This week, Born This Day celebrates the birthday of Dannii Minogue – Kylie Minogue’s younger sister – who was born on 20 October 1971. Although Dannii Minogue first became known as an actress and singer, in recent years she has achieved fame as a talent show judge having joined The X Factor judging panel in 2007 for three seasons and she has appeared as a judge in all 7 seasons of Australia’s Got Talent. In 2010, Dannii Minogue launched Project D, a fashion line in collaboration with London-based designer Tabitha Somerset-Webb. In February 2012 Minogue officially opened Madame Tussauds Sydney, unveiling a waxwork of herself at the launch.
Dannii Minogue rose to prominence in the early 1980s for her role in the soap opera Home and Away, before beginning her career as a pop singer in the early 1990s. Minogue achieved early success with hits such as “Love and Kisses”, “This is It”, “Jump to the Beat” and Baby Love, though by the release of her second album, her popularity as a singer had declined, leading her to make a name for herself with award-winning performances in musicals with Grease (1997) and also in Notre Dame De Paris (2000), as well as other acting credits in The Vagina Monologues (2000) and in Macbeth (1999) as Lady Macbeth. The late 1990s saw a brief return to music after Minogue reinvented herself as a dance artist with “All I Wanna Do”, her first number one UK Club hit.
In 2001, Minogue further returned to musical success with the release of her biggest worldwide hit to date, “Who Do You Love Now?”, while her subsequent album, Neon Nights, became the most successful of her career. In the UK, she has achieved twelve consecutive number one dance singles, becoming the best-performing artist on the UK Upfront Club Chart.
Since 2007, Minogue has established herself as a successful talent show judge and television personality. She is currently a judge on Australia’s Got Talent in Australia and, until 2010, The X Factor in the UK, where she was the winning judge in both 2007 and 2010 with Leon Jackson and Matt Cardle, respectively.
Since joining the X Factor and Australia’s Got Talent in 2007, Dannii Minogue has become a Style Icon, receiving critical acclaim from various fashion designers such Victoria Beckham and wearing dresses from J’Aton Couture, Antonio Berardi, Dolce & Gabbana, Marchesa, Philip Armstrong, Carla Zampatti, Gucci and Aurelio Costarella and has featured on fashion magazines like Cosmopolitan, InStyle and Vogue. The press in Britain have especially taken notice of her sense of fashion and different hair styles since Cheryl Cole joined the X Factor in 2008 often comparing both of them. The praise Dannii Minogue got from the tabloids on The X Factor lead her to set up her own line called Project D along with a fragrance. The first line from Project D by Dannii and Tabitha was sold exclusively by Selfridges in the United Kingdom, the Spring / Summer line was showcased by Minogue during the live first Sunday night show of the X Factor Season 7, wearing her Jingle prom-style dress. In August 2012 the label was rebranded and relaunched as Project D London.
Throughout her career, Dannii Minogue has often been compared with her more successful sister, Kylie. Referring to the comparison, Minogue said: “It is hard to be compared all the time to Kylie. On the other hand, however, people will always try to compare you to somebody. Look at Britney and Christina.” In an interview with Elle in April 2009, Kylie criticised X Factor judge Louis Walsh for his jibes at her sister: “I’m so proud of my sister and it annoys the hell out of me when comparisons between us are made. In England you lot don’t know where she came from. She was on TV every week from 7-years-old. It makes it harder for her when she gets Louis Walsh’s rather pathetic jibes – one of which is she hasn’t had a hit record and that’s just not true.” She also denied rumours that she did not get on with Cheryl Cole or former judge Sharon Osbourne as “so cheap”.
Dannii Minogue has performed multiple times at the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and the London nightclub G-A-Y. She credits her gay following for much of her success, commenting that gay culture has “always been a part of [her] music”. Minogue openly supports gay rights causes for social equality and believes that same-sex marriages should be accepted by all governments.
Dannii Minogue is an ambassador for the Terrence Higgins Trust, an organization that works to increase awareness of AIDS. She joined the charity in hope that her endorsement would encourage people to discuss safe sex and the disease more openly. In 2004, she posed nude, wrapped only in a red ribbon, to promote World AIDS Day in Australia and the UK. She has long been a supporter of breast cancer research and, in August 2008 became an ambassador for the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre Appeal.
In August 2008, Dannii Minogue began dating English model and ex-professional rugby league player Kris Smith (born 20 August 1978). They met in Ibiza, where Smith was celebrating his 30th birthday. It was announced on 9 January 2010 that Minogue was pregnant. This was confirmed on her personal Twitter page when she tweeted “Woo hoo I’m gonna be a mummy!”. Minogue gave birth via caesarean section to a boy, Ethan Edward Minogue Smith, at Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia on 5 July 2010.
In April 2012, Dannii Minogue announced on Twitter that “It brings me great sadness to tell you that Kris & I have separated. We still care for each other & ask for privacy at this difficult time, in particular for our son Ethan who remains our number one priority.” Smith also confirmed the split via his Twitter account.
In 2012, in an “unauthorised” biography about the life of Simon Cowell written by Tom Bower it was revealed that Cowell and Dannii Minogue had an affair during their time together on The X Factor in 2007.
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