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    Nicole Scherzinger: Moments Like Hers
    By Gioia Patton
    Courtesy of Today's Woman

    “Nicole is one of the youngest Hall of Fame inductees (we’ve) ever had.
    She’s turned the music industry on its ear, obviously with the success of
    the Pussycat Dolls, who this year received a Grammy nomination for
    Video of The Year. Singer, actress — there are so many things Nicole’s
    accomplished in a short time, that (you) can’t help but elect someone as
    talented as she is!”  — Steve Milam, duPont Manual Alumni Hall of Fame

    Although the career success of singer/dancer/actress Nicole Scherzinger is in no way
    beholden to FOX network’s reality series American Idol, while perusing a public
    relations release about Scherzinger a few months ago, the lyrics some people wait a
    lifetime for a moment like this, from 2002 Idol winner Kelly Clarkson’s signature song, A
    Moment Like This, actually came to mind after reading a list of Scherzinger’s career
    highs of the past few years.

    One moment in particular took place April 22 of this year in the life of the striking
    brunette and Louisville native. Scherzinger, the lead singer of the all-girl group The
    Pussycat Dolls, who attended duPont Manual High School’s Youth Performing Arts
    School (YPAS), returned home for a ceremony inducting her into Manual High School’s
    Hall of Fame.

    Speaking by phone this past spring, the very sweet and vivacious Scherzinger, whose
    Pussycat Dolls’ debut single Don’t Cha, rose to #1 on the pops charts, spoke
    passionately about her craft.

    “First of all,” admits Scherzinger with a laugh, “I didn’t even know Manual had a Hall of
    Fame! But when my mother told me about it, I said ‘WOW!’. I really have a lot of pride
    in both YPAS and Manual,” she continues. “I always talk about the values I learned
    from the teachings at both schools as well as the really good structure to grow from in
    the (show business) industry,” says the 29-year-old, a  ‘96 graduate. Scherzinger
    continued her education as a theater major/dance minor for three years at Ohio’s
    Wright State University, but left before her senior year after being chosen from
    grueling nationally televised auditions to be one of five members of the brand-new all-
    girl pop singing group Eden’s Crush, created specifically for The WB network reality  
    series Popstars.

    “You know what? Coming from these performing arts schools, I did have a huge step
    up on my competition,” admits Scherzinger, who is in such demand as a vocalist today
    that she can be heard on the recent albums of Will Smith and Shaggy, not to mention
    as P. Diddy’s duet partner on his single Come To Me.

    “Did I go to the greatest college for making superstar rock and pop stars? I don’t know.
    I do know that I always thought of myself as like a sponge and had said to myself ‘No
    matter what college I go to, nothing is going to stop me from where I want to go in life.’”
    (Pauses) “It just takes a lot of hard work and dedication. I was 14 when I did my first
    professional role (Actors Theatre Louisville). And I don’t think a lot of people realize
    that I’ve sung classical music and also done a number of local musicals, including for
    Music Theatre Louisville. All these local roles helped me get to where I am today as a
    performer and seasoned professional, including,” she says with a groan, “dressing up
    as King Louie at Kentucky Kingdom on hot summer days!

    “I think, career-wise, it’s all about timing, and finally God is on my side saying ‘You’re
    ready...this is your year, now is the time to do your own music and come out as
    a solo artist,’” remarks the woman, who had refused to sign with The Pussycat Dolls
    unless her contract included a solo (recording) deal. Scherzinger’s debut solo album
    Her Name Is Nicole, for which she worked with some of today’s hottest recording artists
    like Macy Gray, of the Black Eyed Peas and Kanye West, has a September ‘07
    drop date.

    “I don’t know where I got the nerve to demand a solo contract after my November ‘04
    Pussycat Dolls audition, because that had been perhaps the hardest year I’d ever
    endured as an artist. I couldn’t even land a commercial as a dancing toothbrush!
    “Though I always dream big,” Scherzinger emphasizes, revealing a ‘how to succeed’
    philosophy. “I’ve found that the first thing (you) have to do towards achieving
    something is to see it. You can believe it, but you have to see it in your mind to actually
    make it happen!” she declares. “You have to proclaim it.”

    Gioia Patton is a celebrity arts & entertainment writer for various publications.

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