I’ve been lucky with my success on telly and I love to encourage anyone else who wants to have a go. I’m happy to help anyone locally who wants to try for the X Factor 2018 but in the meantime here are some tips from my own experience:
1. Prepare for the Audition. The more prepared you are the less nervous you will be. But don’t worry about winning – participating is the main thing and coming last is fun – the public loves underdogs.
2. You’ve got to be dedicated, really want it because it’s hard work, you’ve got to travel, it’s long hours eg queuing for 5 hours for the London X Factor auditions. I recommend going to Reading as the queues are much shorter and it’s more chilled than London which attracts thousands and is very stressful.
3. Always arrive on time – best to get there early as it’s hard to find places sometimes
4. Dress up to stand out from the crowd – wear something original and flamboyant. Find an image that is unique to you. Even if you have the best voice in the world and you’ve dressed down you won’t be noticed. Make the most of your assets – get your hair and make-up done.
5. But do wear comfortable shoes as you’re on your feet all day.
6. Make sure you have sandwiches and drink.
7. Be confident in yourself – no good going somewhere and then clamming up. I’ve seen people with fab voices who were so stage struck they couldn’t perform at all. So practice in front of your friends. Hungerford Town Hall kindly let me practice in front of the OAP club.
8. Don’t drink alcohol. Being nervous actually enhances your performance. I always say to young people don’t do sex and drugs – be clean but be flamboyant in your appearance. Unless you’re a serious actor you won’t make it unless you stand out and are different. Dance instead of doing drugs.
9. However nervous you feel or critical you feel people might be of you, try to be friendly and gregarious with everyone.
10. Don’t mind what other people think. Just do your own thing. Never give up on your dream, whatever anyone else thinks. Be true to yourself. I’ve just got my personality but people seem to like it and I know what the TV people want and they know they can rely on me to deliver.
11. If you meet celebrities don’t treat them any different from your friends. Be polite and don’t get aggressive (however much someone like Simon Cowell might wind you up!)
12. You need something different – they call it ‘television gold’. My persona is a wild OAP with strong morals. I’m a bit of an enigma. I am still a small town girl and I’m proud of my old fashioned values underneath my wild exterior. I know that people sometimes laugh at me as well as with me but I don’t mind. I just want to make people happy.
13. You don’t need an agent. The Ugly Model Agency is good for conventionally older people. It costs £250 to go in their book. The Star Now website has been good for me. It is cheaper than Ugly but you need certain IT skills to fill the forms out online. I get someone to help me with uploading my photo and filling out the forms.
14. Try to pace yourself. If I overdo it, I often pay the price by getting sick.