Four years after her X Factor triumph, Stacey Solomon talks to Francine Wolfisz about starring as Tinkerbell in Peter Pan.[divider]
From X Factor diva to Queen of the Jungle, devoted mum and bride-to-be, you could say Stacey Solomon is flying high – which is pretty apt, given the lovable 24-year-old has landed the role of Tinkerbell in a UK tour of Peter Pan – The Never Ending Story. We caught up with the Dagenham diva at a recording studio in Hampstead – where she showed off her incredible voice while singing the classic track, You Raise Me Up.
Later, Stacey shared all about her role in the high-tech production, directed by Luc Petit and arriving at Wembley in January. The Essex-born performer also told Pulse about her life since The X Factor, her upcoming wedding to fiancé Aaron Barnham, her new album – and why planning barmitzvahs makes Stacey exclaim her trademark… “Oh my Gosh!”
JN: Growing up, were you one of those girls that wanted to be a princess or fairy?
Stacey: I think deep down everyone is one of those girls! It’s such a dream to be Tinkerbell. As a young girl, I always wanted to be a princess, or even when I watched Julia Roberts as Tinkerbell [in the 1991 film Hook], I thought to myself I’d love to be able to play that part.
JN: Has it always been one of your favourite stories?
Stacey: Definitely. No-one wants to grow up really! Peter Pan is so sweet and lovely, such a wonderful story.
JN: Are your boys – Zack and Leighton – familiar with the story?
Stacey: Well especially Zack – he’s very familiar with Peter Pan and anything to do with Disney! Now I’m going to be Tinkerbell, he’s like, “Wow, you’re going to fly like a real fairy?!”
JN: Your costume, designed by Kaat Tilley, is made from pearl-white latex and looks amazing – tell us more about it!
Stacey: The best thing about my role is definitely the costume – it’s so cool, with these massive wings and flowers in my hair and it’s all really pretty and glittery. The make-up is also really fun. I have these pixie ears, pink eye shadow and really glittery cheeks. It’s always nice to dress up, as a child, but as an adult it’s even more fun because you don’t really get that many opportunities! So it’s really nice to have an excuse to do it!
JN: Over the years, many actresses have played Tinkerbell and have put their own spin on the role. What are you bringing to your version?
Stacey: I think my Tinkerbell is just really happy, kind of silly, funny and mischievous, but still with a good heart.
JN: The role of Tinkerbell also involves flying – what’s it really like to fly across the stage of a theatre?
Stacey: It’s really scary actually, because it involves both flying and singing at the same time! Unlike the others, I’m the only one on a harness because I will be singing You Raise Me Up. All the others fly without wires or a harness – instead they fly with the help of a wind turbine built into the set. It’s a bit daunting, but I’m also excited for when my children will be watching, because it will look like I’m actually flying, which is so cool.
JN: Have you had any previous roles that have involved flying?
Stacey: (Laughs) No – the nearest thing was jumping out of a plane for I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, but I certainly wasn’t flying – more like dropping!
JN: What are you enjoying most about being in the show?
Stacey: It’s an amazing production, plus I get to tour all over the country and my children can come with me. It’s just perfect. Whenever they have time off they will watch me perform or come and stay for the night, but otherwise they will be with their dad or my parents. I hope that everyone will love the show as I’m really proud to be part of it.
JN: Let’s talk a little about life since you came third on The X Factor, just behind winner Joe McElderry and runner-up Olly Murs. That was four years ago now – does it seem like a lifetime ago to you?
Stacey: I can’t believe four years have gone by, because I think it always feel fresh. It doesn’t feel a million miles away to me, because it was such a monumental experience. I still see others from The X Factor and you end up staying in touch no matter what, because you do the same gigs and you’re invited to the same places. They are always so kind and sweet. It was a good year – I was really lucky to have the people on my show that I had.
JN: Was it a good learning curve for you?
Stacey: I don’t know how I could have been doing what I do today without The X Factor. It was a huge platform for me and a great life experience as well. You just get thrown into it, so you go through so much and you learn a lot about the people you’re on with.
JN: Has your life changed since The X Factor?
Stacey: Yes, I think my whole life has changed. But what is really funny is that my home life is exactly what it would have been no matter what. I still feel exactly the same person and I have got the same family and friends, but I also have my dream job. I’m so lucky to be doing what I’m doing. I never in a million years ever thought I’d be starring as Tinkerbell, going around the country and singing to thousands of people. I never thought I’d be able to do the things that I’m doing now. You have to be really lucky to say you love your job and I really do love what I do. It’s a dream come true.
JN: You’ve been engaged to Aaron since he proposed two years ago. How are the wedding plans coming along?!
Stacey: Actually, there’s not much planning going into it! We’ve both agreed we are just gonna get up and go when it does happen. It’s so difficult to plan something and set a date without thinking is this more important or is that? So I just said, “Right, when we next get a couple of weeks off, we’ll go somewhere, take the children, our mums nd dads, get married and just do it!” Plus, if we have the wedding at home, planning it would be ridiculous, like who we are going to sit with who, and who should we invite or not invite – it’s such a drama!
JN: Have you at least managed to pick a dress?
Stacey: No! But I have been looking at loads. I’d really like a lacy, traditional meringue. Trying to find the dress will probably take me longer than the actual planning!
JN: Perhaps after the wedding you can then start planning barmitzvahs for Zack and Leighton?!
Stacey: Not yet! Do I have to start already? They’ve definitely got their funds started, but no planning yet. I have a few years – at least eight for Zack and 12 for Leighton!Stacey
JN: Would you like more children?
Stacey: Definitely. They are the best thing in the whole wide world and I absolutely adore both of them, so I never say no to more children.
JN: So what’s next in the pipeline for Stacey Solomon?
Stacey: I’m working on a clothing range, due out next year and of course there’s my new album! We are close to the end and I can’t wait to sing my own songs. It’s been lovely to be back in the recording studio, because singing is my passion. The fact I got to write and be a huge part of it has been really exciting.
• Peter Pan – The Never Ending Story is at Wembley Arena from Thursday, January 2 to Sunday, January 4.