Biography

It's hard to know which description best sums up Myleene Klass.

Musician, TV presenter, author, businesswoman or model? Interviewer, columnist, pop star, designer, DJ or mother?

The simple truth is, Myleene is all of these things - and so much more. Looking at her extraordinary CV, it's hard to believe how much this young woman has managed to pack into her career so far. Even more astonishing is how she manages to keep her feet on the ground and remain one of the most respected and well loved personalities in the UK.

Myleene Klass posing for her Littlewoods range

This is the story of how a young, jobbing musician became one of the most prolific talents in the UK thanks to a wealth of talent, an abundance of personality, and a couple of lucky breaks.

Myleene was born in Norfolk in 1978 to an English-Austrian father and a Filipina mother. At the age of four, she picked up her grandfather's violin for the first time, and shortly afterwards began playing the piano.

She says, "I don't remember music ever not being part of my life."

"I'm an 80s kid so I'd listen to Kylie but at the same aged I'd also be listening to Tosca and Wagner. I'd make mix tapes with my dad which would cover both pop music and classical, which is interesting because that's kind of where I am now, mixing up the two different styles! I'm a Madonna and Mozart kind of girl."

But Myleene insisted at that point, she was far from destined to be a star.

She giggles, "Believe it or not, I was actually very quiet at school! My report card when I was about seven said, 'Myleene needs to come out of her shell. If she wasn't on the register, we wouldn't know she was there at all! It seems hard to believe now, I know..."

As a teenager, Myleene studied voice at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, adding harp to her repertoire, before winning a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music. After graduating, she worked as a session musician and singer, making her West End debut in Miss Saigon. When a crossroads appeared in her life, the decision she made was to change her life forever.

Myleene Klass in Hear'say

She explains, "I had a choice between playing Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar, or auditioning for a new TV show called Popstars. I went for the latter. My dad thought I was mad! But it sounded fun. I didn't expect anything from it, but for me it was just another audition. We were told they were putting together a 'Christmas band' so, like any jobbing musician, I thought, 'Well, that will get me through to Christmas, then'. Nobody, least of all me, expected it to be huge."

But Myleene had underestimated just how popular Popstars was to become. In 2000, she was picked from thousands of hopefuls to be one of the five members of the show's manufactured group, Hear'Say. Their first single Pure and Simple entered the charts at number one and sold 1.2million copies.

Myleene says, "I really enjoyed the whole process, and when we released our single, it felt very much like overnight success. It was a bit like being in Spinal Tap at times! It felt like a parody because one minute we were ordinary people, the next, there were screaming fans and photographers everywhere we went.

"I don't think anybody will ever have that experience again, because the reality show culture has become so widespread now that people know, at least a little bit, what they're getting into. But we genuinely had absolutely no idea. It was like, 'What on earth...?' It was an amazing time. I'd gone from being a jobbing musician to getting a number one with a band."

A string of hits, and a tour, followed, but the band fell apart under the pressure and split in 2002. The experience left Myleene feeling battered and bruised, and unsure about the future.

She says, "I had my confidence knocked a lot. I thought, 'Am I going to be out of a job at 23?', because we were too famous to work in McDonald's but I didn't know if I could work in music. It was a scary time."

Myleene Klass 'Moving On' CD Cover

Never one to be down for long, Myleene picked herself up again and decided to go back to her roots and make a classical album. In 2003 she signed a solo deal with Universal Classics and released her debut solo album, Moving On. It got to number two in the charts, went gold within weeks, and has since gone double platinum.

At this point, TV was starting to beckon to Myleene. She cut her teeth on a number of guest presenting roles before landing her first major job in 2005, presenting cult Saturday morning ITV show, cd:uk and interviewing all the big pop stars of the time.

She says, "Nobody had ever let me do that before! It was frightening, but I've always liked challenging myself and doing things that scare me. I'd learned a lot from being on the other side. I'd been interviewed by people who hadn't listened to my CDs or done any research, or didn't listen to my answers and respond to them. So I kind of knew what not to do! I soon found it was like being in an orchestra, as you have to listen to all the other parts around you - so in this case, the production gallery in my ear, my co-presenter, the interviewee. It was really exciting, because I'm hugely 'people curious'."

It's lucky Myleene likes taking herself out of her comfort zone, because in 2006, she took on one of the biggest challenges of her life: jetting to the Australian jungle to appear on I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!

She says, "I'd covered music festivals and done slots on nature programmes so I knew I was okay with the great outdoors! "I figured this wouldn't be much different, just a bit warmer!"

With her almost tomboyish, 'can do' attitude and her friendly and warm nature, Myleene was an instant hit with her campmates and also the viewers at home. And when she stripped into THAT white bikini, she became a front-page fixture back home and a cert to reach the finals of the show. Myleene became the most searched-for celebrity from the show EVER on internet search engine MSN, and the most searched for celebrity in the WORLD. She was the highest placed woman on the show, coming second only to Matt Willis.

Myleene Klass covered in bugs in I'm a Celebrity

On leaving the jungle, she auctioned her now-legendary bikini to raise a staggering £7,500 for victims of the collapsed Christmas savings firm, Farepak. The ever-modest star could scarcely believe the reaction.

She says, "I think a lot of people thought I would cry a lot in the jungle! But my dad was in the Navy, my mum was from a third world country - I'm not the type to complain about a bug or a lack of food! There is so much reality in my life. I couldn't look my parents in the eye if I turned into a brat.""

"As for the bikini, I know people might not believe me, but I really didn't do it on purpose! I actually used to get changed in the dunny because I was self-conscious and felt like I had all these wobbly bits. If I had known that appearing in a bikini would have the effect it did, I'd have walked down Oxford Street in a bikini years ago!"

After returning to the UK, offers for the much sought-after Myleene came flooding in. She accepted presenting roles including the launch of hit magazine programme, The One Show, along with The People's Quiz (both BBC1).

Then in 2007 came one of her most pivotal roles: her own movie show, The Screening Room, on worldwide channel CNN International which goes out to 400 million people.

She says, "That changed my life. I have been all over the world to interview some amazing people from Johnny Depp to A. R. Rahman, the Slumdog Millionaire composer. I'm not a journalist, I'm an inquisitive musician, but I think that works to my advantage because people love to talk to me about music, and I have a point of difference for them because I'm on the other side too. I remember asking 50 Cent about Doris Day movies, and he admitted he cried at them!"

My aim is to get new answers from people who have been interviewed many, many times before, and that's a really fun challenge. I never know who I'm going to be interviewing next and that means life is never boring."

Myleene Klass in white bikini for Marks and Spencer

Myleene's exotic looks, famous curves and natural charm soon came to the attention of massive UK retailer Marks and Spencer. In 2007, she was signed up to be one of the faces of the brand's famous marketing campaigns and has adorned billboards and TV adverts alongside such luminaries as Twiggy and Erin O'Connor, as well as presenting her own show on M&S TV.

She says, "For a girl who's 5ft 5ins, with brown hair and brown eyes, to be standing next to Twiggy, Lily Cole and Erin O'Connor was something else! I had to pinch myself. It's been one of the highlights of my career, definitely. Supermodels are totally different from the rest of us, they have limbs so long they are almost Goddess-like! So for an ordinary girl like me, it's been an amazing experience."

July 2007 also saw Myleene return to music with a brand new deal with EMI Classics. She has released two albums: Myleene's Music For Romance and Myleene's Music For Mothers, both of which reached number one in the classical charts. Music also played a big part in her presenting roles which included Saturday Night Divas (ITV1) in 2007, Last Choir Standing (BBC1) Popstar To Operastar (ITV1) in 2010-11, and The Classical Brits (ITV1) from 2008-present.

Since 2006, Myleene has hosted a show on Classic FM and can currently be heard every Saturday and Sunday evening from 10pm to midnight. She says, "I'm all about taking classical music to the masses and letting a new audience know that classical music doesn't have to be scary."

In her personal life, Myleene's life has been equally busy. She and then-boyfriend Graham Quinn became parents for the first time to baby Ava in 2007, and sister Hero followed in 2011. The pair married in a discreet and intimate ceremony in front of just 16 guests in October 2011, seven months after Hero's birth.

Becoming a mum didn't slow Myleene's career; quite the reverse. The experience inspired her to work just as hard to provide not just a home but inspiration to her daughters.

She says, "I want to set a good example by being a working mother, and show my children that it can be done. In the early days I took Ava everywhere - she's been on P Diddy's yacht and up the Nile! It's slightly different now she's bigger but I still like to spend as much time with them as I can, whilst still working and pushing the boundaries and learning all the time."

Myleene Klass 'My Bump and Me' book cover

In 2008, Myleene became an author with the publication of her candid book, My Bump and Me, written during her first pregnancy.

She says, "It was a real diary, I've always kept them, inspired by my dad keeping a captain's log! It wasn't meant for publication. But then I realised although there are lots of self-help books telling you what to do, there wasn't really anything that told you how it really is. Pregnancy's not like the movies paint it. Having a baby is wonderful, but it's also the hardest thing I've done. They don't come with a manual! You don't need a manual, but you do need reassurance, and that's what I aimed to do."

Next up came her own clothing range BabyK available exclusively through Mothercare stores. The range has been such a success, it has been extended to include children up to five years old.

She has also designed her own nail range, Myleene Klass Nails, available from a range of high street stores.

Myleene says, "For Baby K I'm fully involved in every aspect, including the pitches, which is brilliant because it's like being on The Apprentice! My range is my own vision, it's not based on trends. I march to the beat of my own drum. I've never followed what other people do."

The range has been a huge success, is now an international brand found in 29 countries and has been extended to five years old. Also includes the Babyk orchestra (going back to Myleene's classical routes) and home and travel from her experiences globe-trotting.

Myleene's presenting work has continued with shows including 10 Years Younger (C4), World's Youngest Daredevils (Sky Living) and the US version of I'm A Celebrity seeing her in a role safely away from the spiders and snakes for a change! She won Cosmopolitan's Ultimate Comeback Queen in 2007 and Ultimate TV Presenter in 2008, and Specsaver's Celebrity Spectacle Wearer of the Year in 2009.

Myleene is also delighted to be working as an ambassador for Save The Children, one of many charities she supports.

She says, "I think we have to give back. Particularly as a mother, I have this overwhelming feeling that I have an obligation to do what I can. We live in a global village now and it's important to help."

With such a wealth of experience in so many different fields, it is impossible to predict what lies ahead for Myleene.

She admits, "It's been an amazing ride! I've been to Afghanistan to see the British troops, and met my hero Chaka Khan, along with so many other fantastic opportunities. All of these things have happened to me because I learnt to play the piano when I was a child!"

"I don't profess to be the best at anything I do. I'm just not frightened of being frightened; I'm not scared of taking risks. I only have one life and I believe in grabbing it. I'm not even going to plan what comes next. I'm still evolving.""

"Whatever I do next, I will have passengers on board now that I have my two lovely babies!
All I know is that I'm really, really privileged to do the things that I do."

Last updated October 2012

Timeline

  • 2014

    Myleene become a regular guest panellist on ITV's Loose Women

  • 2013

    Myleene becomes resident fashion correspondant on The Alan Titchmarsh Show

  • 2013

    Launch SS13 Littlewoods Collection

  • 2012

    Launches No. 1 Celebrity clothing range for Littlewoods.

  • 2012

    Launches Myleene Klass Nails, Startrite By Myleene Klass

  • 2012

    Bumps, Babies and Beyond on Discovery and Yahoo Online

  • 2012

    Becomes the 2012 ambassador for Save The Children

  • 2011

    Presents second series of Popstar to Operastar, This Morning and World's Youngest Daredevils

  • 2010

    Presents Popstar to Operastar and Last Choir Standing, and provides cover on This Morning.

  • 2009

    Launches Pantene Pro V's Volume and Body Collection, presents 10 Years Younger: The Challenge and the US version of I'm A Celeb

  • 2008

    Launches her own clothing range, Baby K, through Mothercare stores.

  • 2008

    Presents The Classical Brits, and publishes pregnancy diary, My Bump and Me.

  • 2007

    Signs up with Marks and Spencer as a model, and signs a new deal with EMI Classics.

  • 2007

    Presents The One Show, Saturday Night Divas, and The People's Quiz, and lands her own show, The Screening Room, on CNN.

  • 2006

    Begins presenting her own show on Classic FM, and stars in I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here.

  • 2005

    Presents cd:uk

  • 2003

    Signs a solo deal with Universal Classics and releases Moving On, which goes to number two and eventually goes double platinum.

  • 2001

    Picked to be a member of Hear’Say after getting to the finals of ITV reality show Popstars.

  • 1978

    Myleene is born in Norfolk