Personnal, November 1997
Louise Hits a High Note!
With an album in the charts, a boyfriend in the Premier League and her biography on the shelves, 'The World's Sexiest Woman' tells Ian Hyland about her driving ambition.
The last time I spoke to Louise she was up for a Brit Award and about to buy a new flat. Things didn't exactly go to plan - Gabrielle won the Brit and the flat fell through at the last minute - but Louise isn't complaining. With her second album "Woman In Me" high in the charts, a biography on the shelves at only 22, and her first UK tour starting this month, the singer frequently voted "the sexiest woman in the world" has other things on her mind.
"It's going mad!" is all she says as she takes time out from yet another photo shoot for yet another magazine cover. "I think I might need a holiday after this!"
She could be in for a long wait. The 22-date tour and the worldwide promotion of her album will keep the Louise diary booked well into next year. But before you start feeling too sorry for her, she has just got back from a 10-day holiday in Bermuda with England soccer hero Jamie Redknapp.
"I suppose you can call it a young lovers' holiday," she says, "It was certainly romantic."
Louise ended months of speculation in March when she admitted she was seeing Jamie and she's glad it's now out in the open. "It was getting a bit silly," she says. "Everyone suspected something was going on and it just got to the stage where I thought there was no point in trying to keep it quiet."
"Now of course everyone assumes that we have been dating for years, but we've only been a real item since just before Christmas."
Although she is now officially engaged to Jamie, Louise doesn't think she'll be saying "I do" just yet.
"We're both too busy - but what we are saying is we're together and want to stay together and that's good enough for us at the moment."
She's even put a gushing dedication to her man on the new album sleeve.
"He is my best mate first," she explains. "We like the same nightclubs and music and he understands how important my career is. It's wonderful to have someone I can share it all with." Of course, it also helps that Jamie is one of the most lusted-after sportsmen in Britain. But Louise insists that looks don't always matter to her.
If I find someone attractive it's usually due to his personality, so if he took his trousers off and had a big bum or a flabby stomach I wouldn't be bothered," says the East End girl who admits she hasn't had that many boyfriends and didn't lose her virginity until "quite late".
Louise always dreamed of being famous. It all began with Stevie Wonder sing-alongs in the back of her parents' car, and gathered momentum when she attended the same stage school as EastEnders star Martine McCutcheon.
Her big break came when she was talent-spotted at 15 by a local pop manager who was putting a band together. That band was Eternal and in five years they became the most successful British girl group in history. Then Louise left.
"People tried to make a big deal out of the split," she says, "but rumours that I was axed because I was the only white member are nonsense. I left the band because it didn't feel right for me anymore."
"Now I'm a lot happier as a solo artist. I feel more comfortable being in control of what I want to do." That includes posing for all those sexy pictures, and Louise is quick to point out that she's in charge and won't do anything she doesn't want to do!!
"The pictures are an image and I think most people understand that," she says. "I've never done anything pornographic and never would but that's not to say I've got anything against magazines like Penthouse - it's just not my thing. I'd be too embarrassed to do it, anyway!"
Despite the many "most fanciable" awards heaped on her tiny shoulders, Louise firmly believes she's not that gorgeous really.
"I'd be lying if I said it wasn't flattering, but I'm not perfect and it worries me sometimes that people think I am," she says. "it's not real life and I probably won't even be in the Top 50 most fanciable next year.">
Louise has one non-showbiz ambition she is determined to fulfil. "I must pass my driving test," she says. "I did the written test recently and I thought it was really easy, but then I failed."
She must be confident of passing eventually, though, because she has treated herself to a BMW. "And after I pass my test I'm finally going to find that dream home. But, you know, I bet I end up doing neither... I'm going to be learning to drive looking in estate agents' windows for the rest of my life!"