Singer-songwriter Nicole Scherzinger has revealed she insisted on a solo deal when she joined Pussycat Dolls.
The brunette beauty was happy to join the all-girl band, having previously rejected will.i.am's offer for her to be a part of Black Eyed Peas, but her ultimate dream was to be a singer in her own right and she saw the group as a stepping stone to achieve that - so was surprised at how much success the 'Don't Cha' hitmakers achieved.
She explained to Cosmopolitan magazine: "When I got offered The Pussycat Dolls, I said, 'I will be in the group but I want a solo deal as well.' I knew that was my dream.
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"I didn't realise how big Pussycat Dolls was going to be.
"Anybody who has made sacrifices knows that you have to do it on your own. Ambition is incredible, you need it to get anywhere in life."
However, the 39-year-old singer was devoted to the group and she finds it frustrating that people don't give her the "respect" she feels she deserves as an artist and performer, insisting she is more than just a "senseless pop star".
She said: "Over the years, I've had to earn people's understanding and respect for what I do as an artist and vocalist.
"People don't realise the Pussycat Doll albums were my babies - I did everything from executive producing to vocally arranging them.
"It still frustrates my friends and family when they hear people say, 'Oh wow, she can sing?' I have studied my craft and there is meaning, heart and soul in what I do.
"People can overlook you and think you're just some senseless pop star who can't really sing.
"If you come to one of my shows, you would never think that. I feel like girls have to work extra hard to earn respect."