I always wanted to be a performer. As a kid I was involved in drama groups, choirs, dance classes – anything that involved performing. I went to Stagecoach every weekend for years and did A Level drama. Every time I was on stage it felt like the most amazing feeling in the world and I didn't want it to end. So it was always in my bones.
I was still at school when I went on The X Factor. I really wanted to get away, and a friend signed me up for the show. It just kind of happened, and before I knew it I was performing to millions of people on a Saturday night. It was a fun experience – very daunting, very full-on for a 16 year-old, but I took it in my stride. I still feel positive about it because I've done so many wonderful things because of it.
I didn't want to just be known as a singer and was very keen to pursue my acting. I was lucky that Jim Cartwright saw me on The X Factor and that led to me doing The Rise and Fall of Little Voice. So my singing proved to be a great platform for other things. I've been able to build a career in my own right, on my own terms.
My worst audition ever was probably for Made in Dagenham – I was really nervous and I was sick as a dog beforehand. I had to do this really intense song but I was all over the place, and my accent kept coming out as Australian. I walked out and couldn't stop laughing about it – there's no point beating yourself up about these things.
My latest role is in Hatched 'n' Dispatched at the Park Theatre. It's about a family in a small northern town in the 1950s who have a funeral and a christening on the same day. It's really funny but also very emotional – like most northern families the characters tend to keep their emotions in check until they all burst out and unravel. It goes from 0 to 100 in the space of a few scenes. My character's very fun and naughty; she's on her third pregnancy and has caused a lot of local gossip.
I'm acting alongside some Corrie legends in Vicky Binns and Wendi Peters. Wendi plays the lead and the part was made for her – she's so funny, such a strong actress. She's amazing to watch; I brought my mum to rehearsals the other day and she was absolutely blown away. It's a lovely company and we all bounce off each other. I've been settled in London for a few years but I'm still a northerner at heart!
Next up for me is playing Janet in The Rocky Horror Show and I can't wait to get started. I've only seen it live once, when I was very young, but I've seen the film countless times. It's amazing, a classic. My friends were round for dinner recently and they're so excited about me doing it. People get so into it!