Sunday, 11 September 2016


It’s no hidden truth: the Bhatia’s are not your typical family. One part Kardashian, one part Osbourne, one part country-superstar-wannabes. That's right. Baz and I not to secretly wish to be red-necking, Nashville-loving cowboys...singing on stage. 

When I was eight I bought my first album. It wasn’t Britney like everyone else did – I just couldn’t relate to that slutty schoolgirl life. My skirt was firmly below my knees for everyone else’s sake as well as my own. No, my first album was Celine Dion ‘Colour of My Love’. Whilst this wasn’t new to musical world, Celine was new to me... and she was everything. The power ballads, the unnecessary talking during all of her concerts, how easy it was to learn the Titanic theme tune on the recorder. She was all my dreams rolled into one.

And Baz couldn’t have been prouder: fat, frizzy and fond of ballad. His parental duties were complete.

I was sold. But I wanted more, belting out Think Twice’s ‘no, no, no, nooooo’ wasn’t enough. So I moved on to ‘Falling Into You’ – another Celine classic. As Baz’s heart grew, Geeta’s fear for what kind of monster Baz was creating became more prominent. The tell-tales signs were there, I didn't know how to say, 'I would like a baguette please,' in French but I knew every word to 'Pour Que Tu M'Aimes Encore'. 

Car journeys became unbearable for the rest of the family as Baz and I would belt out ‘The Power of Love’ whilst they attempted to nap, LeAnne Rimes, 'How Do I Live' became a firm favourite when they asked us to turn the music down and heaven forbid we should land on Mary Chapin-Carpenter's, 'He Thinks He'll Keep Her.' There would be tears – and they would be coming from us.

Can I get an encore?

But again I strove for more – more divas, more ballads, and more reasons to sing out of tune. That’s when Baz took me on a road trip and the number one CD in his car was entitled, ‘Women In Country’. This coming from the man whose favourite film is a toss up between The Notebook, The Wedding Date and The Proposal – what a lad. I was spellbound, the songs, the women, the achey-breaky hearts and most importantly...the boots. It was then that I realised my only goal in life was to be a plus-size Indian country singer. Niche, I know.

I could be skinny and blonde with actual musical talent.

But then life happened and I had been blinded on my journey into world of fashion that I had to put my dream of being the 4th Dixie Chicks on the back burner. (I mean not entirely on the back burner I did have a cowboy belt that I wore almost every day and a pair of cowboy boots that were my actual going out shoes - just a subtle nod.) But it wasn’t until one glorious day that I stumbled across Nashville on a late night Netflix browse that the country dream came screeching back. 

The sequined mini dresses, the massive blow-outs, the red patent cowboy boots, the ripped oiled up torsos and slow drawl of the cowboys – it was all just SO me. After watching episode after episode, learning the lyrics to Telescope and wondering why the on earth Rayna was not with Deacon; I noticed something was missing and it was staring me straight in the face: a 26 year old Indian girl from Leicester, currently a couple of pounds over the basic cowgirl starter kit.

I was a Nashville addict. I couldn’t get enough, not only watching three episodes a night (soz not soz if I bailed on our plans during this addictive period) and then listening to the whole soundtrack on repeat every day at work. My longing to be part of the country world had hit hysteria and it didn’t go unnoticed, the lack of hair washing for one more episode might have given it away; or my perusing cowboy belts on eBay. But it was my wanting to write about Nashville/ country music / The Dixie Chicks/ Celine Dion (I know not technically country but that Celine candle will never burn out) at every given moment at work that was the tipping point of country sanity. 

ELLE TEAM: ‘So what news does everyone have for today?’
BILLIE: ‘Well I think Texas is kind of a big story right now….you know BeyoncĂ© is from Texas. I should write a story about how Texas is having a moment.’
ELLE TEAM: ‘….what?’

ELLE TEAM: ‘So what news does everyone have for today?’
BILLIE: ‘I think cowboy boots are totally a thing right now. I mean it’s logically the next step from the Vetements boots, right?’
ELLE TEAM: ‘….what?’

ELLE TEAM: ‘So what news does everyone have for today?’
BILLIE: ‘I have been watching Nashville, has anyone seen it?! Maybe I should do a round up on the best Netflix series and why you should watch them. But mostly why you should just watch Nashville.’
ELLE TEAM: ‘….what?’

ELLE TEAM: ‘So what news does everyone have for today?’
BILLIE: ‘The Dixie Chicks are touring – I could do a how to guide to get tickets?’
ELLE TEAM: ‘….what?’

ELLE TEAM: ‘So what news does everyone have for today?’
ELLE TEAM: ‘FFS, sure.’

Perseverance is key my friend, and that’s why laugh as you will about my Nashville dream, you wont be laughing when me and Dolly are on stage with the Dixie Chicks in red fucking patent cowboy boots, Celine Dion is helping me pick out my tour outfits and Garth Brooks and Ryan Adams are singing at my wedding.

Because as soon as I learn how to actually hold a note and not sound like a breathy 11 year old asthma sufferer I am coming for you Nashville.

Fatty BB xxx