Wednesday, 7 April 2010

It shouldn't be Aloud

Everything comes at a price, just ask Girls Aloud. Sure, they've got the famous boyfriends, fabulous frocks and all the lollies they can grab from a bathroom attendant, but their fame isn't without its downside.

In the eight years since they trounced Pete Waterman's hopeless 'vocal harmony group' One True Voice in the race for Christmas number, they've found themselves constantly scrutinised by the press over their ever-diminishing weight.

They might have scored more hits than Mike Tyson, but all anyone really cares about is their dress size. Being in the country's favourite girl band means there's an expectation that the five of them will never weigh more than their own carry-on luggage. But each time they stage another sell-out tour there's a worry that the audience might mistakenly applaud the microphone stands before the girls even take to the stage.

Just a couple of weeks ago, Nadine Coyle (the one who sounds like Rev Ian Paisley with a mouthful of marbles) was splashed all over the tabloids as she negotiated some steps in a pair of uncooperative shoes. The pictures made her look like an ungainly cartoon ostrich wearing heels for the first time.

Nadine was quick to respond that, contrary to journalistic opinion, she'd actually put on weight whilst recording her debut solo album. Understandably, the press scoffed at this, given that she could feasibly double her BMI by simply putting on a hat.

Cheryl Cole has also been steadily shrinking, even as her celebrity continues to expand. By the end of 2010, it's likely that she'll be so famous that people will be seeing her face on burritos and pizzas, but she'll be small enough to borrow clothes from her own doll.

When they first auditioned for Popstars: The Rivals, none of the girls were concerned with anything other than securing a place in the band. At no point did any of them express a desire to play role model for a generation of girls. Unfortunately, it's a responsibility that comes with the territory.

So it's disappointing to see Sarah Harding, who has the voice of a diva and the liver of Oliver Reed, advocating weight loss, so soon after her band-mates have been hauled over the coals for their shrinking statistics.

Then again, maybe the coals were her inspiration, since it turns out she's been munching on charcoal to help her shift the weight. Unwittingly confirming every worried parent's fears about setting a bad example, Sarah says "I crumble it up and put it on my food. I found out about it on a fashion website. It has a strange texture, but it doesn't taste of anything and apparently absorbs all the bad, damaging stuff in the body." Well, that certainly sounds scientific to me, even if parmesan is easier to grate.

It might sound extreme, but Sarah knows what she's doing: "It's not the regular charcoal you put in fires, though - I'm not that mad! I get it from the health food shop and I think it's good for hangovers, too." Suddenly, her bizarre diet makes a lot more sense.

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