Nadine Coyle has revealed she had a passport thrown at her on stage by a fan, 20 years after the iconic passport fiasco on Ireland’s Popstars.
She really won’t ever live this one down, will she?
Best known as a former member of Girls Aloud, Nadine almost joined a different group as a teenager, except there was a bit of a problem involving her passport.
In 2001, aged 16, Nadine lied about her age to appear on Irish Popstars, a reality singing show similar to The X Factor, but was caught out when she said the wrong date of birth on camera before pretending she couldn’t find her passport to prove her age.
The TV moment has gone down in pop culture history, and fans won’t let Nadine forget it, two decades on.
Nadine, who is currently backing the National Lottery’s Build Dreams Create Change campaign, told Metro.co.uk: ‘I did a show in Belfast last week, and you know the way people throw stuff on stage, I’ve been thrown an actual passport!’
‘Their actual passport! And you’re looking at it going “This is someone’s actual passport.” Not a pretend one, not one that they’ve made for the night.
‘But they thought it was a good idea, in that moment, to hand their real passport to me on stage.’
‘I just thought “You might need this.”‘
If anything, the passage of time has made Nadine’s passport drama more popular than ever thanks to the internet spawning countless memes, jokes, and even songs of the moment Nadine was caught out.
In what is now an iconic cultural moment, a teenage Nadine smiles as she tells the camera that she was born on June 15, 1985, ‘making me a Gemini’, before her face drops and she gasps ‘What date of birth did I say?!’
Thus begins an absolutely chaotic five minutes where the singer insists she said the wrong date of birth by accident and she really is 18, not 16, going as far as calling her mammy in Derry to say she can’t find her passport, before eventually admitting to judge Linda Martin that she lied about her age to get on the show.
Nadine is actually in the process of renewing her own passport at the moment, which is proving somewhat difficult.
Just this week she made the mistake of mentioning to the girls who were doing her hair and makeup and taking her photograph: ‘I need to get my picture taken with a plain background, it’s for my passport.
‘And they all started laughing!
‘I was like “No seriously!”, and both of them doing my hair and makeup got a fit of giggles!’
‘I said again “No seriously” but they started laughing again and I said “No seriously, I seriously, seriously need it!”
‘I still can’t even mention the word passport anymore without it turning into a whole thing’, she laughed. ‘But it was an experience and it’s okay, it’s just fun.
‘I wouldn’t do anything differently. What was I, 16? I’m glad that was the only thing they had on camera! All of the other stuff I’d get up to at that time, then I might be embarrassed, but that’s fine.
‘It all worked out in the end.’
Nadine had landed a role in Irish band Six, but was forced to leave the group and the show and return to Derry.
This would have been particularly hard when, shortly thereafter, Six brought out the smash-hit There’s A Whole Lot of Loving, Ireland’s best-selling song of 2002.
But what would have happened if Nadine had stayed in the show and continued her career with Six?
‘Well we probably wouldn’t be talking right now!’, she laughed. ‘I feel like that was a very short-lived situation for the rest of the guys.
‘It’s been 20 years this year since that whole experience. It is mad!’
Twenty years after the passport fiasco, and with a phenomenal career behind her, Nadine is now giving back to the community by teaming up with The National Lottery for their new campaign.
This week, Nadine unveiled an art installation in Antrim Castle Gardens: the word Dreams, made up of 636 National Lottery balls to represent the 636,000 projects funded by the campaign over 27 years.
The National Lottery and those who take part raise over £30 million every week for good causes, which in Northern Ireland include funding sports, transport, performance, and LGBT+ charities.
Nadine said it is ‘so, so wonderful’ and she feels ‘really privileged’ to be a part of the campaign, adding: ‘You can see the difference this funding can make in communities, especially in smaller towns.’
The star is encouraging people to think about what changes they would like to see in their own villages, towns and cities.
‘You can build a community and make a huge difference and change people’s lives,’ Nadine said, ‘not just in the big picture way but the small things people can do day to day.’
To find out more about the National Lottery campaign, visit the website.
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