|Born:||July 13, 1988|
Tulisa Contostavlos (born July 13, 1988) is an British singer-songwriter and actress, better known by her stage name Tulisa. She is best known for being a member of the Camden-based R&B trio N-Dubz, with her cousin Dino "Dappy" Contostavlos and their friend Richard "Fazer" Rawson. Tulisa was born on 13 July 1988, in Camden Town, North London to Ann Byrne (who was formerly a member of 80's band Jeep, with her three sisters, before Tulisa was born) and Steve (Platon) Contostavlos (also part of Mungo Jerry). Tulisa was an only child and lived with her parents near to the other N-Dubz members Dappy and Fazer. Her parents separated when she was nine years old. She became a carer for her mother who was diagnosed with Schizoaffective disorder when Tulisa was a baby. She grew up caring for her mother. Tulisa had an upbringing living in a typically bad council estate and experienced a lot as a teenager: violence, depression, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, Anorexia Nervosa, mental health issues, financial difficulties and bullying. She started her secondary education at La Sainte Union Catholic Secondary School for girls, but at thirteen she was withdrawn and "on the edge of suicide". She revealed that she twice tried to kill herself as a teenager and also used to self-harm to try and help her cope with everything she was going through. With support from her uncle and N-Dubz's former manager Byron Contostavlos she then tried to put her life back on track and at fourteen years old enrolled in the same school as Dappy and Fazer, Haverstock Secondary School, which they had been attending since they were twelve, later going to Quintin Kynaston School in Westminster. She described her school experience on Twitter as, "really hard, but I'm not sad about my life. Everything happens for a reason and I wouldn't take back one bad thing, because it's made me who I am and look at me now, how could I complain?"
She acknowledges the dangers teenagers face in relation to weapons, growing up on depressed council estates in Britain, saying: "I'm lucky, I never had a knife pulled on me. But now it gets more dangerous every day as kids are carrying weapons".
Contostavlos first set out as a solo performer when she was a young girl, however Dappy and Fazer, who had already started rapping together, decided they wanted a female voice in the group, which was called the Lickle Rinsers Crew at the time, and so invited Tulisa to be part of the group. They started performing together as a group around Camden from as young as twelve years old. For N-Dubz's second album, she did a solo song called "Comfortable" which sparked rumours that she was to leave the group and go solo however when asked by girls magazine Sugar she said "One day we'll all definitely go solo. I'd like to bring out an album and so would the lads. But we'd always be involved in other people's stuff. I'd want Fazer to produce it and Dappy to co-write with me".
She states her favourite part of being in a group is performing live:
"I like festivals because I find them a challenge. You've got thousands of people there and they're not all there to see you. It's about winning the people over who are there to see a different act and making them walk away saying, 'I went there to see so and so, but you know what, I really loved the N-Dubz performance."
On 29 October 2009, Tulisa co-presented BBC Radio 1Xtra with bandmate Fazer to sit in for DJ Semtex, where they gave an exclusive snippet of the song "Na Na" off their new album, Against All Odds, and they also played the album intro. On 10 January 2010, Tulisa joined Nick Grimshaw as a presenter for BBC Switch on Radio 1.
During a performance, Tulisa fainted on stage. Multiple news sources have reported that it was due to suspected swine flu. Jonathan Shalit, the band's manager, stated that Tulisa "was taken ill on the flight out to Greece on Thursday" and that "her bandmates are all very worried about her". The group were due to perform at Radio 1's Big Weekend on 10 May 2009, but their participation was placed in doubt while Tulisa was hospitalised. It was later confirmed that Tulisa had tested negative for swine flu and it had just been a bad case of exhaustion and the group did perform.
Tulisa played the role of Laurissa (a cocaine addict who is in pop group The Fam and gets abused by her manager and boyfriend 'Prangers', played by Ricci Harnett) in the TV series Dubplate Drama. Her bandmates also appeared in the show as different characters. She'll be playing herself in the upcoming film, Bulla, and is to make her big screen debut in a gritty new film drama about teen suicide called Suicide Kids.
In 2009, Contostavlos turned down a £250,000 offer to pose nude for playboy magazine on moral grounds. She was also named at number 15 in FHM's '100 Sexiest Women in the World list' in the May 2010 issue, but has stated several times she will never strip for photos due to her moral beliefs. Contostavlos was in an on/off relationship with DJ Adam Bailey who she was reported to be engaged to in early 2009, but she finished with him when he was accused of GBH. She gave evidence in Bailey's trial and in December 2009 Bailey was cleared of involvement in the attack.
In 2010, Contostavlos was on a BBC programme called Tulisa:my mum and me describing her life before N-Dubz looking after her mother.