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'I'm really bad at karaoke,' admits songstress Katherine Jenkins

Katherine Jenkins head shot

Katherine Jenkins reveals she will always be a part of the military family (Image: David Venni)

Not a lot of people know this but I’m very good at… driving. I can always tell you the fastest route. In a former life I may have driven a black cab. 

My best friend is… Kristy – she’s a GP and still lives in Wales. We met on the first day of school and we are best friends. We both lost parents within the same year, when we were 14, and that’s bonded us together for life. 

My nickname is… Some people call me Nelly because one day I was warming up and someone mistook that sound for an elephant. And some family call me Kitty. 

The bravest thing I’ve ever done is… probably go to the war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan. We were fired at by a ground-to-air missile when we were travelling over Basra in 2005 on my first trip. We go with The British Forces Foundation, providing morale-boosting concerts for regiments or areas that have had a particularly hard time. I feel very honoured to be able to be a part of the military family and go out and sing for them, and I’ll do it for as long as they want me to. 

My favourite TV show is… probably Homeland, I love all that spy stuff. I thought the last series was amazing. I loved the twist at the end. 

My perfect evening is… Are we talking pre-Covid? Then it would be going out to a restaurant with my husband and a couple of our couple friends. Japanese or Lebanese are our favourites if we’re eating out. Luckily, I am in lockdown with a husband who really can cook. 

I’d like to say sorry to… all the rhinos of the world, that we’re not able to protect properly in this current crisis. Seeing the images every day of slaughtered rhinos is so heartbreaking. There are many people who are really trying their best to protect them, but it’s very difficult. 

My first kiss was… with my first-ever boyfriend, Kevin, who I’m still friends with today. He’s a lovely guy. 

The one thing I’d change about myself is… This is an interesting question because in my life I would have given you different answers – “I’d like to be taller” – but as I’ve turned 40 I’ve learned to be comfortable in my own skin and be thankful for what I have. 

The best thing my parents taught me was… that you get out of life what you put in. My mum worked really hard in her profession and my dad was the house husband and looked after us at home. So my mum set an example of the only way you’ll get what you want, in whatever you’re doing, is by putting in the hours, working hard and being dedicated. My sister and I really took that on board and she’s given us a really strong work ethic. 

Katherine Jenkins model shot

‘Since I turned 40 I’m more comfortable in my own skin,’ says Katherine (Image: David Venni)

The last time I cried was… yesterday. We’ve had a bereavement in the family, so it’s been a bit of a tough time. 

The first record I ever bought was… Madonna’s Material Girl. My mum bought it for me because I remember asking for it. I now have lots of Marilyn Monroe things at home and it’s because of that first video, seeing Madonna in the pink dress with lots of diamonds. 

It’s not good for my image but I like… karaoke. And I’m also really bad at it, would you believe? If you ever saw me at karaoke you’d say, “And people pay money to see her?” I tried to sing Adele once and murdered it, so I’m not going to make that mistake again. I now do Empire State Of Mind and I rap the Jay-Z part because it’s safer. People have a different expectation of me rapping than they do of me singing. If I do it in a Welsh accent people seem to think it’s funny. 

My greatest weakness is… my kids. I’m besotted with them. I’m quite strict, so they can’t get away with too much, but like all parents you’d do anything for them. 

If I could pass any law I would… have a global crackdown on all wildlife sales, all the horn, all that stuff. My husband and I are both patrons of Tusk, which is Prince William’s charity, and the Wilderness Foundation. 

I drive… an Audi Q7. 

Cover of Katherine's new album Cinema Paradiso

Katherine’s new album, Cinema Paradiso, is out now (Image: Publicity Picture)

The shop I can’t walk past is… Hamleys. I tend to do all of my own shopping online but if I am walking past Hamleys or the Disney Store, anywhere that I know my children would love to be in, I’d rather go in by myself and pick out a few bits than have them dragging me round it. 

The most expensive thing I’ve ever splashed out on is… When I signed my second record deal I bought myself an antique Steinway grand piano, which I love. It reminds me of that time. 

The actor who would play me in a film is… maybe Scarlett Johansson because she’s a bit more on the curvy side and I like her as an actor. 

The worst job I’ve ever done is… I was a tour guide on the London Eye in 2000 when they’d just opened it. They wanted people in the pods for safety reasons, so they hired students from the music colleges and stage schools in the area but styled us out as “tour guides”. I had to go round the London Eye for eight hours a day in the summer. It was baking, there was no air conditioning in those pods and I definitely got over my vertigo that summer. 

My perfect Sunday is… probably a lie-in with my kids in the bed watching Planet Earth or something in the morning. Then a nice big walk in the afternoon and a really great home-cooked roast dinner. Saturdays are normally work days for me because I sing on a Saturday night, so it’s really nice just to have a low-key family day on a Sunday. 

Katherine Jenkins model shot

Katherine’s wedding day was the best day of her life (Image: David Venni)

My favourite place in Britain is… Wales, of course. The Mumbles and the Gower coast, all around there. The Gower Peninsula is just so gorgeous. Being Welsh is a massive part of my identity. 

My last holiday was… Barbados for New Year. It was lovely, the first time in a long time that I’d been away over New Year. It had been a very intense year with my husband making a movie, so we just needed to have some family time. 

I’m currently reading… It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life Of Love And War by Lynsey Addario. I actually had dinner with Lynsey just before the lockdown. She’s a war photographer and she’s fascinating. 

The best day of my life was… I would have to say getting married. It’s a toss-up isn’t it because when you have your children, how do you choose? But I suppose those days wouldn’t have come without marrying Andrew. 

If I had half an hour left on Earth, I’d… scoop up my children and my husband, take the best bottle of champagne I could possibly find and walk down the beach with them, hopefully at a sunset, and just cuddle them all. 

Katherine’s new album, Cinema Paradiso, is out now. 


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