Vanessa Mae (full name Vanessa-Mae Vanakorn Nicholson) is not only a British violinist (she’s sold over 10 million albums worldwide), she’s also representing Thailand for skiing at the Sochie winter Olympics.
Vanessa Mae was born in Singapore, and she is a mix of Thai and Chinese ancestry. After her parents separated, her mother married a British lawyer who adopted Vanessa Mae. She then moved to England when she was four. She grew up in London and became a British citizen.
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Vanessa Mae began playing the piano when she was three and the violin when she was five. She began competing when she was eight, and she turned pro at 12. She left school and signed with EMI when she was 14. She was hailed as a prodigy.
In 1996, her birth father disowned her and said she looked “like a soft-porn showgirl” after seeing pictures of her in skimping clothing to promote her album. Vanessa Mae said of her image in 1996, “I was amazed by the way some people found the poster so sexy. I was happy with what happened then. Everything I do designates a time in my life. All the time I’m changing as an artist and as a person.”
Her mother was her manager, but Vanessa Mae fired her in 1999. They have not spoken since. Vanessa-Mae said that her mother’s love with conditional on her performance as a musician (telegraph.co.uk).
Though Vanessa Mae is classically trained, she created a “violin-techno-acoustic fusion” album. “I could have taken the easy life and just done classical, but I felt very strongly about the album, my first pop album, the first time I’d fused so many influences.”
In 2006, Vanessa Mae was ranked as the wealthiest entertainer under 30 in the UK with an estimated worth of 32 million English pounds.
Aside from music, Vanessa Mae has been skiing since she was a child. She began living in the Swiss resort of Zermatt. She unofficially qualified under a second set of provisions for Olympics hopefuls. As her father is Thai, the Thai Olympic selectors accepted her bid to represent the country. She will be competing as Vanessa Vanakorn. “I am not going to be anywhere near a medal, but it’s my own personal achievement.”
As for dating, she has dated Lionel Catalan for years. She has said, “you don’t need a ring to say I love you.” Vanessa Mae has also appeared as a judge on “Popstar to Operastar.” She said, “I don’t mind the boos from the audience. This is just me being myself.”