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Javine Hylton: No regrets

NO REGRETS: Javine Hylton

“I’M A tough cookie – I’m one of those people who doesn’t let things drag me down.” The statement from Javine Hylton probably couldn’t be truer.

She’s resigned herself to the fact that her name remains affiliated with the Harvey-Alesha-Javine love triangle that earned her no end of negative press – “I know you have to cover it,” she accepts – but the self-professed “tough cookie” says the past has been put to rest by all concerned.

Friendly and upbeat, the British singer and actress has a lot to be excited about. Having made her film debut in the upcoming flick All Stars, Hylton is now busily working on new music, and a cookbook with recipes for children. And with five-year-old daughter Angel to take care of, the 31-year-old, who took part in the recent London Marathon, running for the charity Breakthrough Breast Cancer, says she has no time for self-pity.

“I look forward in life,” she says. “I don’t have any regrets over anything, that’s one thing. You have to move forwards, you can’t move backwards.”

Nonetheless, Hylton is refreshingly realistic, accepting that her past remains a source of interest for many.

The singer, who rose to prominence as a contestant on the ITV reality show Pop Stars: The Rivals, famously hit the headlines in 2006 when news broke that she had been having an affair with So Solid’s MC Harvey – who was married to Mis-Teeq’s Alesha Dixon at the time.

The scandal rocked the showbiz world, earning both Hylton and Harvey a huge amount of negative press. And the headlines kept coming when Harvey left his wife to pursue a relationship with Hylton.

The couple went on to have a child together, but later split, amid reports that Harvey had cheated on Hylton.

MOTHER’S LOVE: Hylton with her daughter and inset, Hylton’s former partner, MC Harvey

Seven years on, Hylton is understandably keen not to drudge up the past, but is gracious when addressing the saga.

“My daughter is five years old and everyone’s moved on,” she says. “I’d rather not talk about anything like that because we’ve all moved on from that situation and everyone seems to be getting on with their lives.

“Motherhood has really helped me over the past few years. We learn so much from our kids and if ever I’m having a bad day, her energy helps me to snap out of it. With kids, there’s no room for that [self-pity]. You’ve just got to get on with it, especially when you’re a single mum.”

Insisting that she and Harvey remain amicable for the sake of their daughter, she says: “My daughter knows her father; she has a good relationship with him.”

Reflecting on the past, Hylton says that motherhood gave her a new outlook on life.

“Since having my daughter, it takes a lot to get to me now. I have a roof over my head, my mum is healthy – which I’m so grateful for, as I nearly lost my mum a few times – and I really stop and smell the roses now. My life was crazy before, but now I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. I always felt that as soon as I turned 30, I would really find myself and not really care about all the crap that goes on.”

TRIUMPH: Javine took part in the recent London marathon

And that she has. Having started her career in musical theatre, starring in the production The Lion King when she was 18, Hylton has now made her foray into the world of film. Featuring in the upcoming film All Stars, she plays the mother of aspiring young dancer Jaden – played by Got To Dance winner Akai Osei.

Hylton’s on-screen husband is played by much-loved actor Ashley Walters, who Hylton says she’s learned a lot from.

“Ashley Walters plays my husband, which I was really excited about. I’d met him a few times before, and we’ve spent quite a few hours together during filming, so I’ve been able to get to know him quite well.

“He’s a really chilled man and I’ve learned a lot from him when it comes to acting; he’s such a natural. He’s a sweet guy and he’s a really good father. He loves his kids and it’s always nice to see that in a father.”

With many strings to her bow, Hylton, who represented the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2005, is also planning to revive her singing career.

IN CHARACTER: Javine with co-star Ashley Walters in the new film All Stars

“I’m currently in the studio working on new material. It’s been a long time in the making, but I’m working on that now. I think I’ve grown a lot, in terms of [the music] I was doing before. When I think back, I don’t even know if [the music I made back then] was really me. Now, I’m taking the more mature and classy musical approach; more of an acoustic vibe.”

Another of Hylton’s passions is cooking, as she demonstrated when she took part on Celebrity Masterchef last year. Now extending her passion to the world of recipe books, Hylton is currently working on a cookbook.

“I’m writing a recipe book of meals to cook for your children. It’s targeted at working mums, single mums and the mums who aren’t middle-class with all the time and money in the world.

Some people aren’t educated on cheap and healthy food to cook for their children. A lot of people think cheap food has to be frozen food and that’s not the case. I’m really big on cooking healthy food for children.”

What does she consider to be her culinary specialty?

“What people tend to come to me for is curry chicken or curry goat,” says Hylton, who was born to a white English mother and a black Jamaican father. “But I like the simple things too, because I like to cook practically every day.”

Crediting her mum with teaching her how to cook a number of meals, Hylton also praises her mum for the effort she made to embrace black culture.

“My mum was from up north. She came down to London and my [paternal] gran taught her how to cook West Indian food. She also learned how to cainrow.

“Sometimes, I get a lot of white mothers asking me what I use in my daughter’s hair because they have no experience in looking after mixed hair. And mixed hair can be difficult, because people are sometimes unsure whether you should put grease in it or moisturize it. But my mum really made the effort.”

YOUNG STAR: Got To Dance winnerAkai Osei plays Hylton and Walters’ on-screen son

Suddenly realising my own need to learn how to cainrow before my daughter gets older, Hylton admitted she is also yet to master the skill.

“I’ve never been able to do it either,” she laughs. “Perhaps we should get one of those dolls heads and practice!”

With a positive outlook on life and the support of a “wonderful family and some really amazing friends,” Hylton is clearly looking forward to the future. Could more children be part of her future plans?

“I definitely want another one,” she says. “My daughter wants a little brother, but she doesn’t want me to get married! She says I can have a baby, but I can’t kiss the prince! She’s very protective of me.”

Wishing her all the best for her future pursuits, Hylton kindly replied: “Thank you – and good luck with your cainrowing!”

All Stars is in cinemas from May 3 through Vertigo Films in association with Squareone Entertainment

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