“All that’s left now is to work really hard and everything should fall into place!” We catch up with Lauren Platt post X Factor.
Pink short suit with gold buttons, pink crop top by Versace, earrings stylist’s own.
I expect a sugary, even saccharine, conversation with Lauren Platt. Backed by the nation’s sweetheart, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini on The X Factor, Lauren was painted as the girl-next-door who could pack a punch with her powerhouse voice. Her talent is unquestionable, but being a 17 year old who’s gone from school-girl to celeb in a matter of weeks, I’ve prepped myself for a solid half hour of rehearsed lines about her “journey”, littered with clichés we’re both tired of. Instead of a teenager, I find a music industry professional, reserved, aware and relaxed and I find myself privately embarrassed to have expected a pocket-sized diva. She could teach some of our chart-toppers a thing, or 10, about conducting themselves that’s for sure.
Fast forward two weeks and Lauren is no longer in the competition, surely a shock for the starlet who was one of Simon Cowell’s personal picks as a finalist. Having Cheryl, a reality show success herself, teach her the tricks of the trade has no doubt helped to prolong Lauren’s time on the show and she can’t insist enough how much she appreciates it. “She’s so hands-on, she’s so nice, she gives me advice all the time!” Lauren says, in one uninterrupted breath of admiration. Now, I’m no Cheryl, hey, I’m not a Mel or even a Louis, but Lauren says her mentor told her, “This is your one opportunity so take it!” Surely only motivational words, but I don’t believe for a second that the door to the VIP lounge is now eternally closed for Lauren.
I’m hoping it’s been left slightly ajar, so she can peek in and re-join the party whenever she fancies rather than hurtling head first down the rabbit-hole. Outside ITV HQ is a pack of paparazzi, leaning through the gates like vultures. That’s just round the back. At the front is a group of tween girls, nearly as scary but less sinister, camped out complete with suitcases, waiting to catch a glimpse of a reality show star. School attendance rates and X Factor hysteria must be worryingly correlational. No matter how professional she may be, it’s hard not to worry about anyone, let alone a teenager, who’s been swept up by this whirlwind of a ride. Tugging on my heartstrings, I ask Lauren what she would have done if she’d won the competition and like a reflex, she spurts out with a smile, “Go home!” Apparently even pop stars need their parents.
Lauren explains that her family have always been fuelling her musical interests. Her mum put her in singing lessons and her nan bought her the first CD she ever owned (the dulcet tones of Katie Melua, FYI). Her thirteen year old brother even joined her on stage as a dancer in week 8. She even looks up to him, metaphorically. “He’s had to overcome quite a lot in his 13 years of living, the way he’s done it, he’s very inspirational.”
Even now the marathon is over, I catch up with Lauren and she remains gracious and focused. “I feel really and truly honoured when I look back on my experience. I had so much support from everyone,” she gushes. “Cheryl had given me an amazing opportunity and the show was just the most amazing experience of my life.” She’s certain that they’ll remain friends, which leaves me slightly envious that I’m not 17 and Cheryl Fernandez-Versini’s protege. Not a hint of bitterness or a whisper of brattiness, Lauren is simply ready to go back to work, this is her job now. “I’m so unbelievably excited for the tour to start and to get myself in gear and really start working hard for what I want, because at the end of the day I’ve been given my platform. I’ve been given my name so all that’s left now is to work really hard and everything should fall into place!”
Green sequin dress by Ashish.
Green mohair jumper by Topshop Boutique, bronze leather skirt by MCQ.
Cream dress with fur collar by Simone Rocha, earrings stylist’s own.
Red crop top by Marni, blue and white stripe trousers by Fendi.
Black, white and silver pleated dress by Topshop Unique, white and green Stan Smith’s by Adidas.
Words: Lilly Walker.
Stylist: Isabella Brunner.
Photographer: Stella Asia Consonni.
Make Up: Jessica Taylor using NARS.
Hair: Rebecca Amoroso.