The sur­vivor

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - TV - By MADELEINE MARR

IT’S fit­ting that Paula Ab­dul ( pic) is so in­volved with the Make-A-Wish Foun­da­tion. The for­mer Amer­i­can Idol judge, 48, helped make a lot of wishes come true in her eight sea­sons on the hit Fox show.

“I’ve had such an amaz­ing gift of a ca­reer that has spanned over 20 years,” Ab­dul says. “There have been so many beau­ti­ful kids that have come through my life who have shown such spirit and courage.”

Start­ing out in the 1980s as a cheer­leader for the Los An­ge­les Lak­ers, the Cal­i­for­nia na­tive moved on to chore­ograph­ing videos and then per­form­ing such hits as Straight Up and For­ever Your Girl.

“It’s in­ter­est­ing the way I’ve come up be­hind the scenes,” Ab­dul says. “I started out in pro­duc­tion and rolling up my sleeves and do­ing the grunt work.”

Show­biz is tough, but it’s all she ever wanted to do. And bravo to any­one who has the guts to get out there.

“I grew up think­ing celebri­ties are weird – I’m go­ing to stay far, far away,” she says, laugh­ing. “For a hu­man be­ing the two most vul­ner­a­ble places are in front of a mir­ror and be­hind a mi­cro­phone. It is bold and brave.”

Speak­ing about brave. Ab­dul has taken her share of knocks. Her re­al­ity show, Hey Paula, had a short life span be­cause her be­hav­iour was seen as er­ratic, and dur­ing her time as AI judge, she of­ten slurred her words and ap­peared out of it. Ap­par­ently, med­i­ca­tion taken to treat RSD, a rare neu­ro­log­i­cal con­di­tion, were partly to blame.

“ Amer­i­can Idol painted a role of me per­cep­tion-wise, and a lot of what was said wasn’t true,” she says. “You know what? I think it’s be­cause I don’t fit into that typ­i­cal Hollywood mould.”

Don’t worry about Paula. Next up: pro­duc­ing the re­al­ity com­pe­ti­tion Live To Dance, set to air on CBS in Jan­uary.

“Peo­ple call me a sur­vivor. I’m a thriver,” she says.

“I am paint­ing my own door and turn­ing my own knob in my own spe­cial way.” – The Mi­ami Her­ald/McClatchy-Tribune In­for­ma­tion Ser­vices

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