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I Know I'm Ready For Pop Stardom At 15

I know I'm ready for stardom at 15, says #1m Billie.

By IAN HYLAND. 10 May 1998The Sunday Mirror

(c) 1998 Mirror Group Ltd

TEENAGE model Billie Piper landed a #1million deal with the Spice Girls' record label after she was spotted in a TV ad ... for a pop magazine.

Billie, 15, from Melinda Messenger's home town of Swindon, thought school friends were winding her up when the call from Virgin came in just before Christmas.

"I've always wanted to be famous," says Billie. "But up until now the only singing I've done has been in the bath."

The record label had been on the lookout for new solo girl power after seeing how poor the competition was at this year's Brit Awards. When they spotted Billie dancing to the Prodigy in the TV ads they liked her attitude.

"I want to show other young people that if they work hard enough for something and want it enough then they can get it," says Billie. "There's more to life than hanging around smoking and drinking.'"

Billie's already proved she's not afraid of hard work. Since clinching the deal she's left school, hired a private tutor and spent the last few months travelling Britain and Europe to promote her first single, Because We Want To, which is out next month.

"I feel like my feet haven't touched the ground," she says. "I've been doing hundreds of interviews and shooting videos and I haven't got a day off until August. God knows how the Spice Girls have managed to keep it going for so long.'

After spending three years at the famous Sylvia Young drama school - where Baby Spice Emma Bunton and All Saints trained - and winning bit parts in shows like EastEnders, Billie says she's ready to deal with fame.

"This is what I want to do," she says. "My parents didn't push me into it. They keep me in touch with reality."

But Billie says she wouldn't go the same way as teen stars Cleopatra, who let their mum work with them.

"Cleopatra are cool, but I think it was a big mistake letting their mum appear in their video."

Fighting talk like that could cause a teen war before bedtime.

(c) Mirror Group Ltd, 1998.