‘We didn’t age a bit!’ The Cheeky Girls show off their sleek new look as they celebrate 20 years since their audition on Popstars
They found fame overnight when they auditioned for Popstars: The Rivals back in 2002.
And on Thursday, The Cheeky Girls showed off their sleek new look as they celebrated 20 years since their infamous audition on the singing competition.
Twin sister Monica Taylor and Gabriela Irimia, 39, appeared on Steph’s Packed Lunch on Channel 4 where they gushed: ‘We didn’t age a bit!’
Two decades on! On Thursday, The Cheeky Girls showed off their sleek new look as they celebrated 20 years since their infamous audition on Popstars: The Rivals
Host Steph McGovern said: ‘I cannot believe it’s been twenty years since the first audition on Popstars.’
To which Gabriela replied: ‘I know and we didn’t age a bit! I joking!’ while Monia added: ‘It’s one of those moments in your life you remember forever.’
The duo – who were branded as ‘the worst act I’ve ever seen’ by Pete Waterman – also discussed their new single, ‘Let’s Have Fun’, which was written by their mum, Margit.
Gabriela said: ‘This is to celebrate the 20-year anniversary. It’s called Let’s Have Fun. Of course, The Cheeky Girls are all about fun… It’s to celebrate life and just be happy!’
Smashed it! Despite the criticism from the Popstars judges, The Cheeky Girls went on to achieve four top 10 hits between 2002 and 2004 (Pictured in their heyday)
Unbelievable: Host Steph McGovern said: ‘I cannot believe it’s been twenty years since the first audition on Popstars.’ To which Gabriela replied: ‘I know and we didn’t age a bit! I joking!’
Despite the criticism from the Popstars judges, The Cheeky Girls went on to achieve four top 10 hits between 2002 and 2004.
Elsewhere, the whole Packed Lunch studio joined in with the sisters’ hit track Cheeky Song (Touch My Bum), including Steph and John Whaite.
As part of the Channel 4 show’s daily feature, ‘Girl Group Grub’ the duo cooked up their favourite meal, with Monica explaining: ‘We are going to cook for you a Romanian dish.
‘It’s very, very different. It’s a simple dish you can have as a lunch or a dinner. It’s polenta with cottage cheese and crispy bacon.’
Incredible memories! ‘It’s one of those moments in your life you remember forever’ added Monica as they discussed their new single, ‘Let’s Have Fun’, which was written by their mum
New songs: ‘It’s called Let’s Have Fun. Of course, The Cheeky Girls are all about fun… It’s to celebrate life and just be happy!’ said Gabriela
Gabriela and Monica also revealed how their lives are different these days with both having ‘normal jobs’ working in car sales – although they don’t work together.
Gabi now works at a Hyundai dealership in York while Monica, her younger twin by ten minutes, has been working at another Hyundai dealership in Boston, Lincolnshire for years.
Gabriela said: ‘We are in competition’ with Monica adding: ‘Who can sell the most cars?’
Monica insisted that she is the better saleswoman, saying: ‘I have more experience. I have been in the motor trade a bit longer than my sister!… She is older but she follows in my footsteps!’
In October, the sisters told MailOnline that they both love the job so much they are hoping to open their own dealership one day.
Back then: Gabriela and Monica also revealed how their lives are now so different with both having ‘normal jobs’ working in car sales (Pictured in 2002)
Monica explained: ‘I think the British public have a perception that if you are, or have been, in the public eye or a pop star, you’re not allowed to try something else.
‘I always said it’s no shame to work, it’s a shame not to work. We’ve chosen another career path and we are very, very proud of it.’
Gabi added: ‘I’ve got a passion for cars, so it’s not just the selling bit, but I like the buzz of selling and making people happy.’
The Transilvanian twins – who still perform – also admitted that they won’t be performing into their 60s.
Monica explained: ‘We know there are people selling photos of their boobies on the internet and for me that is no way, not even as a last resort.
‘What we are doing came from a long discussion with me and Gabi, because we accept that The Cheeky Girls is not going to go on forever.
‘OK, we still look good, and we still fit in the hot pants, but I don’t really feel like I will be getting on the stage at 60 — although you never know.’
Throwback! The twin sisters found fame overnight when they auditioned for Popstars: The Rivals back in 2002 (pictured performing in their iconic hot pants)
The duo first emerged on the scene in 2002, wiggling their bottoms and singing the memorable Cheeky Song — penned by their mum-turned-manager — on ITV’s talent show Pop Stars: The Rivals.
The ladies have an older brother, Remus, who drives an organ donor ambulance.
The Cheeky Song single — sample lyric, ‘Don’t be shy, touch my bum, this is life’ — sold more than 1.2 million copies worldwide.
Two more top three singles followed, and hit album Party Time, before the duo seemed to vanish without trace, two more faded stars in the unforgiving pop firmament.
Behind the scenes, however, was a much sorrier tale of eating disorders, bankruptcy and botched breast surgery, all of which has left a legacy of emotional and physical consequences.
Candid: Gabi previously said of her time in the spotlight: ‘Every movement was dictated — what you ate, what you wore, who you met’ (Pictured in 2011)
Of their time in the spotlight, Gabi said: ‘People think being a pop star is such a glamorous life and we did travel the world and get to meet a lot of people, but every movement was dictated — what you ate, what you wore, who you met.
‘And I’m not complaining, because we grabbed this career, and we really wanted to make the most out of it, but it was intense.’
So intense that in the early years of their pop star days, both girls developed anorexia. Their weight plummeted to 6½ st, and they’d weigh everything they ate.
With time they overcame the condition, but both have a series of health problems as a result, with Monica explaining: ‘Our digestive system is completely ruined because of the anorexia.
‘We have kidney stones, IBS [irritable bowel syndrome], stomach ulcers — you’d be surprised. We are managing it today, but it’s there.’
Dark side of fame: In the early years of their pop star days, both girls developed anorexia. Their weight plummeted to 6½ st, and they’d weigh everything they ate (Pictured in 2007)
There was also a series of disastrous breast augmentation operations prompted, both say, by their record label’s decision to hire a busty model for one of their pop videos.
‘We didn’t want to be glamour models, but we were really a bit depressed because she looked a lot sexier than we did. That’s the way we saw it because we had nothing, just two cherries on a cake really,’ said Monica.
They had surgery on London’s Harley Street, which didn’t work out because of their low body fat.
Monica revealed: ‘Our bodies rejected the implants — we looked more awful than before. They kind of moved. One boob was up, one boob was down, it looked awful really. And then we ended up having the second operation to correct that.’
Both went on to have three more corrective surgeries, Monica’s last one in 2017 when one of her implants ruptured in two places, requiring removal and replacement.
Ex: Gabi was once engaged to Lembit Öpik, a former Liberal Democrats MP (Pictured together in London in 2007) and is now in a relationship with a professional bodybuilder called Adam
In 2009 the singers were both declared bankrupt after it emerged they owed £60,000 in tax.
By then, Gabi had also suffered the ignominy of a broken engagement to the Liberal Democrat MP Lembit Opik, an unlikely May to December romance (he was 17 years her senior) that had transfixed the nation.
‘I’m not going to say that my relationship with Lembit wasn’t genuine because it was — but having such a public relationship is not very healthy,’ Gabi told MailOnline.
‘I was really young, 24 or so, and that was one of the main reasons why the relationship didn’t survive because it was just all too much.’
After several other long-term relationships, for the past two years Gabi has been dating a professional bodybuilder called Adam after they met at their local gym.
Monica has been happily married since 2016 to builder-contractor Shaun Taylor, with whom she lives in a Lincolnshire village.
Steph’s Packed Lunch airs weekdays at 12.30pm on Channel 4 and All 4.
Back in the day: 20 years on: The duo first emerged on the scene in 2002, wiggling their bottoms and singing the memorable Cheeky Song — penned by their mum-turned-manager
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