LOS ANGELES — With a voice so big—surprisingly big coming from her
small frame— Christina Aguilera is practically built for a movie
musical. Welcome this month’s Burlesque, in which she plays an
aspiring vocalist opposite Cher.


“I’m definitely used to coming from a
world where I am able to express myself through song, through vocals,
through writing lyrics, through poetry and having the time to do so and
focus on myself as an artist,” Aguilera says. “I find it much easier to
express myself sometimes through song and through vocalizing my
emotions. That’s why at a young age, when I had a very chaotic
childhood, I would turn to song as my release out of that environment.”

Aguilera insists she relished the challenges of acting for the first
time. “Because it’s my first film, it’s a new thing for me, so I really
tried to give myself wholeheartedly,” she says, though there was at
least one unforeseen side effect of taking on the role of Ali, a young
performer fresh off the bus from Iowa who works her way up at a Sunset
Strip burlesque club.


“I would get very rambunctious,” she says of the
having to put her own personality aside to embody Ali. “I had a lot of
pent-up energy, because I was being neglectful of myself, that when I
wasn’t being Ali on camera, I was really antsy."

While she’s made a name for herself belting out tunes, Aguilera admits
she’s not breaking out into song at any opportunity when she’s not at
work. “I’m very reserved when it comes to that,” she says. “I know
there are certain singers that won’t shut up, but I’m very reserved
when I’m going about my normal life. But then whenever the stage hits
or it’s time to perform, it just comes up. And out.”

Of course, she’s not completely mum around the house. She still saves
some of her voice for her young son, Max. “I sing him to sleep every
night, and my favorite song to sing him is this little, soft lullaby
from Mary Poppins called ‘Stay Awake,’" she says.

And while she’s completely committed to Max, Aguilera says she never
considered putting her career on hold. “I think it would send the worst
message possible to my child,” she says.


“I think a lot of women, when
they become parents, they think that that’s it for them, and they just
shut themselves off completely to every other outlet that they were
before they had children. And I think part of having kids is creating a
good balance so that you can then inspire them to be their own
individual and find what they’re passionate about and what goals they
want to achieve in their lives. There’s a balance to everything, and
he’s happy. And that’s the best thing about it.”