OF ALL the people you might expect 80s pop legend Sinitta to share fashion tips with, newsreader and author Kirsty Wark is probably not top of your list.

“We both absolutely love fashion, so we talk about it all the time,” smiles Sinitta.

“She told me about this gorgeous Victorian dress, which I bought. Kirsty is incredibly stylish – just effortlessly chic all the time.

“We became really good friends over our shared love of fashion. I know a lot of people think, wow, that’s a very unusual friendship, but Kirsty is not perhaps as serious as people think she is, and I’m not as crazy.”

She laughs: “So we meet somewhere in the middle.”

Glasgow Times: Sinitta

Sinitta is appearing as part of an all-star cast in Chicago, the 1920s-set show which manages to turn a tale of greed, corruption, exploitation, adultery and treachery into a darkly comic, glitzy musical.

It’s at the King’s Theatre from Saturday – the venue’s first show after more than 500 days of pandemic-related closure – and it tells the story of Roxie Hart, a housewife and nightclub dancer who murders her lover after he threatens to walk out on her.

Desperate to avoid conviction she dupes the public, the media and her rival cellmate, Velma Kelly, by hiring Chicago’s slickest criminal lawyer to transform her malicious crime into a barrage of sensational headlines.

Glasgow Times: Sinitta

Sinitta, who shot to fame in the 80s with hits So Macho, Toy Boy and more, plays Mama Morton, the tough cell block matron with a tendency to take bribes, and no-one was more surprised than she was when she landed the part.

“When the director called me to audition for Chicago, I thought it was for Roxie or Velma, which was a bit embarrassing,” she admits, with a laugh.

“I’d never dreamed of playing Mama Morton because, unusually for me, I actually thought she was too against type. I don’t usually think that because my career has always been about having the courage to do things I might not seem right for on paper.

“But Mama, with her big booming voice, her big personality – I didn’t think I could pull it off.”

She laughs: “So I was standing there with my mouth open when they said I had the part.”

Returning to the stage for the first time in almost 20 years, on the back of having had no opportunity to perform for 18 months because of Covid restrictions, has had an impact on Sinitta’s self-confidence, she admits.

“You’re asking yourself – can I still do this? Can I still sing?” she says. “The voice is like a muscle, after all – don’t use it and you could lose it.

“So I’ve just had to work really, really hard to build up my confidence and to make sure I’m in good shape, both vocally and emotionally.”

Sinitta was born in America but grew up in the UK. She was part of the Stock Aitken and Waterman hits factory of the mid-80s and became known as a larger-than-life, glam pop diva with big hair and a big personality.

“Actually, I was always quite a shy person off-stage but I think because I was on stage performing so much of the time back then, I started to morph into that alter-ego and that’s how I became known,” she explains.

“So now I end up asking, well, now that I’m just me, is that going to be enough?”

Sinitta has 14 international hit singles and three albums under her belt, has performed around the world, and was Simon Cowell’s right-hand woman on The X Factor for years (as well as his very first recording artist when she left Stock Aitken and Waterman and his on-off girlfriend).

She was inspired to act and sing by her mother – Canadian disco soul singer of the 70s and 80s Miquel Brown – and her aunt Amii Stewart, best known for her hit with all-time disco classic Knock on Wood in 1979.

“My mum and my aunt are strong, confident and ambitious women, who loved what they did, and I would be the kid in the dressing room, trying on the clothes and make-up, wanting to be them,” smiles Sinitta.

“I’m still learning from them, and admiring them every day.

“I’m like them because I love what I do – I love the new experience of getting into a character, meeting everyone to rehearse and coming together as a new community. That’s why the last year and a half has been especially hard and strange.

“My mum’s coming to Glasgow to see the show, which is great.

“My aunt’s in Italy so she won’t be able to make it. I’m just excited to be back on the stage, back in theatres which we have all missed so much.”

Sinitta is starring alongside Darren Day as Billy Flynn, Coronation Street’s Faye Brookes as Roxie Hart and RuPaul’s Drag Race UK star Divina De Campo as Mary Sunshine.

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“They are all phenomenal,” says Sinitta.

“It was quite scary, but everyone has been so great. Joel Montague, too, as Amos, is sensational.

“For all that it is a dark show, there are some real hand-on-heart moments and I think everyone is going to fall in love with Joel.”

Chicago runs until September 18, so Sinitta is hoping to get some time to refamiliarise herself with the city.

“I was here A LOT in the 90s – I used to come up a couple of times a month to perform in the clubs, and it was amazing,” she smiles.

“I didn’t see much of it in daylight though, so it will be good to get out and see the sights.”

Chicago opens at the King’s on Saturday, September 11 and runs until September 18.