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Paloma Faith

A millennial Barbara Windsor

Jeff Spicer/Getty Images

I first met Paloma Faith in 2001, says Eva Wiseman in The Observer, when “it was obvious to everyone who came within six feet of her” that she was going to be famous. Now 41, the “millennial Barbara Windsor” has scored three double platinum albums, Brit awards, Top 10 hits, a judging spot on talent show The Voice, film and telly work. She’s worth an estimated £2m and has 653,000 Instagram followers. “We live in an age where mediocrity is celebrated, so I must be really good at it,” she says.

She has two children and an artist boyfriend to feed, and works relentlessly. A BBC documentary earlier this year, As I Am, followed her painful attempt to take her first baby on a world tour. “I don’t understand why I can’t have everything,” she tells the film-maker while fighting crippling exhaustion and a management recoiling at discussions of a second child. “If anyone can do it, it’s me.”

By the end of the film, it’s clear no one can. It’s raw. The head of Sony Music called to apologise. Lily Allen messaged her to say something like: “I don’t know why I’m crying, I just feel so understood.”

Stars love her. Beyoncé once held her hand at a lingerie shop where Faith worked and told her she’d be “a star”. At an awards ceremony she kept bumping into George Clooney in the loos. “I told him, “I’ve got cystitis, what’s your excuse?’ And he replied, straight-faced, ‘I’m changing my colostomy bag.’”