Alesha Dixon and Amanda Holden are often pitted against each other as the leading ladies of ITV series Britain's Got Talent. While many would assume the pair are throwing handbags at each other behind the scenes, Dixon reveals that she and Holden actually stick together in solidarity against sexism in the showbiz industry.
Dixon, 38, has taken part in AOL's Makers series, which casts the spotlight on women succeeding in their high-profile fields. In an exclusive clip shared with IBTimesUK, Dixon details her rise as a member of British r'n'b girl group Mis-Teeq, stumbles as a solo singer, and racial issues she faced growing up in Hertfordshire.
Revealing how she transitioned from a judge on the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing to ITV's BGT, Dixon says: "When I first got the call to do Britain's Got Talent, it was actually Amanda who reached out to me and suggested that we go for coffee and have a conversation."
She continued: "We decided in that moment we weren't going to allow the media to pit us against each other and that we wanted to be responsible role models to show that women should support and not be against each other. We both have daughters and we want to set a great example to them. I think the media gets it now."
Discussing gender inequality and encouraging female empowerment, Dixon said: "I do believe that men and women are different and that should be celebrated but, at the same time, there are a lot of things that girls can do equally well. Whether that's fighting for equal pay or just to be treated with respect, it's something that I think is really important. I love being a female. I love being the boss."
Dixon enjoyed success as one-third of Mis-Teeq with the group going on to sell three top 10 double-platinum albums and seven consecutive top 10 singles. However, the trio split in 2005 to focus on their solo projects. Despite being in one of the biggest girl groups of the noughties, Dixon admits her solo career struggled to get off the ground.
Watch Alesha Dixon's talk on AOL's Makers:
The singer said: "I'd spent a year and a half working on a new record. I put my heart and soul into it, it was my first record after coming out of Mis-Teeq. It meant the world but I was dropped before the record was even released and it broke my heart. I was going through some horrible things personally at the same time but because I am a very philosophical person, when I look back, I realise that I needed to go through that pain and have that fall to get to the place that I am now."
Proving her determination to succeed, Dixon added: "I'd say there is definitely sexism around us in life. I'm just one of those people who's never really allowed it to get in the way of what I want to do. I'm just not having it."