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Global Change Agents special launch edition: ‘Original influencer’ Myleene Klass

Lara O'Reilly
Executive Producer

British pop star Myleene Klass is among the original crop of UK reality stars who went on to become influencers.

Klass, a classically trained musician, shot to fame in 2001 through the British TV talent series “Popstars” as a member of the pop group Hear’Say.

“We didn’t realise the power we had,” as influencers at the time, Klass said during a special live-recorded episode of Global Change Agents with Lianna Brinded, at the Verizon Media and IAB UK luncheon event held during Advertising Week Europe.

The new video show from Yahoo Finance UK launches on April 3 and delves into the stories of pioneering women across business, tech, academia and the creative industries.

The band members soon came to understand how their celebrity could drive sales for brands, Klass said. She revealed that the most money she made from Hear’Say wasn’t from record sales but the deely bopper headgear the group sold on the merchandise stands on their tours.

Since the early days of Hear’Say, Klass has gone on to work with a number of brands, from British Airways, to Marks & Spencer, Birds Eye and Mothercare. She is also a published author and broadcaster, currently hosting the Saturday morning show on Smooth Radio.

Klass tends to have long relationships with the brands she is associated with. Her partnership with Mothercare — where she currently designs the exclusive “My K Clothing by Myleene Klass” range — has run for more than 13 years, for example.

Part of the reason, Klass suggested, is that while she may not have tens of millions of social media followers like other well-known influencers, she does have a “very high conversion rate” for the products she’s promoting.

Take her work with Marks & Spencer. Klass said in one ad she was the only cast member that wasn’t a supermodel — “I had to stand on a box for most of the adverts” — and the clothes she wore drove the most sales. “If something wasn’t selling, they put it on little old me,” Klass added.

Klass said another key to the longevity of her brand partnerships is that she is hands-on and only takes up offers that she feels she can genuinely endorse.

“I challenge you in the six years I was working with Littlewoods and the five years I was with Mark & Spencer to find me in a public outfit that isn’t from that brand,” Klass said. “I lived, I breathed it. I wanted to understand how it washed, how it moved, how it felt, wearing it on the school run, down to the red carpet.”

Klass said she wore a £70 dress standing next to Prince Charles, a £40 dress alongside Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour and interviewed actor George Clooney in a £30 Breton top. “I actually enjoyed bucking the trend as opposed to wearing thousands of pounds worth of gown that actually have no impact or no relation to my customers,” Klass said.

The next episode of Global Change Agents with Lianna Brinded will be available here on April 3. Our guest is Eileen Burbidge MBE, partner a Passion Capital, chair of Tech Nation and non-executive director at Dixons Carphone.