The FINAL SAY-SO ; From Nottingham to HollywoodKelly Beckett, 32, has gone from Nottingham to Hollywood, working with the likes of Holly Willoughby, Robbie Williams and Will.i.am along the way
I GREW up in Carlton and my parents, Carol and Roy, were not particularly into the arts. The closest they ever came to performing was my mum singing in her local church choir, even though she did get kindly asked to step away from the microphone as she's tone deaf (sorry mum).
I wouldn't describe myself as an overly confident person but being on stage and in front of the camera gives me the confidence to be anybody I want to be.
I went to Bluecoat School and was then offered a scholarship to attend the Midland Academy of Dance and Drama (MADD) in Carlton, Nottingham's very own Fame academy. I got to sing, dance and act all day long.
In my final year there I was offered a great job in London; presenting a new kids' TV show called S Club TV alongside Holly Willoughby. It was produced by Simon Fuller of 19 Management, the creator of the Spice Girls and American Idol.
I knew straight away that opportunities like this don't come along often so I packed my bags and moved to London. Well, actually my poor mum and dad packed my bags, loaded up a hire van and drove me there.
I had an amazing time presenting the show every Sunday morning on ITV and have made life-long friends from it.
I quickly realised that there is only so much you can learn at college. I picked up most of what I know today by actually working. I also learned to always be professional, never complain and get used to 16 hour days, as there is always someone else that would kill to have your job.
I lived in London for eight years during which time I carved out an amazing career that eventually led to Hollywood.
I have been lucky enough to perform with some amazing artist such as Robbie Williams, Corrine Bailey Rae and Jennifer Lopez. It's people like these who inspire me and make me even more determined to become an artist in my own right. I had always dreamed of being in a girl band, probably through an early obsession with the Spice Girls. I was a member of Nottingham's very own Spice Girls tribute group called the Spice-ish Girls. Yep, I was Scary Spice.
While I was in London my agent called to say that Jimmy Iovine from American Idol and also the head of the Interscope record label, was coming to town with Robin Antin, creator of the Pussycat Dolls and they wanted me to audition for their a new girl band they were putting together. It was the longest, most intense audition I have ever been to. After two dance and three singing auditions in London, they flew me to Hollywood to go through the whole audition process again. I was singing in front of Will.i.am and discussing the direction of the songs he wanted to write for the band's first album.
And this was happening while I was backpacking around Thailand. The whole experience felt like a dream and I don't think it hit home what was happening until I was on the flight back to Thailand from Los Angeles to carry on with my holidays.
A month later I got a call to say they wanted me to move out to Los Angeles and join the Paradiso Girls.
I still live and work out in Los Angeles. I'm currently presenting various TV shows on Style Network, G4 and ENTV.
One week I'm at a party with Jason Segel or Michelle Williams and the next I'm back home in Notts visiting my parents, and catching the number 27 bus into town.
I suppose you can take the girl out of Nottingham, but not Nottingham out of the girl. I wouldn't change it for the world.
For more about Kelly go to www.kellybeckett.com. SIMON WILSON
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