?
In LA a palm reader said to me, ‘You’re going to have three kids’. Then turned to Richard and said: ‘You’ll have four kids’. We had our flippin’ wedding rings on, but it serves me right. When I was younger, in Indonesia I had a face reading. I got told I had ‘a face like a moron’ [laughing]. Turns out they were trying to say I had a face like the moon.
What’s been the most MAGICAL day of your life?
It’s a cliché, but our wedding was really special. My best memories were the moments you couldn’t contrive, like when a song came on at the disco and we all got up and did silly moves.
Have you ever performed a DEATH-DEFYING STUNT?
I love fun fair rides, but I’m wary of things where you might die. I worried when Rich did a skydive a couple of weeks ago, but my mum did about 40 when she was in Blue Peter so I understand people do crazy stuff and I try not to get paranoid. I do other things that scare me like singing at the Olympic Games handover gig at Buckingham Palace (in 2008). It was live on telly in front of millions so I was very nervous, but whenever I do stuff like that I always want to do it again, so I try not to be too scared to enjoy it.
Have you ever needed to channel your inner STRONG MAN?
When both my babies were born prematurely. When it happens, you just find something in yourself to cope. It changes your perspective on life. You learn that, when your children are all right, everything is right in the world. That’s the terrifying thing about being a parent, you’re so vulnerable.
What’s the secret to JUGGLING a successful career with motherhood?
You have to go with the flow. You can’t beat yourself up too much. If there’s a week when I don’t see them much, I make up for it the next. And I make sure they’re always surrounded by loving people. We have a brilliant nanny called Claire who’s been around since he was a baby, my mum lives down the road, my dad is around a lot, there is always someone popping into the house. We love having big parties with all our friends.
Ever felt like a FREAK SHOW?
When I first started out, I got criticism for the way I looked. I think, now, it’s a good thing because, why would you want to look like everyone else? I feel confident in my skin more and more – you come to celebrate the things that make you different. When they asked me do the Rimmel campaign I was chuffed. I never saw myself as one of life’s beauties. When I was a teenager boys weren’t interested in me, so I wouldn’t have been the sort of person you’d expect to do a make-up campaign. So I hope it’s nice for young girls who feel the same.
We put Sophie on the spot for some quick-fire questions
● Cup of tea or glass of wine? I love wine, but a cup of tea is my favourite drink in the world. I don’t dunk biscuits because I don’t like them soggy. I’ll have one on the side.
● Children’s party or Djing at a club? How about DJing at a children’s party? I’ve done that loads of times, the kids love Michael Jackson – a bit of Prince. A good song is a good song whatever your age.
● Slobbing out round the house, is it skirt or joggers? Definitely a skirt, I don’t really wear trousers.
● Text or phone call? Text. I get Richard to make important calls for me. I don’t like speaking to people on the phone.
● Supporting Take That or George Michael? Take That. We did 34 dates together and they were perfect hosts.
● Posh Restaurant or pizza at home? Restaurant. I don’t eat pizza. Fish and chips, on the other hand, is my favourite meal ever.
● In that case: Mayo or ketchup? I’d date ketchup and marry mayonnaise. Ketchup has to be my first love.
Original article - http://www.mirror.co.uk/celebs/celebs-on-sunday/2010/04/25/exclusive-interview-with-sophie-ellis-bextor-115875-22199354/