Junior speaks to the singer and BGT judge about her daughter and decision to voice a character in the hit preschool animation series
Britain’s Got Talent judge Alesha Dixon has another string to add to her bow. As well as singer, dancer and reality TV judge, the mum-of-one is now a voice artist, recording a cameo in Doc McStuffins. The 37-year-old is following hotly in the footsteps of Michelle Obama, who also recently appeared on the beloved animated Disney Junior series about the life of a young a stuffed animal veterinarian.
We sat down with Alesha to hear all about her foray into the world of animation and discuss Doc McStuffin’s biggest fan – her 2-year-old daughter Azura.
What inspired you to lend your voice to a character in Doc McStuffins?
I love trying new things and I’m a big fan of animation, so when the opportunity came up to do Doc McStuffins I jumped at the chance. Since having my little girl I watch a lot of children’s television and Doc McStuffins is one of those shows that even if Azura switches off, my partner and I still find ourselves watching it because it’s really engaging. I love its positive messages about looking after yourself and others and I think Doc is a really great role model for young girls and boys.
What character do you play?
I voice a tiger toy called Winnie that blows up balloons for a child’s birthday and has breathing trouble, a bit like asthma. Doc McStuffins is such a positive show and it talks a lot about health care, whether it’s issues such as asthma or other illnesses. In each episode Doc fixes a broken toy and then gives these brilliantly articulated explanations presented in a simplified way that children can understand. Children learn without even realising it.
Alesha plays Winnie, an antique toy tiger who struggles to blow up balloons
Everyone on BGT judging panel is a parent. Do you swap parenting tips with Simon, David and Amanda?
We do! We always do the catch-up thing when we see each other and show updated photos of our children and talk about what’s going on with them. I was saying to Simon that Azura’s favourite word at the moment is ‘no’ and he proceeded to tell me that he went through the same phase with Eric. It’s funny, when we first started on Britain’s Got Talent we used to talk about dogs – and we still do because we’re all obsessed with our animals – but now it’s definitely moved onto children!
You’ve been busy with BGT and now you’ve returned to the world of music. How do you manage to balance motherhood with your busy career?
The reality of it is that life is about juggling. You need to have a great support system around you. I take it day by day and the great thing about being self-employed is that you can play around with your diary a bit more to suit you. Quality time with my daughter is important to me so for example this morning I took Azura to Disco Ducks and I was jumping around with her and a load of two-year-olds. And then I’ll head into work and be sitting in hair and makeup singing the Disco Duck songs because I can’t get them out of my head!
Does Azura take after you at all? Is she showing signs of being a natural performer or a harsh critic?
I hate the fact its a cliché, but she really loves singing and dancing! As soon as music comes on it’s like she switches into a different mode and it’s almost as if she can’t stop herself from moving. She’s got great rhythm and it’s lovely to watch her. She’s really musical too. But there is a little part of me that hopes she’ll also love other things and not just music and dance.
Alesha Dixon gets to work recording for Doc McStuffins
She’s two now – is she going through the terrible twos or have you managed to skip it?
Oh yes, every day! It’s so funny because I’m one of the last of all my friends to have children and they would all talk about the terrible twos and you always think, ‘my child won’t be like that,’ but you’re fooling yourself. The terrible twos are real and they exist and I’m experiencing them right now! I try to be as relaxed about it as possible because it does pass. Whenever she’s having a tantrum or she’s upset, you just have to remember it’s a phase.
What’s your favourite thing to do together?
We love playing musical instruments. I’m trying to teach her how to play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star on the keyboard, but she pushes my hand away because she’s so headstrong. She’s really independent already, but my mum says I was exactly the same at that age and she couldn’t teach me anything!
You’ve got a great sense of style. Do you enjoy dressing your daughter and what do you like to put her in?
I do enjoy dressing her but she now has her own opinion about what she wants to wear! The past two years there’s been no debate or conversation and now I go to pull something out for her and all she wants is her Minnie Mouse skirt or Doc McStuffins outfit. She just wants to play dress up all the time!
What are your plans for Mother's Day this year?
My theory about Mother’s Day is that I’m supposed to sit there and relax and wait to be surprised, so my plan is to do nothing and hope my partner has something up his sleeve! But I’m pretty easy going about it all so I don’t really mind, just as long as I get to spend the day with my family.
Catch Alesha Dixon in Doc McStuffins at 4.30pm on weekdays on Disney Junior. Find out more at Disney.co.uk/Disney-junior.