Leona Lewis: ‘I wish to experience being a man for a day, just to witness the contrasting treatment I would receive.’

Born in London, Lewis, 38, attended stage school at the age of six. Following her victory on The X Factor, she released her first album, Spirit, in 2007. Her track Bleeding Love topped the charts in 35 countries and became the best-selling single of 2008 worldwide. In 2009, she performed I See You, the theme song for the film Avatar. With three Grammy nominations and six Brit Awards nominations, she has won Mobo, MTV, and World Music awards. This year, she is celebrating the 10th anniversary of her album Christmas, With Love, which featured the holiday hit One More Sleep. Lewis is married, has a daughter, and divides her time between London and Los Angeles.

What is your greatest fear?

Spiders.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

I can sometimes be a people-pleaser, neglecting my own needs.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Cruelty towards animals or children.

Describe yourself in three words

Sensitive, kind, silly.

What would your superpower be?

To have the ability to see into people’s souls.

If you could bring something extinct back to life, what would you choose?

Dinosaurs – specifically those that eat leaves.

What is your most unappealing habit?

I used to wrap strands of my hair around my lip, although I don’t do it that much anymore. It’s really weird.

What scares you about getting older?

Having regrets.

Who is your celebrity crush?

Jason Momoa.

Which book are you ashamed not to have read?

Probably all of them because I’m not particularly into English literature. I tend to read a lot of self-improvement books.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

A singer.

What is the worst thing anyone’s ever said to you?

It happened when I was younger, somewhere outside London. We were on bikes, and an older girl said something racist that I won’t repeat. I’ll never forget that moment because it was the first time I felt different from everyone around me.

What does love feel like?

Selfless and liberating.

Have you ever said ‘I love you’ without meaning it?

I don’t say it unless I mean it.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

I say “like” a lot. Sometimes when I listen back to myself, I realize how often I say it – I can’t help it!

What is the worst job you’ve ever done?

I actually enjoyed all my retail jobs (I worked at H&M and Gap), but the sale periods were the worst – especially the summer sales.

If you could edit your past, what would you change?

I would tell myself to stop worrying so much.

If not yourself, who would you most like to be?

A man for a day. I wouldn’t mind experiencing the world through a man’s perspective and seeing how differently I would be treated.

What keeps you awake at night?

Thinking about all the children affected by the ongoing wars.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

Nothing is guaranteed, and things can change in an instant. It’s important to adapt and stay present in the moment.

Tell us a joke

What happens when you eat tinsel? You get tinselitis.

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