Cheryl Cole (born Cheryl Ann Tweedy) was a dancer and model prior to becoming a member of the record-breaking European pop group Girls Aloud. As a youngster, she won several modeling competitions and appeared in commercials, but she made her biggest leap in 2002, when she auditioned for Popstars: The Rivals and was selected to join Girls Aloud, a group that went on to release 19 Top Ten U.K. singles within a matter of a few years. In 2009, Girls Aloud announced a yearlong hiatus, and Cole, who had become one of her country’s highest-profile celebrities (she was also a judge on another British singing competition, X Factor, and helped the show swell its weekly audience to 14 million viewers), took advantage of the down time to record her first solo album. The surprisingly conservative 3 Words appeared in October 2009, featuring collaborations with will.i.am, Soulshock & Karlin, and Syience. Led by “Fight for This Love,” a number one hit and the fastest-selling British hit of 2009, the album went platinum in two weeks.