|Birth name||Melissa Amber Schuman|
|Genres||R&B, Pop, dance|
|Occupation(s)||Singer, songwriter, dancer, actress|
|Labels||Bad Boy/Universal (1998-2003)
|Associated acts||Dream, Lady Phoenix|
Melissa Amber Schuman is an American singer and actress. Schuman is best known for her role in the all-girl teen band Dream. Dream had two platinum hits, “He Loves U Not” and “This is Me“. Schuman has also gained some success in acting with appearances in such movies as Love Don’t Cost a Thing, The Hollow and Silent Scream. Schuman has also appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and has hosted TRL. In November 2010, the song “Don’t” that was supposed to be the debut single for her unreleased solo album was released on iTunes.
In 2002, after Schuman announced she was leaving Dream to focus on her acting career and a solo album she appeared in Love Don’t Cost a Thing and The Hollow, and starred in Silent Scream. She recorded a song with The Hollow costar Nick Carter called “There For Me” in 2004. Schuman had plans to release her first single “Don’t” but the single and solo album were later scrapped. As of November 16, 2010, the unreleased single “Don’t” was released to iTunes. On November 15, 2010, Schuman’s unreleased solo album Stereotyped was released to iTunes.
2008–12: Lady Phoenix
On January 28, 2008, Schuman reported that she would be forming a new music group with former Dream bandmate Ashley Poole, and would be auditioning for girls and even starring in a reality show to detail the new group’s formation. In 2012, Schuman confirmed that Lady Phoenix had disbanded following Ashley Poole’s departure from the group and the reality show was not picked up by any networks.
2015–16: Dream comeback
On May 11, 2015, the original members of Dream got together for a mini-reunion and posted a video online performing a cappella version of their 2000 single “He Loves U Not” and the video quickly went viral with over 23,000 views so far and gaining online attention from MTV, Seventeen Magazine, Perez Hilton and other media sites. On May 29, 2015, the original members of Dream all announced they would be making a comeback and launched a Twitter and Facebook page. The Twitter page has gained over 21,000 followers since its launch. On December 17, 2015, Dream recorded and released a studio recording of “O Holy Night” as a treat to fans for the holidays while they work on new music scheduled for 2016.
On July 8, 2016, Dream joined other Y2K bands O-Town, Ryan Cabrera and 98 Degrees on the My2K Tour performing in 39 cities across the United States. Dream also performed at The MixTape Festival at Hershey Stadium alongside Paula Abdul, NKOTB, Boyz II Men, 98 Degrees, O-Town and Ryan Cabrera.
On August 2, 2016, Dream released their first single together in 15 years titled “I Believe” on iTunes and Spotify.
On October 5, 2016 Dream member Ashley Poole announced via Snapchat and Facebook that Dream has once again disbanded and a new album will not be released.
Schuman married dancer Brandon Henschel on June 7, 2006, at the Prado at Balboa Park in San Diego, California. The couple spent their honeymoon in Hawaii. On February 19, 2010 Schuman announced, on Twitter, that she and her husband were expecting their first child, a boy. On July 18, 2010, the Henschels announced the birth of their baby boy, Elin Elijah Henschel.
- Stereotyped (2002/2010)
- It Was All a Dream (2001)
|2015||Actress(es): A Web Series||Jennifer Stone|
|2003||Love Don’t Cost a Thing||Zoe Parks|
|Recipe for Disaster||Shannon Devries|
Michelle Collins in 2006
|Born||Michelle Danielle Collins
(1962-05-28) 28 May 1962
Hackney, East London, England
|Occupation||Actress, television presenter|
|Known for||Cindy Beale in EastEnders (1988–1990, 1992–1998, 2014)
Nicki Matthews in Sunburn (1999–2000)
Abby Wallace in Two Thousand Acres of Sky (2001–03)
Stella Price in Coronation Street (2011–14)
|Partner(s)||Fabrizio Tassalini (1995–1998)|
|Children||Maia Rose (b. 1996)|
Collins played Cindy Beale in the BBC soap EastEnders from 1988 to 1998, with a two-year break between 1990 and 1992. She played Stella Price in the ITV soap Coronation Street from 2011 to 2014. Her other notable TV roles include the BBC dramas Real Women (1998–99), Sunburn (1999–2000) and Two Thousand Acres of Sky (2001–03).
Early life and education
Collins was born at Hackney South East Hospital in Hackney, East London to an English father and Welsh mother. Her maternal grandfather Jack Horton was a Belgian Jew from Antwerp who emigrated to Wales to escape the Holocaust. She and her older sister, Vicki, were brought up by their mother, Mary, in Highbury, London. When Collins was 14, her mother went back to university to get her law degree.
After her exams, Collins landed a role in Mikhail Bulgakov‘s The Crimson Island at The Gate Theatre, directed by Lou Stein. Her career changed direction when, having performed in the 1978 video for the Squeeze song “Up the Junction“, she joined Mari Wilson and The Wilsations as the backing singer, “Candide”. The band spent 18 months touring the country, working with artists such as Marc Almond, Level 42, Altered Images and Kid Creole and the Coconuts.
When the band broke up in 1982, she went back into acting and with the help of her friend, the British actor Tim Roth, she successfully gained a part in a musical with Gary Hutton and Gary Shail known as H.M.V. Collins had also been in The Illustrated mum by Jacqueline Wilson.
Collins’s first TV appearance was with Gary Oldman in the BBC drama Morgan’s Boy. Other TV credits included: two series of the sitcom Running Wild, where she played Ray Brooks daughter; a part in ITV drama The Bill; a Screen Two production Lucky Sunil, directed by Michael Caton Jones and a BBC play Pressures. She later appeared in three films: Personal Services, Empire State and Stephen Poliakoff‘s Hidden City. Collins appeared in an episode of the BBC’s Bergerac (series 4) in 1985.
While she was filming the BBC play Pressures in 1988, Collins was spotted by EastEnders’s producer Julia Smith, and was asked to audition for the role of Cindy, who was due to feature in eleven episodes of the soap. Collins excelled in her role. The manipulative, reckless nature of her character was a hit with viewers so her contract was extended and became a renowned villain in the series. She played Cindy Beale, the unfaithful wife of EastEnders stalwart Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt), between 1988 and 1998. During breaks from EastEnders she filmed the drama Real Women for the BBC, with Pauline Quirke and Frances Barber. The drama was a success and it helped to confirm Collins as a versatile actress of considerable stature. Contrary to popular belief, she did not appear in the popular comedy show Knowing Me, Knowing You with Alan Partridge 1994. “Michelle Collins” is credited as a magician’s assistant, but the role was played by a different actress with the same name, as confirmed in the audio commentary on its DVD release. On 14 November 2014, Collins reprised the role of Cindy for a short stint for Children in Need after Ian knocks his head and sees the deceased women in his life.
After leaving EastEnders in 1998 (when her character met an untimely demise offscreen), her career flourished with a series of drama roles. These include: two series of Real Women (BBC One); two series of Sunburn (BBC One), for which Collins sang the theme song (which was a no. 28 hit in the UK Singles Chart in 1999); Daylight Robbery (ITV); The Sleeper (BBC One); Uprising (ITV): three series of Two Thousand Acres of Sky (BBC One): the two-part series Perfect (ITV); Lloyd and the Hill (ITV) and Ella and the Mothers (BBC One). In 2003 Collins played Sarah Barton in Single.
In 2003, Collins filmed the BBC drama Sea of Souls and then went on to star in a film for Granada/Channel 4 called The Illustrated Mum, which told the story of two girls coping with the unpredictable behaviour of their depressed, alcoholic mother. The film, written by Jacqueline Wilson, was based on the children’s novel of the same name. It was screened to great acclaim over Christmas 2003 and won an Emmy Award and two BAFTAs.
In 2004, she starred in an episode of French and Saunders and also starred with fellow EastEnders actor Martin Kemp in the ITV drama Can’t Buy Me Love, which was watched by nearly eight million viewers. The programme was inspired by the real-life story of Howard Walmsley, who was jailed for fraud after pretending to win the lottery to keep his wife Donna (played by Collins) from leaving him. Their lives and marriage were subsequently turned upside down by the events that unfolded. In 2005, Collins starred in the ITV drama The Last Detective and in the BBC drama The Family Man, alongside ex-EastEnder Daniela Denby-Ashe, which aired in March 2006. She starred in the West End musical Daddy Cool, and while working during the night there shot sequences for a cameo in the short film Broken written and directed by Vicki Psarias, which went on to win the several international awards. She also featured in the film Don’t Stop Dreaming, released in 2007. She left Daddy Cool in January 2007 to shoot the Doctor Who episode “42“.
On 2 July 2007, it was announced that Collins has been cast for the lead role of Karina Faith in new ITV drama series, Rock Rivals, produced by Shed Productions. In 2009, Collins took part in the BBC Wales programme Coming Home about her Welsh family history. On 21 May 2009, it was rumoured that Collins had auditioned to star in US drama Desperate Housewives, but she did join the cast.
In June 2010, it was announced that Collins would make a six-episode guest appearance as a patient’s mother in Casualty. In 2010, she also guest-starred in Romeo & Juliet at the Octagon Theatre, Bolton, playing the Nurse. From 7 April-7 May 2011, Collins starred as Sheila Grundy, Fred Dibnah‘s third wife, in The Demolition Man at Octagon Theatre, Bolton.
In January 2011, a rumour was posted on Digital Spy that Collins was in talks to join EastEnders‘ main rivalling soap Coronation Street, after she allegedly met with soap’s producer and close friend Phil Collinson. Three months later it was confirmed that Collins had joined the cast as Stella Price, new landlady of the Rovers Return pub, beating Lisa Maxwell for the role. Her first episode aired on 16 June 2011 and gained a high rating of 8.4 million. It was announced on 22 August 2013 that Collins had decided to leave Coronation Street. In January 2014, Collins claimed she was “unhappy” over the lack of screen time for her and her character. Collins filmed her final scenes on 19 February 2014, and made her final appearance as Stella on 2 April 2014.
After Coronation Street
Since leaving Coronation Street, Collins has had various guest roles in television dramas such as Casualty (2014) as Samantha Kellman, Death in Paradise (2015) as Annette Burgess and in 2016 as Nadine Campbell in an episode of Midsomer Murders.
|1985||The Bill||Sharon Bland||Episode 2.9|
|1987–1989||Running Wild||Stephanie Wild||Regular Role|
|1988–1990, 1992–1998||EastEnders||Cindy Beale||Regular Role|
|1994||Knowing Me, Knowing You with Alan Partridge||Le Mesmer’s Assistant||Episode 1.2|
|2001–2003||Two Thousand Acres of Sky||Abby Wallace|
|2005||The Last Detective||1 Episode|
|2006||The Family Man||Gillian|
|2007||Doctor Who||Kath McDonnell||Episode 3.7|
|2010||The Secret of Chimneys||Treadwell|
|2011–2014||Coronation Street||Stella Price||Regular Role|
|2014||Children in Need||Cindy Beale||EastEnders special|
|2015||Death in Paradise||Annette Burgess||Episode 4.7|
|2016||Midsomer Murders||Nadine Campbell||Episode 18.2|
|2016||Bear Grylls: Mission Survive||Herself||Contestant|
|2018||The Dumping Ground||TBA||TBA|
- Celebrity Stars in Their Eyes (9 October 1999) – Contestant, as Chrissy Hynde
- The Paul O’Grady Show (1 December 2004, 30 March 2006, 25 November 2009) – Guest
- All Star Family Fortunes (13 September 2008) – Contestant
- As Seen on TV (30 July 2009) – Guest
- What Do Kids Know? (31 January 2010) – Guest team captain
- Loose Women (2010) – Panellist
- The Alan Titchmarsh Show (26 October 2010) – Guest
- Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? (August 2011) – Contestant with William Roache
- Let’s Do Lunch with Gino & Mel (30 August 2011, 16 July 2014) – Guest
- Celebrity Juice (13 October 2011) – Panellist
- The Chase: Celebrity Special (5 November 2011) – Contestant
- Paddy’s 2011 Show and Telly (29 December 2011) – Contestant with Melanie Sykes
- 12 Again (7 June 2012) – Guest
- Show Me the Telly (26, 29 November 3, 5, 9, 12, 19 December 2013) – Panellist
- Catchphrase: Christmas Special (29 December 2013) – Contestant
- Weekend (26 April 2014) – Guest
- Saturday Kitchen (3 May 2014) – Guest
- This Morning (10 July 2015) – Guest
Collins has a daughter by ex-partner Fabrizio Tassalini, Maia Rose (born 29 September 1996),
In 2014, Collins revealed that in 1998 – distraught by the end of her relationship with Tassalini and feeling career pressure – she attempted suicide while filming Sunburn in Cyprus. She took an overdose of sleeping pills but later woke up and asked her costar to take her to the hospital.
After their split, Collins had an amicable relationship with Tassalini, who lived close by, and they raised their daughter together.
Collins is involved in charitable causes. She is an ambassador for Oxfam and has visited Brazil, South Africa and Armenia, promoting the need for the basic right to education. She is also an ambassador for Ambitious about Autism, the national charity for children and young people with autism. and patron for the Alexandra Wylie Tower Foundation