FROM dinner lady to West End star, Chelmsley Wood’s Niki Evans has gone a long way since making it to the X Factor finals in 2007.
Niki is joining Wet Wet Wet singer Marti Pellow once more for Willy Russell’s smash hit musical Blood Brothers, which is on stage now at the Birmingham Hippodrome.
But the 39 year-old said she had never even dreamed she would get on the X Factor, let alone a career on the West End stage.
“I went walking out the room after the first X Factor audition. They had to come and get me,” said Niki, now living in Tamworth.
“I couldn’t believe I had got through. Since that I haven’t said no to anything.”
After her X Factor appearance, she received a call from Blood Brothers producer Bill Kenwright, asking her to audition for the lead role of Mrs Johnston, the brothers’ mother.
“I’d never seen a musical before. I’d never even been to the theatre before. I hadn’t a clue. It was very daunting.
“I’m glad it happened the way it did. If I’d have known what I was letting myself in for...”
But the singer turned actress said she had been determined to prove she was more than just a reality star.
“I wanted to make sure I was good. I’ve seen celebrities picked for roles just because of who they are, and they are pants.
“I didn’t want to let anyone down.”
Since then, Niki has made a name for herself in the theatre world and has even gone onto star in musical Legally Blond.
But she said despite the fame and success, she was still the same person she had always been.
“It was a bit weird when I came back after X Factor. I was a dinner lady previously and people tried to treat me different but they’re used to me now.
“I haven’t changed. My outside looks a bit different but I grew up in Chelmsley Wood and I’m proud of that.
“I don’t change my background.”
Blood Brothers plays at Birmingham Hippodrome from now until November 3.