I started my secret life as a diva early. It was the 80s and my first memories include begging my parents to buy me the sound track to Flash dance. I don’t think I wanted to become a welder.

As my sister and I tied towels to our heads and jumped from the couch to FAME every week it became clear in my head that I was destined for showbiz greatness. I told everyone I wanted to become a Doctor but in my head I wanted to be Whitney Houston. And so the journey began. I began my hatred of Mariah Carey because she was trying to steal Whitney’s crown. I did dance classes at Mrs Catchpole’s every Saturday. My poor mother had to sew army, penguin and clown outfits for our regular performances. I would steal the words from Album sleeves and take them to school so that I could memorise them.

But then real life took over and I forgot my diva dream. Whitney married Bobby and started making REALLY bad movies. Madonna was on the same path and Cyndi Lauper disappeared. Oh I loved the greats such as Shirley Bassey and Aretha Franklin but I couldn’t copy their fashion as easily.

But then when I was 15 it was like the universe chose to remind me of my Diva Dream. As I was shopping with a friend in a Home Counties mall (ie we still had an Our Price) we came across a singing competition. The first prize was £100 to spend at the leather goods store. £100 !! The Whitney Houston I get “So Emotional” jacket was £99. I would still have £1 to spend on twixes which in those days meant 3.

I took the prize money to be a sign and sang my heart out in my heat to easily make it to the finals. That jacket was mine! I ignored my friend as I practised “The Greatest Love of All” in my head. I considered doing a faster number but, it had been a while since Mrs Catchpole’s dance classes and I didn’t think Hockey moves would be as effective.

Then the final round came. My big competition was a 9 year old Michael Jackson dancing kid who didn’t know the words and just spun on the spot. What a joke. But, in a pre X factor twist the DJ decided that the audience was going to decide the winner? I sang like I owned that mall. I engaged with the audience, I connected emotionally with the song and ……

The cute Michael Jackson idiot won and I learned that there is no leather jacket for 2nd place. Strangely my mother was in the black hair shop nearby and had heard my singing. She told me that I was a little flat. And so ended my Diva Dream. But for one day and one day only I shall relive the magic. I’m planning a group sing a long at Respect la Diva in London for 3 weeks from 7th September. And if you see a woman jump on the stage in a pink leather jacket then, wave my precious and sing along!

For Discount tickets use the code DIVERCITYDIVA at http://www.nimaxtheatres.com/garrick-theatre/respect_la_diva

Chelsea Black is a writer. Romantically seeking her Fubo (future boyfriend) she often gets distracted by misadventures. She is currently working on her second book, first baby (sperm to be confirmed) and first real career. Chocolate and cocktails are food groups