One of the Cheeky Girls is now selling second-hand cars for a living after quitting pop – and says she loves her new post-fame career.
Identical twins Gabriela and Monica Irimia – found stardom in the pop duo on the 2002 series of Popstars: The Rivals when they first performed their self-penned hit, The Cheeky Song.
The sisters have since turned their back on fame with Gabriella offering up her talents to a completely different industry.
She is now selling new and used cars in York, where she is working at a Hyundai dealership in York as she vows to “learn the ropes” of selling cars before she goes ahead and opens her own showroom.
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She told The Sun on Sunday : “I love selling cars. If I sell a good one it feels like I've won the lottery.”
The pair – who hail from Romania – were criticised by the likes of Pete Waterman during their stint on Popstars: The Rivals but they became a fan favourite with their infectious track, which was written by their mum Margit in just half an hour.
Margit added: “Let me ask you this: can you be a Cheeky Girl when you're 60? She needs to have a business and realises that girl fashion is now cars. Women are changing their cars every year.”
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The pair’s debut single Cheeky Song (Touch My Bum) went straight to number two when it was released in December 2002 and went on to sell 1.2million copies worldwide. There was two more top three singles for the pair – Take Your Shoes Of and (Hooray, Hooray) It’s a Cheeky Holiday! – as well as their album, PartyTime.
Tragically, the twins developed depression and severe eating disorders as they struggled with fame.
“It happened just like that – we didn't have control over our life at all, over our career, so what do you control the best, what you put in your mouth basically,” Gabriela told ITV’s Lorraine in 2016.
“We didn't even realise it, we were just sick overnight. Our memories are quite lost now – looking back at some pictures when we travelled all around the Far East and around Europe, I'm looking at the picture and saying to myself, ‘Did I actually go there?'”
They turned to cosmetic surgery to try and help them secure more jobs, going under the knife nine times and spending a whopping £100,000 between them.
Gabriella revealed: “At the age of 19 we never really had an issue with our body, but the moment we started being pop stars and being in the glamour and being in the industry.
“It was a lot of pressure coming from everywhere so this was the first reason why we took some action – we thought it was going to make our career even better at the time.”
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