Nicole Scherzinger has been our hair crush, body goals and dance inspiration since she sashayed into the pop charts in 2005, bagging her first No.1 single with the Pussycat Dolls’ Don’t Cha.
Twelve years on, she’s still got the same schow-stopping vocals, sass and schermazing attitude but, instead of looking back at the past through rosetinted glasses, Nicole, 38, says she feels only positivity about clocking up birthdays.
‘I don’t mind it, because I’ve found I’m kinder to myself as I get older,’ she explains. ‘I’m more balanced. I enjoy life more. I want to age gracefully and enjoy it. ‘My selfconfidence has definitely grown, because I’ve become more accepting. I was so tough on my body from a young age, and now I’ve learned I don’t have to be perfect. ‘That’s what life does to you when you go through love and heartache, and you grow. ‘When you sprout new leaves, the roots get stronger.’
And Nicole has had her share of heartache to deal with. She met former Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton in 2007 and endured splits during their seven-year relationship, which finally ended in 2015 due to conflicting work schedules. But Scherzy’s love life started to look up last year when she met her current beau, tennis player Grigor Dimitrov, 25. While Nicole is fiercely private about her relationship, she does admit to being a ‘hopeless romantic’, and says she can’t resist a man who knows his way around the kitchen.
‘I love it when a guy cooks,’ she giggles. ‘It’s my favourite, because I’m an eater. He wouldn’t have to make anything fancy – I’m happy with whatever, as long as it’s tasty and made with love. ‘For a date night, I love dinner out, or eating a home-cooked meal. I like to go for walks or watch funny movies – chilling and just doing simple things.’
However, there are some downsides to living her life in the spotlight. Nicole is often linked to celebrity friends, and was recently forced to deny a romance with rapper French Montana.
‘It’s a little frustrating, because I want to be respectful to the person I’m in a relationship with,’ she says. ‘To me, French is my buddy; he’s my bro. So when they blow it out of proportion or turn it into something else, it’s frustrating.’
No wonder Nicole likes getting back to basics in her private life, because her work schedule is frantic. Last year, the brunette beat her fellow X Factor judges Simon Cowell, Sharon Osbourne and Louis Walsh to victory with her act, Matt Terry. But despite having ‘so much fun’ on the TV talent show, Nicole has yet to decide if she’ll sit on the panel in 2017.
‘I don’t know if I’ll return,’ she says. ‘They have asked me back. We’ll see. ‘I loved it [on the show] because it was the first time we were all together – Simon, Sharon, Louis and me. We’d known each other for years, so we were really comfortable with one another.’
When we ask Nicole why she thinks The X Factor got sluggish viewing figures last year (Matt Terry’s win saw the show’s lowest-ever ratings for a series finale), she shrugs off the question.
‘I don’t know – maybe it’s because the show has been around for 87 years!’ she laughs. ‘These shows have been going for so long, and there are so many of them. ‘I thought [last series] was a complete success, and I’m proud of the work I did on it. It spoke for itself, because Matt won.’
As for her own musical endeavours, Nicole reveals she’s been working on new material, but before we can get too excited about Scherzy’s musical return, she admits we might not hear it any time soon.
‘I’m always in the studio working on new music,’ she says. ‘We’ll see. For me, it’s not about just putting stuff out; it’s about putting out the best stuff, which I want to represent me. ‘I’m working on something at the moment and I’m really excited about it, but I can’t really say anything about it yet.’
As for a reunion with her fellow Pussycat Dolls, Nicole wouldn’t rule it out.
‘I love the Dolls,’ she says. ‘We were like this girl gang, and it was literally like our second album said – Doll Domination. ‘We had everything at our fingertips. We could have been in Egypt or Serbia or London; we always had such amazing time and fantastic support. ‘It was so crazy and hectic, and it kicked off out of nowhere so fast that I didn’t really get to enjoy my time. ‘I’m hoping one day, when it’s the right time, I can get the girls back together.’