Her last remaining group is now out of the competition, and The X Factor NZ judge Melanie Blatt is about to leave our shores for the warmer climate of home – Ibiza.
But on the eve of her departure, Melanie revealed to the Weekly the secret weapon that’s made her New Zealand adventure possible – her sister Jasmine.
Although she’s renowned for being brutally honest with the contestants, Mel is even harder on herself.
Arriving at Auckland’s ferry building with Jasmine to travel to their first ever photoshoot together, Mel (38) is feeling decidedly under the weather.
“The whole X Factor team has been sick at least once,” she says between sniffles and a hacking cough.
But the consummate professional assures us she will “suck it up and get over
it” to pose for photographs at Waiheke Island’s Mudbrick Vineyard.
It’s an attitude Mel has carried not just throughout her time on the top rating show, but her whole life – just ask Jasmine (27).
“Melanie’s always been like that,” she says, glancing over at her sister as she grins into the camera with her trademark red pout.
Relaxing over a glass or two of wine, the sisters descend into giggles as they describe each other, both admitting they are exceptionally different women.
“Jasmine is the complete opposite of me,” remarks Mel.
“Which is a good thing. Two of me would not be good! She’s shy and caring – I’m not caring.”
“She never wants to be a bother or draw attention to herself. I think that’s why we are so close – we do balance each other out.”
Despite their differences, as well as an 11-year age gap, they’ve always been close, with Mel describing herself as a kind of aunt to Jasmine for years.
“We had separate childhoods, really,” she says. “But because of the age difference, we were always in very different places in our lives, so we never squabbled or anything. We’ve always had a great relationship.”
The two have become even closer since arriving in New Zealand six months ago, with Jasmine accompanying her big sister to help look after Mel’s 14-year-old daughter Lilyella, from her relationship with Jamiroquai bassist Stuart Zender.
“I live in London and Mel lives in Ibiza because she’s a DJ, so we only see each other every three or four months usually,” says Jasmine.
“We have never done anything like this together, so being in New Zealand at the same time has been nice.”
“She was a baby to me for a long time,” adds Mel. “When it was legal for her to go out, she became another kind of sister, and now she’s all grown up. We’ve got a new relationship now.”
While Mel has been fulfilling her duties for X Factor NZ, it’s Jasmine’s turn to play aunt, this time to Lily, picking her up from school and “attempting” to do all of the cooking.
“I plan meals, but I ruin them by the time everyone gets back,” Jasmine laments. “I try, but it’s fair to say they’re not a success.”
“Yeah, you really can’t cook, Jasmine,” pipes up Lily.
“An aunt doesn’t necessarily have to know how to cook,” Jasmine retorts.
“Lily bullies me. I’m a rubbish aunt!”
But Mel is quick to admit she couldn’t have left her life in Ibiza to come to New Zealand if it wasn’t for Jasmine.
“It wouldn’t have been the same without Jas – there’s no way it would have all happened. She has made New Zealand for me.”
Mel was 11 when her parents had Jasmine, which she jokes was “for her pleasure”.
“I was bored of all my toys, so I asked mum and dad for a sister,” she says with a laugh. “And I got one! Best toy ever.”
“I had to share a room with her for a while there – I was 18 and she was seven. On one side, you had my massive stereo and all my music, and
on the other was a Sylvanian house and Barbies!”
With Jasmine growing up mostly in France and Mel on tour with the All Saints (incidentally, Jasmine wasn’t a fan of the girl group), the pair didn’t spend much time together growing up, so were keen to make the most of
being in the same country.
“We did heaps when we first arrived here,” Mel says.
“We’d be out of the hotel at every opportunity to explore. Jas is so adventurous. I’ve done things I’d have never done before. I put my head under the water in the ocean for the first time!”
“And you went swimming in a lake, and you rode a horse,” Jasmine adds.
“Yeah. I don’t usually like doing things that don’t involve me just sitting down,” finishes Mel.
Both are looking forward to heading back to their lives in different countries
– Jasmine as an event planner and Mel as a DJ
– but will miss having the other right across the hall.
“At the moment, Jasmine is living in the room next door in the hotel,” says Mel.
“But she’s working for me, so I make her come back to my room and sit with me.”
“It’s a part of my duties, apparently, to sit down and watch Rachel Ray!” laughs Jasmine.
Kelly Bertrand.Photos: Jae Frew • hair & make-up: Katherine Gould • Stylist: Jules Armishaw. Mel wears dress from TK store, belt from Andrea Moore, necklace from Portmans, rings from Zoe & Morgan, shoes from Runway. Jasmine wears dress from Isakelle, shoes from Kathryn Wilson. Mel wears tank and pants from Witchery, jacket from Country road, shoes from Runway. Jasmine wears dress from Charlie Brown, shoes from Ruby. • Location: Mudbrick Vineyard and Restaurant.
About Kelly Bertrand
“I started at the Weekly after a two-week internship in 2011, which was part of my journalism studies. Basically, I hung around and annoyed people long enough to land a job as a staff writer, and I’ve been here ever since. I’m lucky enough to get to write stories ranging from the Kardashians through to the Queen, but my real passion is telling the stories of New Zealand’s sporting stars. Sometimes I can’t quite believe it’s my job to hang out with All Blacks and Silver Ferns! I absolutely love working at the Weekly, and feel really privileged to be part of this 83-year-old Kiwi institution. I’m also fond of Instagram, coffee and animals dressed as humans!”more of this author