Bradford pop star Kimberley Walsh has revealed that she thought she had a big bum when at school in Bradford – but has now learned to love her curvy behind.

Kimberley, 31, who grew up in Sandy Lane and went to Beckfoot Grammar School in Bingley, said her backside made her feel self-conscious at school.

She said: “I was always aware that I had a rather large bottom. There weren’t many girls in my school who were the same shape so I was always like, ‘Oh, I’m not really the norm.’ “I think my bum’s more noticeable because the proportions of my body are quite extreme. But that’s just the way I am. That’s the way I was made.”

Now Kimberley, who shot to fame ten years ago as part of the pop group Girls Aloud, put together by reality show Pop Stars: The Rivals, says she has no issues with her body.

Speaking to Cosmopolitan Body magazine, out today, she said: “I’m really happy with my body at the moment – as happy as I’ll ever be! You have to be comfortable with what you’ve naturally been given. You have to make the best of that and not try to completely change yourself.”

But she did say she gets fed up by tabloid speculation on her weight: “It annoys me, because a lot of the time it’s not even correct. I’ve read so many stories about myself where I supposedly weigh one thing in one picture, then another thing in another picture – when I know for a fact I was exactly the same weight in both pictures. One of them is just a bad angle! ... We’re not perfect. Unless you’ve got a dietician with you all day long, it’s really hard. I think every woman has some experience of dieting, however extreme.”

Kimberley, who was a finalist in the BBC show Strictly Come Dancing last year, has some sound advice for anyone wanting to keep fit – keep dancing.

She said: “The best piece of advice I could give anyone who wanted to lose weight and tone up would be… go on Strictly! Seriously, dancing is amazing for your body because you’re not trying to lose weight or tone up.”

Kimberley says keep fit is better than quick-fix diets: “Like most women, I dieted a lot as a teenager… I remember doing Atkins a few times before a video shoot. It worked, but it was always a quick fix. As soon as I stopped, I’d crave all the things I’d banned myself from and put the weight straight back on! I soon realised that I couldn’t keep it up… I stopped dieting altogether when I was in my early 20s.

“I’ve never been one to follow the crowd or be sucked in by peer pressure. I make sure that if I’m going to change the way I look, whether through diet or exercise, I’m doing it for me.”

* The full interview appears in the summer issue of Cosmopolitan Body, on sale today.