FAYE FROM STEPS
anything so detailed and tricky as this.” Faye is clearly loving her long-desired Strictly journey, rehearsing 10 hours a day with partner Giovanni Pernice, 27. And she is finally enjoying a bit of individual fame, for once.
In the early days, after the band formed in 1997, she has said she tried to be the “rebel of the group”, doing her hair in different styles to stand out. It never quite seemed to work, though.
Despite huge success – Steps sold 20 million records worldwide and scooped two number one UK singles and albums – Faye, Claire Richards, Lee Latchfordevans, Lisa Scott-lee and Ian “H” Watkins, were a squeaky-clean package. She smiles when she tells me how recently she was christened Faye “from Strictly” by a fan.
She says: “Three weeks ago somebody asked me for an autograph and said ‘It’s Faye from Strictly’ rather than ‘Faye from Steps’. It was actually quite lovely, I enjoyed that.”
After the band split in 2001, Faye built a career in musical theatre but almost lost her grip on fame completely. So much so, in fact, that her own husband, Michael Smith, did not have a clue who she was when they first met.
A sales manager for an IT company – a “real person” or “Muggle”, Faye jokes – he was out for his Christmas office party in a bar when he and Faye got chatting.
“I was in Newcastle at the Theatre Royal, I was out with the cast for drinks,” she recalls.
“He didn’t know who I was and if he did I probably wouldn’t have spoken to him!” she laughs again.
“One of his friends asked how I was afterwards – he said ‘How was Faye?” and Mike said ‘How did you know her name was Faye?’. I had dark hair at the time – and he wasn’t a Steps fan!”
They married in 2009 – Faye’s second wedding, following her divorce from first husband, Danish drummer Jesper Irn, in 2006 – and have son Benjamin, nine. Strictly has brought Muggle Mike his