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Appleby was born in Hackney, London of mixed-race to a Jamaican father and a British mother. Appleby initially worked as a glamour model (in 1987 she did a photo shoot for Mayfair) and then joined her sister Kim Appleby to form Mel and Kim, enjoying considerable chart success during the mid and late 1980s.
- Mayfair, 22:1, London, 1987