X FACTOR AND STRICTLY STAR ON WHY BODYGUARD ROLE IS SO SPECIAL TO HER I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YULE
Singer can’t wait to spend Christmas in Scotland
The Bodyguard musical is not just a love story on stage for Alexandra Burke.
It’s one which has reached out into real life. She met her partner, stage managerr Josh Ginelly, when she made her debutt in the show in 2014.
Having announced their engagementnt in January, she will bring this year to a close by returning to star in the show in Glasgow for a four-week run. With Joshsh running the production backstage,e, the couple will celebrate Christmas in Scotland with their four dogs.
Alexandra said: “I’m excited. I loveove Glasgow. I also love Edinburgh. It’s goinging to be a lovely four weeks.
“I usually take Christmas off no mattertter where I am in the world – Christmas Day, Boxing Day and the 27th – just to be with my family. But because it’s Scotland, we’re going to stay put.
“We’re driving the four dogs there. In fact, the hardest part was organising them. They are like kids and Christmas has all revolved around those four. It is not fair to put them in a car for six to eight hours again for Christmas Day and then drive them all the way back to Glasgow.
“I’ll obviously miss my family but we’re going to make Glasgow as special as it would be at home. It’s a blessing. I’m happy to spend it there. I’m excited.”
Working together is something the couple are used to and, for Alexandra, it is all about being there for each other and having fun.
She said: “It’s about supporting one another. He may be behind the scenes but his job is as taxing as mine.
“For me, it’s about supporting one another and understanding each other’s work. That is what matters most – having an understanding and a compromise. No relationship is easy but we make it as easy as possible becausee we have fun. Work is fun, we love our dogs,s, being at home, going to the movies – youu have to have a fine balance of everything.”
The Bodyguard, which is at the Theatre Royal from Monday until December 29, will top off a hectic year for the singer.
This time last year Alexandra, 30, was preparing for the final weeks of Strictly Come Dancing. She reached the final of the show with partner Gorka Marquez, although Joe McFadden took home the Glitter Ball.
She then embarked on a Strictly UK tour, released an album, The Truth Is, and starred in West End musicals Chess and Chicago.
The Bodyguard was almost a show too far but it means too much to her. When she first took it on, it was not only the former X Factor winner’s first musical theatre role, it was at the second time of asking.
She was encouraged by her late mother – Soul II Soul singer Melissa Bell, who died in 2017 – to take the opportunity. Alexandra said: “It wasmywasmy first show so it holds a lot of meaning to me. When I first got offered The Bodyguard, it was before it had even opened. I said no because I didn’t feel like I was ready to do it.
“When I got offered it the second time around, that was my mum saying, ‘ That’s an opportunity you can’t turn down now.’
“I first did it when I was 26 in 2014. I’m getting shivers talking about it. But now I’m 30. A few years have passed and there has been love and loss in my family and the show reminds me of so many great memories. That’s probably why I have done it again.”
She feels much the same about Strictly. Like The Bodyguard, the show means a lot to her on a personal level as she did it while still grieving the loss of her mum.
She was in the audience for the show a couple of weeks ago and was delighted to
meetme with the backstage team, whowh do so much to create the famous StrictlyStr “bubble”, although she had no desiredes to be back out on the dance floor. floo
AlexandraAl said: “I had the best time and it was nice to see people who I’d missed for so long.
“It didn’t make me feel like I wanted to get back on stage and dance. I don’t miss thatt at all. What I missed were the peoplpeople – everyone I made friendships with anand helped me through a hard time.
“I felt for the contestants and I definitely don’t wwant to go through that anxious feeling again waiting to go on.”
IfIf StrStrictly was a largely positive experienexperience, she did face some negativity, being trolledtr online and forced to deny reports ofo diva behaviour. She spoke about it at the ttime but doesn’t dwell on it now.
AlexanAlexandra said: “Like my mum used to say – you are never going to be everyone’s cup of teatea. You’ve got to take everything with a pinch ofo salt and keep moving.
“There was so much love out there as well as everythingeveryt else. Hopefully people don’t believe alla of the things that were written. ThThe people who know me know who I am and where my heart is – that’s what matters.”
The Bodyguard, based on the 1992 film starring Whitney Houston, sees her play the role of Rachel Marron, a singer who falls in love with the man hired to protect her from an unknown stalker.
It’s a crowning achievement on a career which has been in overdrive since she won The X Factor in 2008 and sold more than one million copies of her debut No1 single, Hallelujah.
After The Bodyguard, she hopes to return to music but she is grateful for all she’s got.
She added: “So much has come in the past 10 years since being in the show. I haven’t stopped working and that’s a big, big deal.
“When I was younger and people asked what I wanted to do, I said I wanted to be a singer, an actress and a dancer – and here I am doing all three. I’m very, very lucky.”
I usually take Christmas off no matter where I am to be with family. But because it’s Scotland, we’re staying
CLASS ACT With partner Josh and, right, on Strictly with Gorka Marquez SMASH HIT From far left, Alexandra in The Bodyguard musical, the movie with Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston and, right, on The X Factor with Beyonce