THE latest addition of FHM magazine has a shot of a scantily clad Rachel Stevens on its cover bearing the headline “Alone at last with Britain’s sexiest woman”.
It isn’t the first time the 23-year-old has dressed down for the lads’ mag market.
But she doesn’t think of herself as a sex object.
“A pin-up!?” she says, guffawing like I’ve just asked her to shovel horse muck for a living.
She is teasing. of course. Although being evasive might be a more fitting description of how the conversation goes.
Stevens, who adored Jason Donovan when she was a pop kid (“no I don’t fancy him now,” she insists), laughs when I ask how she feels helping teenage boys through puberty.
“That’s one I've never been asked before. I’ve never really looked at it like that.”
“I feel very honoured,” she offers, giggling.
“I don’t really think about it that much, in that way.”
Well, you should.
“I know, I will thanks to you.”
I shouldn’t labour the point — there is a new album to talk up, a tour next year which comes to Nottingham Arena for two sell-out shows and the date at the venue on Wednesday as part of the Smash Hits Tour.
I shouldn’t but I do.
All four S Club girls have been seen adorning the covers of lads’ magazines but former model Rachel, now 23, is most in demand.
“Have I been offered what? Getting my clothes off? No I haven’t. Not that I know of, no. They might have asked indirectly but to me directly, no. I wouldn’t do it anyway. I could do it, I guess, if I wanted to but I don't think I would. In fact I know I wouldn’t.”
Chances are the offers have come in but S Club 7 could do without the headlines after this clean cut pop troupe with an army of fans only slightly senior to those of the Tweenies were embroiled in a drug scandal.
In March the three boys — Jon Lee, Bradley McIntosh and Paul Cattermole — were arrested in the centre of London for smoking and possessing cannabis.
The trio made a public apology to their fans.
Stevens says: “Our fans were brilliant about it and really supportive, which we are really lucky about.
“I don’t know if it’s forgotten but we don’t want to bring much attention to it anymore. It’s something we don’t want the kids to know about because it’s not good for kids.”
The tabloid frenzy of following them around and hoping to catch them up to more mischief has died down, she says.
“There’s not anything they can catch us out doing because we are just being ourselves.”
The incident certainly didn't hamper their run of chart hits.
A new album, Sunshine, is out Monday featuring their two recent chart-toppers Don’t Stop Movin’ and Never Had A Dream Come True.
It finds them in safe S Club territory. There is no chance, she says, of them “doing a Britney” and trying to appeal to the adult market.
“It has grown up slightly but that’s natural. It’s not anything we are trying to do on purpose.”
S Club 7 have had a highly successful two years since shooting to fame with their debut single Bring It All Back in June 1999.
The group were hand–picked for stardom by former Spice Girls manager Simon Fuller. All seven were hungry for fame long before their paths crossed.
Cattermole had been in an unsuccessful rock band, Lee played Josh in EastEnders, Stevens is a former model, Hannah Spearitt appeared with the National Youth Theatre, Tina Barrett was a dancer, McIntosh’s parents were in 80s band The Cool Notes and Jo O'Meara was discovered singing in a country and western restaurant.
The S Club TV shows filmed in the US have helped them find a footing in the difficult US market, reaching the top ten with the single Never Had A Dream Come True.
Two members of the group, Paul and Hannah, are now an item.
Stevens meanwhile is dating Holby City's Danny Shaughnessy, aka actor Jeremy Edwards.
“We kind of make time for each other. He lives quite near me. He’s always staying with me or me with him.”
How does he react to her getting the kit off?
“I guess he doesn’t really take it too seriously. He doesn’t mind, he’s really supportive.”
Her visit to Nottingham on Wednesday won't be her first.
“One of my boyfriend’s friends lived down there.
“He was at university and we went down.”
“That was four or five years ago but we didn’t go clubbing or anything so I can’t remember much about the city.”