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March 2011

IT was tempting to paraphrase Mrs Merton and ask what Jodi Albert saw in the multi-millionaire, Kian Egan?
But the former Hollyoaks actress knew the Westlife singer before he was famous.
“I met Kian when I was 15,” she says.
“I was in a girl band signed to RCA and Kian was in a boy band signed to them, called Westlife,” she laughs.
“They had just released their first single. So all the promotion I did with my band, I’d often bump in to him.”
The band was Girl Thing, who had a top ten hit but little else. In 2002 she moved in to acting, most notably Hollyoaks, playing Debbie Dean.
“I adored everything about it,” she says of her three years on the soap.
After that there were roles in Casualty and The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, plus British film Popcorn.
Then in 2008, boyfriend Kian Egan teamed up with Louis Walsh to create a new girl group.
“I never thought I’d be lucky enough to get a second stab at it,” says the 27-year-old.
The couple were married a year later so it begs the question: Why bother doing anything? He’s obviously got a few bob...
“Has he?,” she laughs.
“Don’t believe everything you read.”
Wasn’t she tempted to be a housewife and leave all the money-earning to hubby?
“There’s nothing wrong with being a housewife but the type of person I am... I don’t come from money. My dad’s a market trader. I’ve always believed in working hard. The last thing I want to do was rely on someone else and be kept as such. I believe in being my own person.
“Kian knows that about me.”
Are you his favourite member of Wonderland?
“I bladdy hope so,” says Albert, who attended the Sylvia Young Theatre School alongside the likes of Lee Ryan, Matt Willis and Billie Piper.
Isn’t it a weird set up? Him telling you what to do at work?
“When it comes to the industry he does know more, so it would be silly of me not to listen to him. Sometimes he does get on my nerves that he’s always right. So I do say ‘oh, take a day off!’”
With such connections it’s easy to see how the fledgling girl group landed the Boyzone and Westlife tours but that doesn’t mean it’s been easy.
“It has been in at the deep end”, says Albert.
“One of the first times we ever sang on stage together was supporting Westlife last year in front of 7,000 people.
“I’ve wanted to throw up before walking on stage it’s been so daunting. But you do get over that and get a buzz out it. That’s how we’ve been this year.”
She adds: “But no-one can prepare you for it, you have to learn for yourself.”
Despite having been in Hollyoaks and the wife of a famous boy band member, the experience hasn’t helped her deal with life in Wonderland.
“It’s almost like I know too much,” says Albert.
“Lee and Casey, who are the youngest and haven’t done anything like this before, are a little more ballsy. They never really get nervous.”
As well as the arena dates, Wonderland have been playing schools to promote debut single Not A Love Song, including Arnold Hill School earlier this month.
“They’ve been the best audiences,” she says.
“They were like ‘can I have a hug?’ and ‘are you single?’”
And that’s just the teachers.
Can Wonderland every be as big as Westlife?
“Oh please God, who knows? We’re working as hard as we possibly can. Even if we have a small percentage of what they’ve achieved then we’ll be extremely happy.”
There are the 14 numbers one singles...
“And 50 million albums.”
I told you he had a few quid.
“Yeah, I ain’t seen it though.”

Who: Olly Murs, Wonderland
Where: Royal Concert Hall
When: May 11
Tickets: £26.50, returns only

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