WISE WORDS: Anastacia Talks Breast Cancer 'Blessing', Past Lives And Reveals Her Dream Collaboration (EXCLUSIVE)

'Even though things haven't always been steady for me, I’ve loved every minute of it.'

In the latest of our WISE WORDS interviews, we sat down with Anastacia to find out all of her most important life lessons.

Since bursting onto the scene in 2000 with her signature hit ‘I’m Outta Love’, Anastacia has gone on to enjoy success all over the world, and recently returned to prominence here in the UK with a stint on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’.

During the course of the interview, she opened up about how she managed to find the positive in her cancer diagnosis, her theories about her past lives and the star she’d most like to collaborate with in the future...

<strong> Anastacia</strong>
AGF srlREXShutterstock

What do you do to switch off from the world?
Normally it would be yoga, which is a really, really great way for me to feel like I can find myself. When you’re in the yoga room, you’re not thinking about what’s going on outside, you’re focussing on this move, this time, with your one self.

And in a way that’s really empowering, because what you have to focus on what you’re doing, not worrying how someone else is posing, or about what their leg looks like, or the fact that they can go lower than you - because that’s what your mind does. It’s just part of our genetic code and we have to concentrate on not doing that, so it’s a conscious process. And I’m not great at it, but I definitely try to stay focussed and yoga does help that.

I didn’t like it at first, but my sister got me into it, because she bribed me - she said if I went with her, she would take me for Mexican food and margaritas afterwards. So that was my way of getting into yoga - that’s the most truthful sentence of my life, is she got me into yoga by bribing me with Mexican food and margaritas. And hence, I am a mindful woman today.

How do you deal with negativity?
I immediately change it into positivity. I just find everything negative has a positive side, or there’s a reason for it.

Like, I say I was blessed with cancer, instead of saying I’m a victim of it. When someone passes, you need to find either you were grateful you had the time with them, or they inspired you to be a better you. You can still miss them, there are many things you can still do that are realistic and honest, yet find the part of it to be positive about.

My mom told me a story that made me realise this is kind of who I am. I was playing with my sister’s dolls but I shouldn’t have been, because I was kind of at the age where you just want to take things apart. So I was probably trying to rip off their heads and arms and my mom said to me, ‘I had to go and buy your sister a new doll. And your new doll is the doll you broke’.

And so I said ‘can you fix the arm’, and she’s like, “I can tape it”, and I was just like, “that’s great, whatever”. And so what did I do? I played hospital. That doll, with the tape, would be in the hospital, and everyone else would be visiting. You know, the cows and the cars and whatever it was… and that’s why my mom says, “the core of who I know you are is the core of who you’ve always been”.

When and where are you happiest?
I say that my home is where my heart is, and my heart is always quite peaceful and wonderful, so no matter where I am, my heart is there and I’m really settled. So I’m always peaceful wherever I settle myself.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Maybe when I was young and I didn’t know it, my mum really taught us not to judge people for what they look like, but for how they made you feel. I grew up with a mom in theatre so most of her friends were theatre friends - so most of the guys had girls’ names and most of the girls were guys’ names, and then they were black and Chinese and everything, and we just had a big old smorgasbord of a house. And that was normal! We didn’t know anything different, and that’s how I grew up.

<strong>'Everything negative has a positive side.'</strong>
'Everything negative has a positive side.'

What has been the hardest lesson that you’ve had to learn?
Without all my life lessons, I wouldn’t have become who I am, so I don’t even consider anything too hard. I just think with anything that is difficult, time heals all. So it’s really not about what personally and what specifically has been difficult, it’s about allowing it to take its time.

And time is difficult to deal with when you’re trying to heal. You want it to heal right away, and sometimes that’s not what needs to happen. So need to go, ‘OK, it’s not going to fix today. Alright, let’s wait for tomorrow. Is it fixing yet?’, but you just have to let it take its time. And that is the ultimate lesson.

What would you tell your 13-year-old self?
I’d just had Crohn’s disease, so I would tell her that she will get kissed by a boy. My scar, the doctor said, “I’m gonna put this on your bikini line”, and when I saw it was across my stomach I was like, “That is not my bikini line! I don’t wear bikinis from the 1950s! My bikini line is down here, bro”.

So I was mortified, and I thought no boy would ever look at me again, and I just thought it was awful. So I would tell my 13-year-old self to realise that scars are beautiful, and I ended up wearing it as a proud badge… but when I was young I didn’t feel that way.

What three things are left on your to-do list?
I want to write a book. That’s something I’ve talked about for a while, so I know that’s going to happen.

I’d have loved to have got some kind of Brit Award, even if it’s just for dying at this point, I’ll take anything I can get So yeah that would be nice, but it may not happen.

What else would I like to do? I mean, there are, like, a gazillion people I’d like to work with. I love Sia as a writer as well as a singer, but I know the demand is high. And my manager discovered her, so if anyone has a really great connection it’s me *laughs* There are tonnes of people out there with tonnes of talent, and I’d be lucky to work with a lot of them, but I’ve had my share of many people I’ve worked with, and I don’t want to be greedy.

<strong>Anastacia was one of this year's most memorable 'Strictly' stars</strong>
Anastacia was one of this year's most memorable 'Strictly' stars
BBCJay BrooksMatt Burlem

What do you think happens when we die?
I believe in many different religious beliefs, as long as they don’t alienate other people and they’re not negative, as far as death goes. I do believe that spirits are around, I believe in ghosts, I believe that heaven is there, I believe in God but I believe in many different forms of him both universal and up in heaven.

I do believe, in the pit of my soul, that I, in a past life, was a mother of many children. And that I had a great marriage with a lot of kids, and that I had a very, very wonderful time doing that, and this life is not about that. Because this life is about giving back to the ones that I couldn’t give to, because they’re not my kids.

So that’s how I’m taking this life, and that’s why I have more of an optimistic approach of not needing to validate not having to have children, and it never really happened. So I don’t have this emptiness inside, because I feel like I’ve had so many. I’ve had too many children! And I don’t want to seem like a kook either, but it’s really just the truth - I believe in a lot of different things because I believe that anything is possible.

But I believe when you die, I know that that’s it, with whatever body you’re in. If your spirit moves on it moves on, but I have a feeling that this is my last life... which is why it feels so amazing, and that’s kind of ironic - even though things have been not so steady for me, I’ve loved every minute of it, learning and finding a better me. Each and every step I get closer to it, so maybe I actually am getting to the point that my next life is Dalai Lama.

What is a time that you feeling like we’re in the presence of something greater than ourselves?

Oh, I’ve been around that. I met Mandela, and I met Elton. So… that’s pretty much it. That would be the African idol and the English idol. Enough said!

<strong>Performing with Beyoncé at a concert for Nelson Mandela in 2003</strong>
Performing with Beyoncé at a concert for Nelson Mandela in 2003

What do you try to bring to your relationships?
I definitely try to bring humour into it, I always try to make it light and polite. But I also bring honesty. So one has to deal with me being truthful, when in a relationship or being friends with me.

And it’s not always welcome honesty, but that’s what I’ve had to learn, is that there’s a time and a place for honesty. So as much as honesty is respected, sometimes you really do have to find a way to be appropriate with how much of it you give to people.

What keeps you grounded?
I mean, I would probably say my sister, but I choose people in my life that are very grounded. They’re not types that are living in a bubble, they’re hard-working people to begin with, so to have people around me who are like that helps me continue to live in the world I like to live in, which is quite level-headed.

I also didn’t get this job until I was 30. I wrote the album at 31 and the first time I sang in front of people I was probably nearly 32. So I wasn’t a spring-chicken when all of this came about, so I can’t really fall off the map too far. I mean, you can - but I am so rooted to who I am anyway, that all the circumstances didn’t make me think I was better than anyone.

What is the last good deed or act of kindness that you received?
I got a Starbucks from my publicist *laughs* and she walked down the street to find me because I was lost, which I find is a very true act of kindness - she didn’t have to do that, she could have sent someone to get me and she didn’t.

When you think of acts of kindness, that sort of thing is truly kind, and sometimes in the moment you think it in your head but you don’t say it.

You surround yourself with people that you want to be like too, you look up to and that is what life should be about, finding people to bring you to a better place *laughs* I feel like I sound like a self-help book!

Anastacia is touring the UK in 2017 in support of her latest project, ‘A 4 App’. For more information about dates and tickets, visit Live Nation.

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