What does the idea of Sporty Spice mean to you now?
When I first stopped working with the Spice Girls I was quite determined to shake off Sporty Spice and I was desperate to be seen as an individual. As time has gone by, I really embrace my time as a Spice Girl, I’m really proud of it. Being the Sporty one who was a bit of a tomboy that was really important for a big demographic around the world inspired so many young people at the time, not only girls but boys as well. I think I’m probably sportier now than I’ve ever been in the literal sense, so Sporty Spice forever.
What did girl power mean to you then and what does it mean to you now?
Girl power with the Spice Girls was something that was never our intention to scream and shout about. From the start of our career we encountered sexism from both the music industry and the media and it really annoyed us. We were told that girls wouldn’t sell records, that girls wouldn’t sell as many records as boys, that girls couldn’t grace the front cover of magazines because it was boy bands that everyone was interested in and that’s really how girl power was born. It was a very organic thing that happened and it became something that was very important, it made feminism so much more accessible for a younger generation.
What have been your career highs?
I remember when we came home in 1998 to the Brit Awards (everyone will remember because of the iconic union jack dress that Geri wore), that was a year we had been away so much, we had been travelling the globe and we came home to such a warm reception. It was like a home coming.
The Olympics at London 2012 was such an incredible experience, it felt like a kind of celebration of everything we’d achieved. Being in that stadium and having social media, which wasn’t around in the 90’s, was so incredible. We could just feel the international buzz and how people were excited and waiting for us. You know, us girls have always felt a little bit like we’re conning everybody, we love everything we’ve done but we’re just five pretty normal girls and to achieve what we did always makes us chuckle a little bit.
What have been the biggest challenges of your working life?
Being part of something so life changing as the Spice Girls was quite a lot to get my head around, it affects everything you do. It affects people around you, it affects how people view you and that was quite hard to come to terms with, even though you’re living this fantasy life and all of your childhood dreams are coming true. I’ve spoken quite openly in the media about my problems in the past with depression, it’s something that I’ve suffered with and it’s been quite difficult at times, it’s something I have to acknowledge every day to take care of myself.
How do you stay grounded whilst maintaining your career as an artist?
People often say that I’m really down to earth and I’m really grounded, it’s not something I work on or that I’ve ever thought about. I think it’s my roots, I’m a northern girl from a working class background and I just couldn’t be any other way. I probably should throw more diva strops, I think people expect it but that’s just not me so I’ll carry on being lil’ old me.
Who were your role models when growing up?
Madonna was a big inspiration to me, I think I discovered her mid 80’s when she first entered the scene. I’ve always loved to perform, to sing, to dance and when I saw her, it all kind of started to make sense and I just thought, that’s what I want to do.
What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
My mum gave some really good advice when I first started my career, she said ‘never do anything you feel uncomfortable doing’. We all have to compromise in our lives and as you get older you realise more so, but you should never compromise on what you don’t feel comfortable doing.
What is it about yourself that people would find hard to believe?
I got a C in music (laughs) I shouldn’t advertise that should I?
In terms of style and fashion, what inspires you?
I’m really inspired by people who seem to have that sense of natural style, you know they just throw something on and it looks great and I don’t feel like I’ve ever had that. I’ve not always got it right but I think what’s nice about getting older is I’ve become braver in my choices and I’ve learnt more about what suits me. I think it’s really important to feel comfortable and to wear what’s right for you.
In between your career and parenting, how do you make time for yourself?
Like so many mums and people in general, life is busy! The more physical side of things is the more ‘me’ time, it’s almost like my personal meditation, it’s the time where I get to think, make decisions. Many times I’ve found running is a great way to make big decisions and I’ve made some great life decisions whilst running out on Hampstead Heath. That’s always been important to me and I’ve found with my mental health, it’s something I’ve had to acknowledge, to be active, and to get plenty of sleep.
What does the future hold?
I really missed being on stage and being myself. I rekindled that love last year so I’m not going to let it go. I want to keep out there, I want to keep performing because when I don’t I feel like there’s a part of my life that’s missing. So I want to keep doing what I love, plan lots of holidays with my family and carry on being creative, performing and making the most out of life.