RUNCORN barmaid-turned-pop star, Nicola Roberts, has achieved success she could only have dreamed of since Girls Aloud shot to fame.
Now she is to fulfil another childhood wish by appearing at the Liverpool Empire.
She said: 'I can't wait to perform at the Empire. I've wanted to be on that stage since I was a little girl - it's a dream come true.'
More than two years have passed since Girls Aloud won Popstars: The Rivals. The made-for-TV fivesome have demonstrated their staying power and are coming to Liverpool on May 27 as part of their nationwide tour.
Nicola, who went to St Chad's, was picked from 10,000 contestants for the reality TV show.
The girls grabbed the Christmas number one spot in 2002 with their debut Sound of the Underground and followed up with a number two album the following May.
Last November, Girls Aloud reached the top spot again with a cover of The Pretenders' I'll Stand By You and released their second album What Will The Neighbours Say to acclaim.
But there have been bad times as well as good.
On Christmas Day 2002 while the girls celebrated hitting the top spot, road manager John McMahone died when the Girls Aloud van crashed.
At the beginning of their career TV show rivals One True Voice accused the girls of faking their vocal tracks on Sound of the Underground.
One True Voice folded soon after their first single failed to meet expectations. While the girls were riding high in the charts, the boys were at a jobs fair at the Halton Stadium.
Nicola said: 'I do feel sorry for them - even if they were totally cocky.'
The girls even came under fire from their own manager about their weight. Louis Walsh said they needed to shift a few pounds despite the fact that Girls Aloud had become the toast of the lads' mags.
Nicola said: 'First he says we're too skinny then he says we need to lose weight. You can't win.
'But I'm lucky with my build. My mum has always been as skinny as a pencil so I'm naturally like this.
'Everyone says we must be under real pressure to keep thin, but I eat a massive breakfast.
'I do worry about the impact we have on young girls. It's a fine line - you've got to try as hard as you can to portray a good image but you have to be normal. You can't be what everyone else wants you to be.'
Before the band, Nicola worked as a barmaid and a waitress but doesn't believe she will be asking for her old job back any time soon.
She said: 'There was never an issue that we weren't going to last.
'We knew we had to go out there and make it work. We knew it wouldn't just come to us. We all had the same goal.
'We've been blessed that we all get on because sometimes you're with each other from 4am that morning to 2am the next day.
'I spend my money on rubbish. I've got nothing to show for it. I still live with my mum. I couldn't buy a house yet - I'm still too young for all that stuff.
'My favourite thing is my new car. It's an Audi TT in denim blue. I just can't stop driving it around.'