Monday, January 17, 2011

Calendar Girl January 2011: Rachel Stevens

Rachel in her calendar pose

Amazingly, considering she is one of Triple P's favourites, we have not featured Rachel Stevens in this blog at all, except in passing.  This frightful ommission can now be put right as she is January's calendar girl.

Rachel, who is now 32, was born in Southgate, London to a Jewish family At the age of 15 she beat 5,000 other competitors to win a modelling competition for Just 17 magazine. 

She went on to study fashion at the London College of Fashion but her big break came when. at the age of twenty, she was asked to join producer Simon Fuller's new manufactured pop group S Club 7. 

She's only 5'3" tall.  Nicely portable, in fact.

This was something he decided to put together after being sacked by the Spice Girls and over 10,000 people auditioned for the group. 

Rachel, who had started to sing following her short-lived fashion career, had already been spotted by some of Fuller's producers and she was the only member of the final group who didn't have to audition.

S Club 7 were a nineties re-jigging of The Monkees in that they featured in a comedy children's drama playing versions of themselves as they attepted to become stars in the US (and later Spain) in four TV series (and a particularly dreadful feature film (Seeing Double (2003)) made between 1999 and 2002.

Easily passes the Triple P "does she look good in a vest?" test

The group broke up only weeks after their film premiered, amidst rumours of Fuller not paying the members their due (similar to the rumnours surrounding him over the Spice Girls split) but he had already started another manufactured group, S Club Juniors. as a back up.

Rachel obviously had no problem with Fuller, as she re-signed with him as a solo act in 2003 producing two albums; the reasonably successful Funky Dory and then Come and Get It. 

The latter made very little impact on the charts but was enormously well received by the critics.  Indeed, The Guardian, listed it as one of their 1,000 albums you should listen to before you die.  It is certainly a catchy slice of electro pop.

Rachel's failure to launch a huge career on the back of S Club 7 is puzzling at first.  She was a member of a very popular group, she had a fantastic team of producers and writers behind her (the creative team on Come and Get It looks like a who's who of naughties UK pop success) and she made regular appearances in the likes of FHM. 

Perhaps that was it.  Her pop audience didn't want to see her prancing about in her underwear and her lingerie fans didn't want to listen to her music. 

Sadly, too, she always seemed rather reserved and her personality never came across in her singing.  She was, as the Guardian itself suggested, despite her modelling, unable to be convincingly sexy.

Too wholesome to be sexy?

She still continues to pose for magazines and last year said that she would continue to try and become the FHM sexiest woman in the world.  She has come close several times but has never won.

Even this wasn't enough

She tried to relaunch her career in Strictly Come Dancing in 2008 where she recorded the best scores ever seen in the programme but, again, failed to win on the public vote.

She gave birth to her first child this November so will no doubt have more than enough to do to keep her occupied for the next few years.  In the meantime we remember her in all her rather exotic looking loveliness.

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