Leeds is an iconic city, well-known for many amazing things. Leeds has been home to many wonderful creations and important moments in history. The city has also been home to many talented, famous faces who have achieved so much. Here are a few of the legends Leeds has nurtured… 


Nicola Adams

Did you know that the first ever woman to win an Olympic gold medal in boxing was from Leeds? Nicola Adams was one of the stars of the 2012 Olympics and went on to be victorious at the commonwealth games in 2014, the European games in 2015 and won a world championship gold before she went on to secure another gold medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Nicola was also awarded an MBE in 2013 and was named as the most influential LGBTI person in 2012 by the Independent. After all of her inspirational success, she turned professional in 2017. 


Mel B 

Mel B, or better known as ‘Scary Spice’ by many, spiced up our lives when she became a member of the iconic girl group Spice Girls in 1994. The group sold more than 40 million copies of their albums worldwide and saw multiple records hit number 1 in the UK charts. Mel then went on to careers as a solo artist and then a successful career in TV presenting and acting. She has also been a best-selling author! Currently she is one of four judges on America’s Got Talent. In 2022, Mel was also awarded an MBE for her services to charitable causes and vulnerable women. 

Damien Hirst 

Damien Hirst is an artist who rose to fame in late 1980’s London. He is considered to be the most notorious artist of his generation. The series of art that gained him that notoriety was themed around death. This famous collection of work saw dead animals being preserved, and sometimes dissected, in formaldehyde. In recent years his work has moved to NFTs, which has led to many pieces of his work being burned in his London gallery so they can exist only as NFTs. 


Malcom Mcdowell 

Malcom McDowell is an actor, producer and television presenter who has been the face of many iconic roles. His first few roles made him a household name in the UK, but he wouldn’t reach global stardom until 1971. Malcolm starred as Alex DeLarge in the controversial A Clockwork Orange, a role that gave him the status of a legend. This led him down a long road in playing villains in movies and TV in the British and American industries. He now has starred in over 100 films. 


Marco Pierre White 

Leeds was also home to famous chef, restaurateur and TV personality, Marco Pierre White. Marco trained as a chef at the Hotel St George in Harrogate after leaving school with no qualifications. He found success at 24 when he became the head chef and joint owner of Harvey’s with Gordan Ramsey working in his kitchen. He then went on to become the youngest chef to be awarded three Michelin stars at only 33. Since then he has opened restaurants across the UK under different brands and worked on TV shows such as Hell’s Kitchen, Knorr, Masterchef Australian and much more. 


Jane Tomlinson 

Jane Tomlinson is an athlete who has been a huge inspiration to us all. Jane studied to become a radiographer at Leeds General Infirmary after a lump was found on her breast and a lumpectomy was performed on her. She also went on to study a postgraduate degree to become a paediatric radiographer. She later had to have further procedures and treatment; then cancer returned throughout her body in 2000. During the next six years Jane raised over £1.85 million through a series of challenges. She completed the London Marathon three times, the London Triathlon twice, the New York Marathon once and cycled across Europe and the United States. Jane unfortunately passed away in 2007 but fundraising continued and the campaign reached over £10 million in 2017. 


Corinne Bailey Rae 

Corrine Bailey Rae is a much loved singer and songwriter who is best known for her song ‘Put your records on’. She became the fourth female British act to have her debut album reach number 1 in the charts!  In 2010, Corrine was nominated for a Mercury Award for Album of the Year and in 2012 she won a Grammy for Best R&B Performance for ‘Is This Love’. Her first two albums have sold 5 million copies worldwide and her most recent album released in 2016, ‘The Heart Speaks In Whispers’ debuted at number 2 on Billboard’s R&B charts.

Images- Robert Shand, @officalmelb