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Lewis turns me into a scaredy cat; Pussycat Dolls star Nicole says race ace Hamilton's driving frightens her.

Byline: By LIsa Adams

SHE has a reputation as a maneater, but dating the fastest man on the planet scares the hell out of Nicole Scherzinger.

The frontwoman of the burlesque troupe The Pussycat Dolls admits just stepping into the car with her latest squeeze, British Formula 1 ace Lewis Hamilton, gets her adrenalin racing.

And that's before the speed demon even switches the ignition on.

Nicole, 30, says: "He's at one with his car.

I'm not scared when he's on the track as he's really good, obviously, having won Monaco and the British Grand Prix.

"I'm more terrified when he takes me on a drive - especially through the canyons in LA. Wow. But he's great and I trust him.

"I can handle Los Angeles driving - stop and go. I'm good at that."

Despite the singer's obvious admiration for the track star, keeping their love life on track could prove a tough race.

The downside of being one of the hottest new celebrity couples is they're both so busy with work commitments that it's a struggle to see each other.

Lewis, 23, who earns pounds 10million a year driving for McLaren, has the Hungary Grand Prix in a fortnight.

He will be back in the US after that, but he'll be in Indiana for the US leg of the Formula 1 season, as well as to see Nicole.

Until then, the Hawaiianborn beauty should be throwing herself into promoting the group's new album, Doll Domination.

But chatting about the attractions of British men is a perfect distraction.

She says: "Oh my gosh.

British guys are better.

"They have a different je ne sais quoi. Different manners and chivalry.

"I like a guy who's worldly, who's travelled, who's seen life and the things I have.

"We get to go to many things overseas, but it's still new when you see it for the first time together." Nicole met her eligible English gent at the MTV awards in Berlin last year and they were spotted kissing after Lewis won the Monaco Grand Prix.

They seem the perfect celebrity couple.

She is the beautiful star of a chart-topping girl group, while he is a multi-millionaire champion racing driver.

Lewis will soon be immortalised at Madame Tussaud's, has just become the pounds 10million face of Reebok and is in talks over a pounds 40million Sony sponsorship and a pounds 15million personal Pepsi deal.

But, away from the glare of publicity, their relationship appears ordinary.

Nicole says: "We just see each other as normal people. We're very private and we keep to ourselves. Work is different and we both lead public lives, but we're just two normal people who are passionate about what we do.

"We're both living our dream and are very blessed."

Male fans would certainly agree that stunning Nicole has been blessed.

Her to-die-for figure, gorgeous caramel skin and stunning smile make her a darling of the lads' mags.

Teamed up with talent and global hits including Don't Cha, Buttons and Stickwitu under her belt, she comes across as supremely confident.

But the star reveals she didn't always feel so bold.

Nicole said: "A few years ago it would have been a different story.

"I was never this confident. I was always unsure and afraid of what other people thought of me. I was shy, way more insecure. I was corrupted by LA."

Nicole was born in Honolulu to a Filipino dad and a Russian mum, then moved to Louisville in Kentucky, where she was eventually raised by her mum and German stepdad.

Nicole was captivated by performing from an early age.

She turned away from her strict Catholic upbringing to chase her dream of making it in showbiz.

But early experiences in a rock band and a year of soul-destroying rejection at endless acting auditions taught her being shy would never make her a cover star.

By signing with The Pussycat Dolls in 2003, Nicole hit on something she could really shine at - a career as a maneater.

But it came so close to not happening at all. She was almost turned down by the troupe and even considered joining the Black Eyed Peas instead.

Nicole says: "It all worked out well. I was meant to be a Pussycat Doll and Fergie was meant to be a Black Eyed Pea."

Today, her seductive music oozes confidence, as she sings about exactly what she wants men to do.

In real life, too, she also knows what she wants in a man.

She says: "The guys who are confident when they walk up and who aren't afraid - they've got a chance.

"The guys who make complete asses of themselves are already doomed before they walk up."

And this sultry vixen is happy to share her tips with the ladies.

Her advice for turning men's heads is refreshingly down to earth. She says: "There's nothing sexier and hotter than being yourself.

"That's when you're at your best. Be confident and don't take yourself too seriously. You have to have a laugh together.

"It's all about chemistry. Make sure you look really hot and stand really strong.

"If you exude confidence, you're giving light to other people and, ultimately, that is sexy because you're making other people feel good.

"What's really sexy in a woman or a man is a good sense of humour.

"You can tell when a woman is saying beautiful things to herself because of how her shoulders are straight, her head is held high and she has a glow."

Despite Nicole's advice about "being yourself", she admits she works hard to maintain her reign as one of the most desirable women on the planet.

She spends a lot of time in the gym and on fat-burning runs - but she insists she enjoys working out as it lightens her mood and helps her think about the day ahead.

Nicole's ultimate beauty tips is a great pair of sunglasses, lip gloss and eye liner.

But surely she wakes some mornings and can't be bothered being a sex symbol?

Does she ever ditch the make-up and climb into shapeless tracky bottoms?

Nicole says: "It's about our moods, how we're feeling.

"Sometimes, we want to wear a tracksuit, sometimes, we want to get dolled up and, sometimes, we just want to bein boho chic wearing slippers, tank tops and long skirts. It's just how you feel.

"Men think I am going to be stuck up and not have a sense of humour.

"That is the opposite of me. I like to be chilled and down to earth. I laugh a lot."

And if Lewis Hamilton's smile when he sees Nicole is anything to go by, then her philosophy on life is definitely paying off.

The Pussycat Dolls' new album, Doll Domination is out now.

'British guys are best .. they have manners and great chivalry'

CAPTION(S):

WINNING TEAM: Nicole surrounded by her Pussycat Doll chart-topping pals, above left, and Lewis celebrating his Monaco Grand Prix win in May, above right; HOT COUPLE: Pussycat Dolls siren Nicole Scherzinger and her Formula 1 race ace boyfriend Lewis Hamilton, main. Nicole in her sexy stage gear, right PICTURE: RICHARD YOUNG / REX FEATURES
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jul 24, 2008
Words:1194
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