A COUPLE of Christmases ago, Jahmene Douglas was toiling away behind the checkouts at Asda.
Since then he has been a runner up in the X Factor, had a number one album and now he is set to star at the area’s most glamorous light switch-on – Bluewater.
The 22-year-old is top of the bill for an evening of entertainments on Friday (November 15), which begins with the London Community Gospel Choir parading through the mall and taking people outside at 5.45pm and includes CBeebies favourite Justin Fletcher, Heart FM’s Toby Anstis, pop band Only the Young and a firework display.
Speaking to Vibe, Jahmene said: “It’s nice to be invited along to things like this because I’m not normally one to celebrate Christmas in November.”
The early start is a good thing, the star said.
“I think Christmas brings people together. It’s nice to have as many of these sorts of events before Christmas.”
Despite his enormous celebrity post-X Factor, Jahmene still likes the simple things about Christmas.
He said: “I like it for the family time. I wasn’t really brought up with money, so we had to make things out of paper and stuff and do what we could. It is always a fantastic time of year.
“I’m going to stay at home this year. I like the family time, the sitting down and eating and just getting as fat as you possibly can until it feels like you are going to throw up.”
Unsurprisingly the show has changed Jahmene’s life completely, but he is anxious to use his fame for good too.
He said: “I would probably still be in Asda if it wasn’t for X Factor so it has tremendously changed everything.
“It’s a different way of living and I’ve got a platform now to help people, so that’s amazing.
“Before, the voice wasn’t heard on domestic violence so it was hard to get things changed.
“Now I have got this platform I can do wonders.”
That doesn’t mean that Jahmene does not seem to enjoy the celebrity side of his career, though.
He said: “I’m working on my second album now and things are going really quickly. I’m going here and there and meeting people I never thought I’d meet.
“I’m not one of those people that freaks out, I’m quite calm, but if I tell other people they freak out.
“I’ve met people like Samuel L Jackson or Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise was at an Asda warm up conference in Arkansas. It strolled past me and said ‘fantastic performance’. I was like ‘Woah, it’s Tom Cruise’.
“It took me by surprise that one.”