Mel C: The Harsh Reality Of Being In The World’s Biggest Girl Band | E179 | Transcription
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Before we start, I've got to be honest with you about something. When we recorded this episode with Mel C, it was honestly one of the most moving, heartbreaking, inspiring, revealing conversations I've ever had on this podcast. And I've been looking forward to sharing this conversation with you for some time now. And then we had an incident where one of our hard drives was stolen, and we lost the audio for Mel's mic, which is really, really heartbreaking because of all the episodes to lose the audio for it to be this one has been very hard to deal with. And I think I want to start by apologizing to Mel because she came here, she shared her story in such a profound, vulnerable way. And I've carried the sense of guilt because because when people come here, not only are they giving us their time, but they're giving us their story. And for some people, as is the case in this conversation, it's the first time that that story has been shared in this way. So I've been really struggling with that. But because it was such a profound story, and to make sure we honor all of that, which Mel gave us by coming here, we spent a lot of time fixing the audio we do have, which actually comes from one of the cameras that's rolling, not from the microphone in front of her. We've worked with a specialist to try and repair the audio as much as we possibly can. And this is one of the episodes where I'm asking you for a favor, which is to stay with us. I know it's not always easy to listen to audio when it's not as crisp as this audio sounds right now. But there's a story underneath the lack of clarity in the audio, the lack of crispness in the audio that needs to be heard. It's one of the most amazing stories we've ever shared. And so I hope you enjoy this episode. And we've put many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many measures in place to make sure that we never lose any audio or any footage ever again. In this case, it was out of our control. But this episode is worth it. So we're putting it out anyway. You're going to enjoy it. There's an element of guilt attached to my success. It was glorious. You know, because I had a secret and it was killing me. The early days of the Spice Girls were the best and I feel blessed. But with it has been some really tough times. It was fucking dramatic. How it went down. The tabloid media were brutal. We all got called to hell of a horrible thing. Do you notice a change in yourself at all after that? Definitely. That was the catalyst. Why? I became very, very ill. I couldn't control my eating. I was struggling to get out of bed. It was killing me. I think did becoming famous ruin my life. Did it ruin me? Sometimes I question my own. Yeah, that's my, my new living. Without further ado, I'm Stephen Bartlett and this is the Diaper CEO. I hope nobody's listening. But if you are, then please keep this to yourself. Melanie, when I, when I sit here with people, I'm, I always try and figure out the best starting point.
Journey And Challenges As A Spice Girl
Early years (03:22)
I always know I'm going to start at the very beginning. But with you, when I was reading through your story, it was quite clear to me that the things that shaped you started at a very, very young age. I'm talking when you were two, three, and four years old. So can you take me right back to the very start? I'm guessing that's like sort of 1976-ish. It is. And you're right. You know, things that happened to me when I was a toddler really defined a lot of who I became. I grew up just outside Liverpool and I was born in Worcester, hospital. My parents and I lived in a place called Bain Hill and they divorced when I was, I think I was about three years old. And my life kind of quite quickly changed, you know, lots of young people would be affected like that. And yeah, that was where the story began, I think, me developing this need to succeed. When you say your life changed, give me a colour to what that means for you. So I was living quite comfortably with mum and dad, you know, the kind of happy archetypal family life. And my mum, we left, me and my mum left and we went to live with my grandparents. And then we went to live in quite a different area. We were still only about 30 minutes away. It was quite different. We went into council accommodation and quite quickly my mum was in a new relationship to the musician you guy around. And it was just kind of, it just, you know, looking back, it was just very different. It's to the world I'd ended up doing to when I first turned upon this planet. What was your family's sort of economic situation throughout this journey? Were you a working class family or? Absolutely. Yeah, I mean, my family still are, you know, very working class, you know, through the generations. And my mum and dad were doing, you know, they were doing good. We had a lovely, suddenly touched house in a nice suburb of, you know, Liverpool. And obviously with my mum leaving dad as today, you know, lots of couples find that it is very difficult to start up again. So we were going into a situation where it was hard for mum to make ends meet. So it was, yeah, it was, it was quite a tough area to be, to be grown up in. Where was your dad? So dad was still in the house. In the house you'd been raised in for those first few years. And then after a, I think a couple of years, he went travelling and, yeah, and then he went to work abroad, actually. So I've always seen a lot of my dad, but there were periods of times when he was away. So, yeah, so it was a bit of a shake up, quite early, they're formative years, aren't they? And you're that little. You don't think about it because there's a child. Your life is your life. But I think when you start to think about who you are and how you became that person, you start to, you just kind of pinpoint maybe little moments that put you on that track. So when you look back to that, that experience of your parents separating at a very young age and then your life shifting and in hindsight, what impact did that have on you? Like when you look back and connect those dodging, you know, that's the reason for that. I think it kind of confused me. I think as a young person to have my location change, you know, to be taken from the family home and obviously I was dying. So I didn't understand, you know, I didn't understand adult relationships. I didn't understand why it was happening. So this little series of events and then, you know, I have a new, I've got a stepdad and then I had a new sibling and then I had stepbrothers and so there was just, there was just quite a lot of big things happening in my little world and it made me just kind of confused to like where it belonged, who I was, how I fitted in to that new dynamic and you know, as I got older and my dad remarried and I have this incredible family, it's very complicated and it's huge and I have half siblings and step-siblings and step-parents and it's lovely but I think for me being the only child of my mum and dad sometimes made me feel a little bit of a spare part and I think that's what made me feel like I had to make myself a place in the world and my own place in the world and I think also it was about kind of earning the love of these people. I kind of felt like I had to prove I was worthy of existence. It sounds well-o dramatic but I think as a young person, you, I mean especially going through my teenage years, you question everything don't you, you know why? Yeah and a lot of that for me was like do I deserve to be here and so I have to make myself worthy of being here. And you think that started because of your parent separation and in this new context of these other siblings that were felt maybe belonged more than... Yeah I think especially when you know both my parents remarried and they're both really happily remarried and have gone on to have more children and I love my parents and I love my step-parents and all of my siblings but for me I sometimes feel quite alone and I think that is what propelled me in some of the issues I went on to have in later life. You know for good and for bad, you know I think there's been real benefits to those feelings and to be very determined and very conscientious but also to be very hard on myself and a little bit of a perfectionist. One of the things that I was quite surprised to read was this almost contradiction between you really looked up to your dad. I think you wrote in your book that you almost worshipped him but then when he left it was almost like there wasn't a reaction from you. Yeah I know it's so strange to me it's hard to only be that young isn't it because your own memories are such little tiny snippets and you remember and we all remember things differently but for my dad you know I did I put him out of pedestal and I still do you know he's my hero and he always will be but yeah he he ran away and he ran away for his own reasons and as an adult completely understand that you know and he needed to do that but yeah I kind of shut down I think and I think how kind of I have learnt in my life which has been really useful in my career that I can have these incredibly intense emotional feelings but they have to be buried not healthy but helpful. In the short time. Yeah yeah but I think if you if your knowledge you know you have the knowledge that you do that I think that can help in just maybe not doing it or trying to do not do it too much. Is that the first time you kind of recall that those early is where you think you might have just buried a set of emotions and not addressed them that that blocking out of it just to keep on keeping on. Yeah I think I think some of it is my personality but I think some of it was circumstance that I kind of I don't like to rock the boat I don't want to cause people problems I want to always make sure everybody's okay and I think that's a lot to do with worthiness you know feeling unworthy potentially. Just so I'm completely clear in my own mind because I don't want to make any assumptions that feeling of like not feeling worthiness came from that dysfunctional family dynamic that's the first sort of hint you have of it. I think so I think looking back you know I grew up in the 70s and 80s and for me in the environment I was in at that time it was really unusual that parents separated all of my friendship with them. They had to me what I saw as their happy family you know the family unit and how long would for that and I didn't have that and it made me different and obviously you know if I forwarded today and I think it's probably rare to have the family you meant you know life has changed so much so that's how it affected me at the time it made me feel like yeah an outsider and a bit strange. You moved to Ron Corn with your mother which is where the council estate is where you lived. Well that area isn't a good area back then. Yeah you know I mean Ron Corn is into like a satellite town of Liverpool and lots of people you know it's kind of like overspill lots of people were out there and this particular estate that we we got housed in was it was built and it was obviously there were so many families I needed to be housed very much like today and it was this like a bizarre architecture and we had these huge round windows and there was like thousands of houses about I used to call them the Lego houses because they were like blue and yellow it was you know I suppose at the time it seemed very forward thinking but I think unfortunately you know it was it was one of those environments of which there are still many um were you know problems can occur because it's it's kind of set up there are you know there are just opportunities I suppose for people to be quite discreet and there was you know lots of people there who were struggling and it was I think it was knocked down I think they started knocking it down in about nineteen ninety because it just kind of got yeah to run down I think when you um when you look back on your your father's decision to leave is there any feelings of like I don't know animosity towards that decision for him to leave your life but I understand the separation but for him to then be absent seems like it was from reading your book the catalyst moment for other things to then happen it was has there ever been any animosity towards when you reflected on it as you grew up no really no the really hasn't because I think you know just that thing of being the kid and your life is your life you know so it's just that you get told something like oh okay then and I think when I became a parent and I think about my daughter and obviously I work away in law you know um but I just yeah it's weird I don't think you really fully I don't know you ever fully understand your parents but I think you get a much better understanding of them when you become a parent you know but at the end of the day I think as a child you look up to these adults thinking you know they know how everything should be and how everything should be done and then when you become an adult you're like yeah I'm 50 a year and a half and I still haven't got a clue so and I still feel like a child you know and my mom was a little like a teenager um and I was like can I get that now we're all just trying to figure it out throughout our lives you know I don't think we ever get to that age where we go yet I've got it now.
Dancing seemed to be your first love as I was reading through your story where did that show up where did dancing come from you know I think like so many young kids you have this moment where you go to ballet or disco or whatever the local you know was in the local club or whatever and I went on to ballet and talk and it was so little I can't even remember but it must have struck a chord with me because when we moved to Roncon it was there was no way Ron could afford for me to do dance classes so I had this period of time without it we moved to witness when I was I think I was eight years old and that's when I picked up dancing again and I think I'd really like bugged my mom for years I want to go back and I'd like to sports at school you know I'm just very active I'm I think was probably one of those kids you never sat still you know it was always outside it was always upside down or kicking a ball or something and dancing for me it was just a way of expressing myself and of freedom and it was almost like a safe place. Safe place. Like many performers and I'm sure you've spoken to people who are like this but that I'm quite shy in certain aspects of my life maybe like in a social aspect and you know being at school I kept my head down I wasn't very academic I did okay but when I was dancing when I was doing something creative and being able to express myself I felt very confident and free and alive so yeah dancing school was where I really felt in my element. So you became a very obsessive dancer, practiciser, very meticulous. Yeah I think there's something about classical ballet on the training of that which there's a lot of discipline and it just really works for me and even now you know I have to have an awareness of this that it's to have those parameters and to have that discipline makes me feel safe. I don't really know where that comes from but I am very hard on myself and I kind of I think I'm a little bit of a workaholic because I feel like running in a workspace and I'm being very disciplined that I'm safe. One week guess that if parameters and discipline in that that structure makes you feel safe then there might have been a time where a lack of parameters made you feel unsafe or a lack of a foundation made you feel unsafe. Absolutely I'm sure I'm sure I think there was a lot of you know my mum's a performer and you know it's so it's so weird now because obviously I find myself in a similar position but she'd be away an awful lot but there'd be times when I'd be staying with other people or you know having babysitters and you know maybe there was a little bit of instability felt there and that would definitely make sense. A bit of instability is this are you talking to talking about your nanny?
Not being taken care of a a child (17:31)
Yeah yeah there was a little period of time where yeah my mum had employed someone to look after me who you know she felt was was a great person for the role but unfortunately you know the girl she was maybe a little bit too young to take on that responsibility and had kind of moved me out of our home and I'd moved in with her mum and yeah it was all a little bit shady but yeah as soon as mum found out she put an end to it but I think I was very quiet about it because I was so little I think I was only about five so I chose not to tell her probably didn't want to rock the bones. Well when you're telling her? Um that I wasn't at home and that I wasn't being taken care of by the girl she'd imploded to take care of me. That feels like a light way of saying something that is a little less light in reality. Well you know again I was so young it was I don't think it's until I've got over that I thought that's that's probably something that would affect you in a big way but at the time it was just my life. You recite this moment of just waiting for this person that was meant to be taken care of you um just not showing up on many occasions and you having to wait outside and weighing your pants at one point because you were waiting outside so long. Yeah I remember getting back from school and we had these new horrible down concrete steps up to the flat door and no one was home and yeah just busting for the toilet and yeah I wet myself and luckily the the neighbor came home and she took me in and kind of cleaned me up and yeah so that's I mean again I was so young there's just these little flushes of memories of those things. I think when you're when you're young you maybe don't it's not that those I think about my own life like it's not that those things don't aren't impacting you it's you don't you're not really aware of the impact they're having or the stories that they're they're making you write about yourself and about your situation um and then obviously oftentimes it seems that we including myself then see the consequences of it and in hindsight have to sort of piece together where that came from but that's I mean when I when I read that um in your book I was I mean that's that's almost like criminal negligence to treat a child in such a way and I think about the your your the departure of your father your mum then departing to go and pursue her career and then you you're ultimately ending up on these steps you know urinating your underwear because of this negligent nanny and that's you know that that's where I think oh that is you know that must have been formative in to some to some degree yeah I mean you know I'm a good believer in therapy and I've been having it for many years and probably I only started to do that because of my time with despite girls and how much of a head fuck that was but it's really interesting because you do look at your habits and the things that you do and why you do them and so much of it comes back to your childhood dancing was your first love um you you become very disciplined at that and eventually off you go to um study in london and that's where you find singing yeah which you hadn't had you been doing it before you know because my mum was
Discovering singing & joining the spice girls (20:41)
a singer and she had deals in the 70s she had a couple of record deals with different bands but you know it hadn't worked out the way she would have liked it to um you know she did great but didn't get to those heights that all of us performed was to get so I just knew growing up it's really really hard working in the music industry is really difficult so you know my young brain goes okay I want to be a pop star but it's really hard so I love dancing and I love singing so theatre because I loved a musical theatre as well I was from Guts College and I was pursuing that and I'd sung a little bit but I just I never really had confidence in my voice but there was this like weird thing of it just gave me so much joy actually more joy than dancing I was in college I was in my second year and we had these competitions that would happen every year and I was singing a song and it was the first time I just had a moment with an audience where they I just really felt this energy this transaction between myself and them and it was when I was singing and it that was it for me that was the moment it was like it is singing that is it that is what I have to do so eventually you um you and 400 other young women respond to a advert in a magazine what was that advert okay so what I saw to the stage newspaper was when you leave performing Guts College you're an actor a dancer sing whatever you go for your auditions the stage is where you find your auditions find myself an audition I didn't want to be out handed a flyer for a girl band and I'm like that's it and that's what I'm going to do you get handed a flyer a lot of people are being handed that flyer did you know then that you would you said that's it that's what I want to do did you know then that you wanted to be in a girl band or did you mean that's it I'm going to apply and I think that's more befitting of what I where I want to go it's hard to know exactly because of what's happened since then yeah yeah of course but my but my telling of the story is I mean I just had a really strong feeling at that time that I was gonna whatever this thing was I was going to be a part of it and it was going to be something incredible what did that fly say I think it said something like are you 18 to 24 I think it was like the wording of it street wise condancing fun loving I don't know but it was it was just basically an audition an open audition anyone come along put the girl band together okay music management and yeah I went along to that audition and how did that go it went well I was recalled we had to dance and then we recalled the scene and then we were all sent away and then we were called back but when we were called back how was ill and I couldn't speak let alone sing so yeah I missed my first opportunity of being in this band you missed your first opportunity yeah so I was really sick I kept getting taught to light us and I yeah I was really poorly when the recall happened and so I begged my mum to call him and just like give them a new week they get better should come and sing for you but they are like no we've already chosen the girls it's I'm afraid you know it's a no this time and there was lots of auditions that were now so it was like oh well wasn't meant to be but then a couple of weeks after that I got called to say somebody hasn't worked out we'd like to see Melanie again and then that was my chance to get in the band Christ that is a pivotal phone call yeah it's bizarre yeah and I you know I think I often think about the other girls who had potential because that's still one of the five that everybody got to know you know there was I think there were three girls from the the beginning of the band being put together who didn't end up being part of the final line of this vice-gares it's funny is that when you think back up even being handed that flyer you think what path would I have walked potentially if that person that day hadn't given me that flyer it's a really strange thought isn't it yes it's a sliding doors moment isn't it but it's like yeah I really because often in interviews you'll be asked oh if you didn't do this you do and I'm like I have no clue it's funny I think about it because there was an early early point of my career where I got a phone call saying a day before saying this 16 year old kid that was meant to be speaking at this event had dropped out last minute and could I get to London I had no money I end up um bunking on the megabus this 16 year old kid had just sold his business for 30 million so they needed like a young entrepreneur last minute found me because I was on some website 3am asked me to come and that sent me off in my career it was where I got my investors from that one talk I think if they hadn't asked me to be there how would my life have been different um and the weird thought which we never consider is that maybe I would have been happier have you ever have you ever thought that mm-hmm often often yeah you know I I wouldn't change my life obviously I'm so proud of the things that I've achieved and I have an incredible life and I absolutely do my passion you know that's my I've just had a weekend of it you know three shows over the weekend and I feel blessed but with it has been some really tough times and sometimes I do I do think wow I think did becoming famous ruin my life did it ruin me sometimes I question that it's a hard one to answer isn't it because you don't know the alternative so you can't yeah but I think the thing is it's like you know it's also important isn't it to remember we're on a journey right what's the destination the destination is death you know we just have to enjoy this journey and I remember the early days of the Spice Girls were the best before we released anything we had the most fun because it was this excitement what's gonna happen you know what can it be and then when it happened it was incredible but there's a lot of brushes that come along with it so everything starts to change in those early years then so before you've released any music you stumbled around trying to find management for a while right and then you recount stories in your book about some like
Receiving horrible comments (27:44)
dickheads that's made some just like awful comments to you can you tell me about that that comment was it his name shh chick oh chick yeah so he was a financial backer so when we we were first put together by a management team and we were with them maybe for about a year and chick was yeah the financial backer of these original managers and he commented on the size of my thighs which was something that really shook me because you know I went to a performing arts college which was predominantly a dancing college and you know body image was an issue there there was there were girls with eating disorders I'd been you know I'd been witness to that in my life but yeah it never affected me personally you know and our teenager put on a little bit of weight moving away from home not really eating as well going down the pub and you know so my weight fluctuated a little bit but it was never something that really bothered me it was just yeah I'll put back a little bit lose a few pounds but somebody actually commenting on the way I looked when I was going into Korea was so much of it is about how you look really affected me did he make that comment in front of people he made that comment in front of the other girls there's something about there's something about when you're trying to fit in when someone points at something which makes you different or that might make you feel like you don't fit in and from just listening to your early years where fitting in and feeling worthy was so important to you for someone to then in a group of people where you where you belong those that that band to say this is why you don't fit essentially with that comment I can't think of anything more more hurtful for oneself as doing especially as a young person because you know think about it I was probably 19 at that point which at the time you feel like you are grown up that college going out into the big wide world you're a child you know you're still so you're going to serve on level what Victoria said to you that he had said comments to her about her way as well or her appearance yeah I think you know it was it was very much at that time you know I went to dance college so teachers would say you need to lose weight you know what's that stomach do there I mean I've spoken to dancers recently about the culture of that because you know recently there was a lot there's been a lot talked about in the gymnastics world oh yeah and there was definitely a culture within dance which was very cruel and heartless and shaming body shaming um which is changing but you know dance teachers there were some really lovely nurturing ones out there but some of the best dance teachers are horrible you know we I mean skeleton the stick isn't it it's quite an old fashioned way but it worked in some ways but it's very damaging did it change your behavior that that comment from him did did you notice a change in yourself at all after that definitely that was the catalyst that was a catalyst for me to it was like a wake-up quote it was like if I want to do this if I want to be a pop star and you have to run this was like the 90s as well so it was you know body image was a very different thing there you know thank god there's so much more body body positivity now you know but back then it was all about being stick thin and I thought well if I'm going to do this I have to fit the mold and so then that was it was just it was it was a gradual thing but it was like the eating and the exercising and that's when that's really begun yeah from a comment like that which he probably didn't give a second thought you know isn't that crazy it's crazy we never really appreciate that one comment can have such a profound impact and change someone's um the trajectory of their health or their well-being in such a significant way just one comment yeah just a few words yeah I'm you know I think it's a bit of a trigger isn't it you know so that happened and I think obviously I was feeling vulnerable and it not your confidence but then it's kind of I think it's like a little chain of events that leads you down that road right you know so that maybe was the little start of it it ignited the first domino to fall yeah on that journey trying to find new management you you stumbled
The come up of the spice girls (32:15)
across Simon Cowell as well and he he must hate when you recount this story because oh it's so funny because he this is a thing right everybody remembers things differently because he remembers he said yes to us but we said no to him so basically we got to the point where we were going to record companies we were looking for a record deal so we'd left the original management and we had some demos demo tapes and we were going around meeting managers meeting record labels and most people were very positive we got very positive reactions but we remember Simon saying he wasn't interested in us um yeah but he recounts it differently so that's funny isn't it because obviously then it was the 90s he was a record company exactly he wasn't known to the to the wider public at this point when you're going around trying to find management how are you like providing for yourselves how where's the money coming from to sustain the band and was there ever a moment where you thought fuck this I'm gonna never never never so when we were with our original management they they did give us like a little bit of pocket money they put us up in a house I think they go about 60 pounds a week which because we weren't paying for our accommodation at the time you know week of my kens meat um but when we left them I think I went to stay with a friend back in sicker where I've been to college so I was like staying in her to her room and then there was a period of time when Melanie and Jerry were homeless they were doing a little bit sofa surfing yeah and Emma went home to her mum's place and Finchley and Victoria was back at her mum's place up and in Hertfordshire so yeah we were I think it was so lovely this I remember we go to Emma's mum's place and she do loads of toast for us and rapping Tim Boyle and that would be breakfast and yeah we were just we never thought it was never an option to give up we were on this journey and we were going to make it happen how long was that period when between you leaving your initial management to ultimately when you found Simon Fuller and you know that kind of it began with Virgin how long was that how big was that gap it wasn't as long as a year okay within a year it was maybe about eight months or so but we we had somebody who was you know very kind and looking after us so what we'd done before we left our original management we talked our original management into putting on a show place okay so we did that and then we met some writers and producers and publishers and we made some contact and we we kind of knew already we were going to leave but we just thought let's get this out of them and we did that and so we pursued that and we were with Mark Fox who is head of publishing at BMG at the time and he kind of took us under his wing and would take us out for dinners and you'd ask to meet people and that kind of got us on our road to success and then you met Simon Fuller talked to me about that and how that changed things yeah it was really interesting because we'd been it's so funny isn't it we really did take matters into our own hands and we talk about auditioning management you know we were this unknown girl band everyone was telling us go bands don't work but we were out there going right is this manager good enough for us and so we just we just for this attitude that we've got something very special and we're not going to sell it or ourselves and which is wonderful you know even if any of us had any doubts about it we were like nope this is the way it is and I think that real determination single-mindedness is a really important part of succeeding it's like no there's no doubt this will not fail so we went out there and met these people and Mark Fox was introducing us to some writers we met Martin Biff who we wrote wannabe and to become one it'd be forever and we also met absolutely who we wrote who do you think you are too much with those guys and they were managed by a guy called Pete and he was in Simon's offices and Simon heard the music and wanted to meet us so he was the first person who approached us and eventually you signed with Virgin Virgin Raccoon we gave everyone the run around and we got them money up and up and up and up as you could in those days and we just loved Virgin it was an incredible team and we just had so much fun with them they really shared our vision great A&R actually new to be you know obviously Spiced was such a great album as a Spiced World and so yeah it was like a match made in heaven you would count that moment that Simon Filler gave you your first 10k check I believe and this is before you've released any music right so this is like a is this a signing bonus so we got like you get a advance when you know when you look fancy up not so much these days it's changed so much but yeah you get in the advance and we hadn't seen like what we would deem as proper money and that was proper money but all those zeroes what did you do with it um I think you know what I did with my first one no I don't do you not okay first thing I did I do know you went like she's I mean I saw that check right I remember like being like on this kind of stairwell in this party give me a check 10,000 pounds and a little chair I went down to Oxford Street jeddy sports and about the Nike ear mucks that I've been like yeah I've had my eye on for weeks I've made it and what did you do with the rest? Stephen the bank? What did I do with the rest? I think I paid for some driving lessons yeah I paid for my rent and I'm in pretty much when you you get an advance whether it's with the Becca company or publishing it's your living expenses you know and you're a young artist and you've not released anything that's kind of what it goes on. How quickly did things move from the the point of getting that check on that stairwell to um wannabe the first single taking off how how quickly was that gosh I really be testing my memory now I think I want to say it was around Christmas time when we when we got the check and then wannabe was released in July of 96 so maybe about six months six months it's not it's not very long time is it? It's not and it's not from what I read the wannabe didn't take a long time to record either for a single motor and it was definitely under half an hour this we kind of disagree was it 15 minutes was it 20 minutes I mean it was kind of thrown together it was was it ever going to be a song we were sure we were just kind of being silly and mambe who are incredible just obviously made it into something which it went to number one in 37 countries I mean I don't think I even knew there was 37 countries that's crazy yeah what what what what does that feel like so you released that single then you start getting the the the mama's the noise the the world starts vibrating a little bit what is that what is that like well we had big ideas we probably had big ideas above our station before we should have done but it helped us our original management was like don't get too big few boots you know you haven't done anything yet you need you've got work to do we know we've got work to do but we've got something special and we are going to make this happen so we were always like we felt we were very important and very special and when well the people started to think that too one of you was released it was still early days but we released our album in Japan because of the time there was no internet so artists would release music in different territories at different times so you could kind of catch up with yourself with your promo you were able to do it I'd like to say you have time to do it but hey there's only seven days in a week our schedule was insane but we started in Japan and one of you went to number one why were we in Japan so we didn't really get a sense of what was happening at home and I think when we flew back to the UK we were in Japan for about two weeks when we when we flew back everything had changed and that was it when it was when people really did start recognizing us in the stream yeah it all started to yeah increase at that point and how did that feel at first it was so exciting it was kind of like it's always like you put in a like in a catapult you know we've been doing all this work doing all this work you know and then you're gone and you just on this act oh and it really was wow I was trying to make sure I had the dates right before because when I was looking at the the amount of time from that first single to the number one albums and the meteoric global superstardom it feels like this much time I was like I'm sure I've got the dates from there must be like a decade like typo somewhere because it was just a couple of years it's you know it's not even a full two years right one of his released in July 1997 Jerry left the band in the spring of 98 when we were two shows short of our European leg of the tour so it wasn't a full two years that the five were together doing the thing you know it's that's mad I don't understand that right we got together in 94 that's when we all first met so together a couple of years beforehand but yeah by 98 spring and 88 jerry had gone we went on to do our us leg of the tours of four-piece we come back then in Victoria had their babies so obviously everything started to change by that point it was a very different chapter in the life of the Spice Girls at that moment in my head the Spice Girls were like two decades we can't get into the house yeah maybe that's why maybe the music lasted obviously but uh but it j when I was reading that was like two years I was like what how is that possible how was two two um two albums and a movie and a world tour and yeah and all those mtv music videos that were playing in my house constantly because of my sister um yeah Blaine is this well I listened to a cup of the odd CD when no one was in the house but that's why podcast we can edit that out um but but when you think about why you were successful because there were a lot of other girl bands at that time and there were even other girl bands that had a similar fundamental message of empowerment and as you you call it girl power I think you can't say that anymore I think that's a bit of a people don't like using me using the word girl but um girl power and feminism and female empowerment why in hindsight do you think that you broke through um and and these others who were there before you and in some situations were much better placed why did you win I think the stars were in alignment whatever the magic was with that dynamic that we are so different that we are quite strong in our individuality that we made the decision to dress how we each felt comfortable you know girl bands before us had coordinated their look or had a certain look and we realized that didn't work for us we wanted to make pop music we loved pop music we loved so many genres but we felt like there was a space for a female band you know we kind of looked at bands like take that and look it on the block and there was no girl bands doing that and that's what we wanted to do and I just think just all those little elements a lot of them accidental you know our nicknames which we never came up with it wasn't a marketing idea it was top of the parks magazine Peter Levine he was editor there at the time just thought it'd be really fun to give us some nicknames and they stuck and they became part of the brand you know and they still live on to this day I mean in the US we're no mainly bionic names so yeah the stars like I say it feels like they were just in alignment it was meant to be we had this idea that something was going to happen but I think it was written in stars timing seems to be quite important in hindsight as well when you think about where the world was was it ready for this message was it ready for a band like this because you know if you'd been maybe 10 years earlier maybe it wouldn't have worked out or 10 years later but there's it's funny the the case of timing and then even when you think back to being handed that fly at the timing of that and it's quite serendipitous and you know the butterfly effect of just these these things linking up and can be quite spooky yeah it really is you know you're right at the time it's over the 90s it was a period of growth in the UK you know it was quite a positive time for the country we just kind of come out of the grunge years musically and indie was big here and you know we can't you know say oh you know you're welcome female empowerment yes we we brought that this was something that was bubbling and moving and changing and we were just really fortunate that we hit it at a time when more and more people were getting on it you know and I think because you know people often talk about feminism with the Spice Girls and it's like we feel like you know we were young we had a point to prove we wanted to be a girl band for girls and we wanted to talk about female empowerment and how girls could do whatever they wanted to do no one was telling us we couldn't do something and it enabled us to take feminism and make it more you know palatable to a younger audience you know we had fans of three years of age pop and do a music act it never helped before you know and even now you know it's amazing I do these shows and I go out and I do solo stuff and I do a couple of Spice Girls songs and there's so many young kids in the audience loving and discovering the Spice Girls and it's incredible it's still captures her imagination that um that pressure though people often talk about the pressure of being in a band but the pressure of being in a girl band at that time especially when even you know the media were very vicious and there wasn't an awareness around the impact of words on mental well-being and how that can impact people strikes me as being an even more difficult time than today of being in well we have social media now which is also an exacerbating
The pressure being in a girlband (46:44)
factor but talk to me about the pressure of public scrutiny back then on young women you're right you know the tabloid media were brutal I think things have improved not that much I mean it is quite shocking now when I look back at articles in the 90s and naughty just like the wording that was used I think they're just a bit more sneaky with it now you know we're still saying the same things but in a slightly different way but back then it was just brutal I mean I got called we all got called but terrible horrible things and as a young person I think that anyone and you're right you know the generation now have social media to deal with which I think is equally as damaging if not more so in many ways because you can't escape it can you you know your phone is there I wake up first thing I do look at my phone and luckily now I have the skin of a rhino anyone saying anything negative about me and you know I can usually push it off but yeah back then it was I was trying to think about who I was you know who am I these people are telling me I'm this thing you know they're criticizing me I'm not talented enough I'm not pretty enough I'm stupid I'm a loudmouth and this and it's like who am I am I who I want to be am I who they tell me I am should I be who they want me to be and it's so confusing and that was I think another you know we were talking about these different elements that got me because I became very very ill around 2000 and you know the eating and the exercising and from chicks words and certain things that happened to being photographed constantly but being commented constantly was a big factor in that journey. Your demeanour change when I talk when I mentioned that it looked like it genuinely I could I could see how that that phase of your life had impacted you just from the the change in your emotions and yeah it's I don't think anyone can ever you know it's really hard you know because I'm always in this place where there's a I'm always in this place where there's an element of guilt attached to my success and I think that's exacerbated by people going well you're famous you know you put yourself in that position and something I explore in the book is you know people who want to be famous probably are the people least one quick to do with it because you know we're looking for acceptance and love and adoration and to be that vulnerable and to put yourself in that position only to be criticized is it's a bad combination and I think you know with the tabloid media I think it was back then I mean it's horrific I mean I've looked again recently because you know there's been certain reasons why I've been having to read old articles on myself and I'm shocked I am I mean I don't want to jump forward too far with the story but I did suffer with a couple of eating disorders one of them being binge eating disorder I was very depressed and I gained some weight because I've been underweight for a long long time and my body was just like it was just the reaction it was like I am starved of any notionment here but heal me feed me and you know obviously the big change in that make me gain weight and it wasn't an enormous amount of weight I think I went from a size probably about a size I suppose it does sound like a lot if you say like a size 6 to a size 14 but then a size 14 I don't think it's even the average size of women in the UK and they called me sumo space I mean how disgusting is that so whoever this person is I'm not going to say it's a guy it maybe it was maybe it wasn't the other two probably was but they thought it was appropriate to call a young woman who actually had been open because she kind of felt she'd had to be about her issues and it was okay to call her sumo space how sick is that it's really fucked up isn't it I mean worst thing with hampto people and you know worst things happen in the world but in this in my world at that time when that happened it was devastating guys it's disgusting isn't it they couldn't do it now they couldn't do that now but like I say they it's all a little bit reeding between the lines now isn't it you were so young then as well you were you know you're in your teen years but you're still a child at that age and as you say learning who you are in what you mean was there a moment where you realize that so that first comment from chick sends you changes your behavior was there a moment where you look back on and go that was maybe this not the second catalyst moment but my behavior took a really sharp turn there in terms of like exercise and obsessing over food and fitting in yeah I think it was it was more when we were in the public eye being photographed doing lots of photo shoots um yeah I you know some of it is linked to a immediate control isn't it because things at that point felt very much out of our control even though we we you know we wanted to take this thing you know in our own hands and we wanted to make it happen um I think because one of the things with this Spice Girls became uber successful which was very quick after the release of wannabe were flying all over the world you're in a bubble you know this crazy bubble and it's great yeah i'm doing amazing time but you can't you can't do things on your own terms anymore but you can control what you're putting in your mouth or you can be in the gym where people are leaving alone because i don't bother if she's in the gym you write about how you turn into a robot would you mean by a robot okay so i think i found it the only way i could survive the experience was by switching off my feelings um i had to eat a certain way i had to exercise a certain amount and i couldn't not do it so i had to switch off any of those like human emotions or any of those just even listening to my own body this there was a test that had to be done and i had to complete it and robot i must
Turning into a robot (53:28)
do it and that was kind of my inner dialogue and you recount this um this day of risk reciting some reciting that well being on a running machine which i found very almost quite unnerving and quite strange looking in the mirror and telling yourself that you're a robot yeah that actually happened you were looking in there i can i can completely remember being in the gym right now in the travel car in the middle of a road travels and yeah that was that was my way of coping to like shut down shut off just like just this body is just a piece of machinery that will do what it has to do and there was no there was no choice that was the thing there was no choice that was the way it had to be and it wasn't until i had which by all you know i imagine was a break in 2000 when i just you know i hit that bottom and and that's when i kind of fell apart because the robot wasn't working anymore have you when you think back of that young girl how do you feel about her as an as an as an you know much more mature person now how do you feel about that young girl that was going through that very sad for her i feel like you know it was the most incredible time of my life and the hardest and as much as i enjoyed it it was joyous you know because i had a secret and i was dealing with what i had to deal with and living my dream at the same time it was it's a health book it is what it is because i wouldn't change anything i changed that i changed that i changed that i became the victim of an eating disorder and exercising obsessively i wish that had fun to me so i could have fully enjoyed the wonderful things that happened to me 100 percent you know i wasn't perfect there's always issues there's always things we have to overcome but it was fucking dramatic in how it went down what would you say to her if you could speak to her i say sorry i do i feel sorry but i did talk to her yeah i think i've been angry as well i think i'm angry with other people but i think as an adult you take responsibility for your actions um you know i don't understand bitter and twisted but don't hear the word people or you know the tabloid media i don't know a victim about the type of media but you know they probably need to be bitched and learned about because they've been disgraced um but yeah i just i i feel sorry i feel regretful what would you say sorry to have for it's a point through that i think it's through that for and it and it feels like i can live i have a lot of guilt attached to what i was representing but what was really going on behind closed doors and you know what i'm such an honest person i can't i can't rely i'm so bad at lying and i i feel so dishonest if i'm not burrowing myself to people but i was living high and that's probably the hardest part of it that um that secret the secret you're referring to is the eating disorder and the obsessive exercising right the secret you were keeping when you say um eating disorder are you referring to the binge eating disorder that is that was did that come after that was later yeah okay so you know the weird thing is actually as you as you put it like that it's like i was in denial for as well you know because there is a little voice that goes you can't carry on like this but then the other voice the bigger voice goes you haven't got a choice and the first eating disorder i started to um just to eat less small portions and then i started to eliminate food groups um to a point because i was terrified of fat and then i was terrified of carbs and then it wouldn't be a bonon because it's got too much sugar in it i mean i do not even know how i survived and i think often now i get so exhausted i think it's probably through years of being malnourished um i lived on fruit and vegetables for about two years and i was underweight my period stopped you know i kind of i've always wanted to be a mum but i had no choice but to live this life i was living and i was jeopardizing the chance of being a mum i mean how crazy is that just this compulsion and then it all comes to a head in 2000 when um yeah i i think like a lot of and i'm gonna sell up women but a lot of people really hate their bodies you know we oh i hate this oh we used to get asked in interviews or you know what what's your favorite they want what you call them like your favorite attribute or whatever you know what what do you what do you like your least about yourself you know what stupid fucking questions why would you why would you ever say never be negative in an interview right never pull people towards your vulnerability you know i mean i hate my my shorts stubby legs you know i mean just really focus on them um but yeah i i i hated myself i was never good enough nothing's good enough women do this all the time we pull ourselves apart you know i'm not funny enough i'm not clever enough i'm not pretty enough i'm not sexy enough all these things and it's like this body is amazing and i spent all of those years just hating it because it wasn't what i wanted it to be but you are not your body you know i was talking to my family this weekend i i lost an old sibling a few years ago and we were talking about when people pass and you know and suddenly he died of cancer and we know in the last ages people with cancer it's it's awful to see them in that way but i don't remember him in that way i remember the essence of him i remember how funny he was and how naughty he was and and it's not i don't i don't remember anything physical you know and it's just we just need to get away from this physical being what defines us what defines us we are so much more than that and i've completely forgot what the question was but i just got caught up no i know so it's so powerful and it was linked to it all all of that sort of suppression and self abandonment coming to a head in 2020 2000 yeah so exactly and i i'd spent years like trying to make myself smaller you know fit into the form that i should be to be doing the thing that i'm doing and it was killing me and i like this is why i started talking about my body because i'm so grateful to my body because it took over and it's and it said to me we can't do this anymore you're not doing this anymore we are taking the control away from you and it was hard because from being very restrictive with my eating and being anorexic i started binge eating because my body it couldn't hope anymore it wasn't getting enough fuel and i was depressed i didn't know i was depressed i had no i never even crossed my mind that i had depression i just knew i'd lost control over my eating and freaked me out because it was all about the way i looked you know it was it was vanity i was like fuck i'm eating i'm eating loads and you know i feel very grateful i was never bulimic i tried i couldn't make myself sick and i'm so grateful for that because i know it's a really difficult illness to recover from so i was getting bigger and bigger and bigger because i was eating more and more and more um and then that was it was the vanity that took me to the doctors as well as being really fucking scared because i didn't know what was going on and i was struggling to get out of bed and that was when i was diagnosed with depression and that was my first step on the way to recovery you go to that doctor who ultimately diagnoses you with depression can you remember that day vividly i do i really do i'm sitting up to him with his desk and i think i said everything got loud for the first time but i'm at eating about crying and not being able to do that i mean i didn't have the words i didn't know what anxiety was i didn't know what depression was so what did you say to him just because i want to get a
color of what the symptoms were that you hadn't yourself pinpointed us well i was i was tired all the time i couldn't control my eating i mean i was i terrified myself because sometimes i'd catch myself in mid-binge it was so it was such a compulsive thing i'd like yeah i'd just be in the middle of just eating and i'd be like you know and anyone and then suddenly i know lots of people have these issues it's like a cycle because you do it and then you hate yourself so you do it again and then you just it just keeps you know getting worse and worse to the point where i had to go to the doctor but i felt like i was losing my mind i felt like i was actually going mad and yeah and i didn't have the right words and i know they are not the right words that we used today but those were the words i had um yeah and he said well first of all we have to do with your depression and i was like i was like this weight was just lifted from my shoulders because i was like oh my god it's got a name it's something that can be treated it's something you can recover from and that was the beginning of a very very long journey very very long journey very long journey i think i'm still on that journey to be honest i don't think i think depression is always there it's always waiting in the wings it's a looming well it is for me anyway um but i'm quite good at just keeping it away you learn the tricks and the tools to keep it away you you describe them i believe the um the fear of that looming um depression or you know i guess the fear of going back to formal ways or finding yourself in that situation has has been quite a scary thing is it a scary thing something you're you're scared of i don't want to mischaracterize your words there but is it something that sits at the back of your mind in terms of you know that you fear there might be there it's like a catalyst there could be one thing that could yeah i think i feel the most is depression because you know i've always felt like there's a fire in my belly and even you know mostly at my lowest of points i can go this will pass we can do this but there are times within my depression where i have doubted that and yeah that's my mind i might need a minute can we get to shoot? yeah my biggest fear is it's that you know really overwhelming depression where you doubt if you can make it through beyond it you had those moments post mainly where you didn't think it'd be there was doubt whether you'd be able to make it through a moment is this post leaving the spice girls predominantly or is there moments throughout the experience where it's never we've never officially split up is this bicycle oh really yeah we took that decision because there was so much press you know interest in us at the time so you know i was really really struggling we were working on forever which is the third album as a four piece without jerry and i worked on my solo records and i was having a really really hard time and it was too much i found the environment too much and i think the girls knew me too well you know i was i was dealing with these demons these inner demons and they they could just read me like a book and i just didn't want to be in their company because i had to deal with it myself you know so i i did want to leave the
Life after the spice girls (01:05:57)
band but we we took the decision to never officially split up because we because we didn't want the press intrusion we were tell found because we knew i mean i slipped up once on a tv show i did a show with frank skinner and i used past tense i said when i was a spice girl whatever the wording i used was and the press jumped on it and there was camera crows on some housing and they chased me down the road and yeah it was just like we couldn't none of us could face that and the you know the beauty of that is now we kind of feel it at the time we needed separation you know we've been like this our lives have been so intertwined that we needed that space but now we've had time to do that and grow and become individual individuals and mums and and have these separate lives we can come back together and we really enjoy each other and respect each other so we quite like that we've never split up you know always well always be spice girls when people say formers but i'm not former spice girl i am a spice girl and we will always all these spice girls even think it's not the year when she didn't get on stage with 2019 she's still a very very important part of that show 2019 you're you know you recount in your book about how coming back together was actually really pleasant experience and it taught you a lot about your previous time together in the in the spice girls but let's start with the point about Victoria then a lot of lot was written about that obviously when pressed do interviews they're trying to twist your words and find something wow how can we turn them against each other like that's what
Coming back together as the spice girls (01:07:58)
that's the game right um so how did you all feel when you you know you knew that victor wasn't coming back to the group and you were going to be doing it as a for yeah there was a few feelings about that because obviously we were gutted you know you would be totally one of the i'm really scared because you thought yeah if people are going to want us as a four piece um you know in a different configuration and the thing is you know let's not we know well let's be honest here victoria is a huge international icon you know she has gone on to be something in her own right you know in the fashion world in the world of celebrity she's much bigger than the others of us individually um i don't think anything's as big as this vice girls you know we all feel that but without how it's like people can take us seriously um so yeah so there was there was different feelings around it but the the wonderful thing about it was she was very supportive and it was really important for us to make sure she was happy so she was involved creatively you know we wanted us to sign everything off we wanted to know in fact what we were going to do and it was such an incredible experience right if that makes you as part of it anyway why didn't you i didn't i missed the story at that time but why didn't she want to be what was her public statement what was the reason public statement is because of family and commitments okay which is completely you know yeah understandable um but i think you know on a more personal level and i think this has been said i i'd i think she'd remind me saying when we did the Olympics in 2012 yeah she had a really hard time okay it was she was petrified me we were awfully petrified but to the point where it's worth it yeah yeah but i think it was so you know it was it had a lot of anxiety in our life performance that she was like you know what girls and put my pants in shoes up um away so yeah so we told her you know we respected her decision and but yeah but we were still sad about it but you know what we went on to have the most successful told we've ever done and you know with her blessing sadly without her but we did it and it was incredible and it really is truly some of my happiest vice girls memories one of the things that i wish i'd asked Liam Payne when i spoke to him about one direction and the the group dynamic and then what happens when the group are no longer making music at the time i don't want to say split up because that is a bit loaded but when they're no longer together is um what what happens in the outside world and the media is people then start comparing the the like the post band successes and i think this can be very very toxic because you're then being compared against in the case of like one direction these four five other four other individuals you're then sort of measured your life then becomes measured against who did the best after it was measured during as you talk about in magazines where they said who is the hottest and who is the this yeah exactly um but then post you've got you know as it relates to one direction you've got harry styles who is just you know untouchable and i and i wonder like no matter how how amazing the objective success is of like another member are they they're always compared to this person how true is that in your case um yeah it's true it's so hard it's so hard to go on and and become a solo artist because you like this is what like really draws me mad about the media right they tell you things you already know it's like you know just in you they just want the spice girls i know um but no i mean that isn't totally true but yeah yeah you're right it's really really hard because you get compared so much within the bands and then post the band but it's like you know you you have to have this logical brain don't you where you go you know how do we measure success you know for me the areas of my life i am so happy i'm so successful and there are all this they need a bit of work but i think as as a fully grown adult you have to go stop comparing yourself you know other people might want to do it but you can't do it we all do it we all like an instagram we go i don't like amazing bullshit no one's life is amazing you know there's a point going on so i i think yeah it's just we go off to get me a little tangent sometimes but it's just just come back home and yeah concentrate on the important things when you when you went on that the reunion tour what did you learn about your former experience from that tour i learned it was a shame that we couldn't fully appreciate it at the time because and you're never going to change history and you're never going to change things moving forward because it's so chaotic and new at the time that you'll just be a little bit interact you know you're just kind of a point going through the motions you know i meet young artists now like i've been lucky enough to meet the reality few times and i can i'm related to her so much i think i i saw her perform at Shep was Bush Empire and she was already way too big to be playing that incredible venue and all these predominantly teenage girls were screaming for her screaming up her and singing her songs and it just made me go back to the Spice Girls show as i know she's very different as an artist but i just kind of felt this kinship with her and so at times i just look at her and i kind of feel like i know what she's feeling and what she's going through so whenever i have the opportunity to see her i just kind of have this little connect with her and she's like why does that make you emotional because this incredible thing happens to you and it's so hard to appreciate it because it's so intense you know because that experience was so tumultuous for you because there were so many difficulties as you approached the reunion was their fear of you know the former issues as well as the good times but also the bad times coming with that. Always whenever those girls get together this little trick is you know and i'm scared but i have to face them because you know i've learned through experience of the other things i've gone on to do with the girls we reunited in 2007 the Olympics 2019 faced the fear and actually beautiful things happened so yeah and you know we're much more mindful of each other now as well because you know everyone had their shit to deal with you know it wasn't paying for anyone. Was that too much of the reason you were inspired to write your book? It totally was. I mean sometimes i still question it i'm still questioning get as a scream. I just felt i started to feel like my story's incredible you know i'm just i'm just a girl i'm a normal girl from the northwest working class background and i have achieved my dreams and i go on to work in this industry work as an international artist i mean it blows my mind when i think about what i've achieved what i've continued to go on to do and and i want to inspire people and i've gosh i've had hard times you know i've had times when i've thought i don't know if i can carry on i don't know if i can carry on in this industry i don't know if i can carry on in this life but i've done it and and i just really hope that people can read this book and have a laugh you know there's been some funny bits and some great memories but being inspired and i also find some hope within it because you know i have i i personally for me feel like i've been at rock bottom at a time but i've worked my way up back up to like feeling okay and feeling great sometimes so yeah i know i know people lots of people struggle with some of the issues that i've had to deal with why what what stops you from writing this book sooner? fear but scared a bit scared to go back to those times i knew it was going to be hard it was actually harder than i thought it was going to be um really? yeah and recording the audiobook which is something i definitely wanted to do that's a lot it's a lot because i think to write those words is one thing but then to speak them is something else um you can be interviewed and talk about these situations but kind of go through chronologically is it's really really draining yeah you've just been right reading the audiobook out in the studio you sit there alone in these um audiobook recordings in a small room is that has that same experience and you read through this this book that you've just written what was the hardest part for you to read? and many halfway through okay i haven't even got to them really tough but yeah um but you know what's weird i wonder if you're a fanist too sometimes it's the things you don't expect to get yeah get yeah i got really upset the other day when i started reading apart i kind of remember which but it was but it really surprised me because i know there's like chapter 14 like ingrained in my brain chapter 14 and is when i talk about my eating disorders and and depression and and the really lowest point um of my life i know that's going to be hard to read i've not got there yeah um but yeah some of the other points have been quite emotional and it's that is that part hard to read and recount now because because of those feelings you described earlier where you have the sadness for that young group's version of yourself and you you will shoot said anger is that why it's hard to even read it out now you know i'm really curious to see how i'm going to do on channel 14 because i think i've built up like this resilience to it as well because i i've spoken quite openly in the media about depression and eating disorders and i actually started talking about it probably before i was ready because at the time i felt like you know being a Spice Girl it felt like it was your duty that our lives were in the public domain and you know it was such a great time because there were so many things going on you know there was so much exposed about myself and other people in in the entertainment industry and because of phone hacking you know there were so many secrets and things that probably would never have made the papers but you know they were listening to people's messages we know that now this is a fact so yeah there was this i felt like i i had to spill my guts and i was still very vulnerable then and still very ill you know i wasn't anywhere near on the road to recovery you know it was just the very beginning for me so i i had to build up the air this wall around me so i i wonder whether i can speak about that now and it not affect me emotionally i'm curious to see is that wall a good thing i think it's a necessary thing you know yeah i think somebody other points in the book you know we're talking about my childhood and my parents and they're quite new things i've already discussed them openly before and so they're quite hard and also going to affect other people but that's what's been hard about this book it's not just about me that's like fame right fame just doesn't happen to you does it it helps everybody around you and they didn't ask for it so and then the guilt kicks in again there's a lot of guilt attached to fame i think i had a few words to say about one of my sponsors on this podcast for many years people have been asking for a coffee flavored heel and quite recently he'll release the ice coffee caramel flavor of their ready to drink heels and i've just become hooked on it over the last couple of weeks i've been on a really interesting journey with heel which i've described and talked about a little bit on this podcast i started with the berry ready to drink that i moved over to the protein salted caramel because it's a hundred calories and it gives you all of your essential vitamins and minerals but also gives you the 20 odd grams of protein you need and now i'm balanced between them both i drink mostly the banana flavor ready to drink i've got really into the ice coffee caramel flavor of of heels ready to drink and now i'm drinking that as well as the protein make sure you try the new ready to drink flavors that the caramel flavors amazing the new banana flavor as well as amazing and obviously as i said the iced coffee caramel flavor has been a real smash hit so check it out let me know what you think on social media i see all of your tags and instagram posts and tweets about heel where is your line in terms of sharing stuff this is something that i always think about obviously i have a podcast so i talk a lot about my childhood and all the things that happened and i've always wondered you know there's being transparent and honest because it will help others that have gone through that experience and that's really important that's how we all learn you saying one thing can quite literally save lives but where is your
Wheres your line in sharing stuff (01:21:08)
personal line in terms of because you kind of alluded to it there where there's things where you just can't maybe it's not the right time or i think you know what's really important with this book is it's my story and it's in my words and it's my perspective and i think the line for me is you know it's not my place to tell other people's stories and you know to the point of hurting other people that that's i can't i couldn't live with myself um but i know sometimes we hurt people unintentionally you know so that's probably my fear around the book coming down now it's not my intention to hurt anybody i've tried to be very careful um but obviously like your parents reading how you feel about things you know that's that's gonna hurt when one of the things as well that fascinated me was um your relationship with with money you know um and this this suggestion that you had almost guilt for your success i've heard that a few times on this on this um podcast and it always seems to come from people that have a working class background can you tell me about that in your from your perspective i think for me it's you know i all around me all of my family all of my friends families everybody works really hard you know really hard whatever you know worlds they're working it could be manual labor it can be you know on me my dad god bless him he's in his 70s he's sort of traveling around the world like a young man and doing this crazy job doing super long hours and you know that my dad loves his job but it's you know it's a necessity to work that hard to put food on the table to pay the bills right i my my work can be hard it can be grueling but i go on stage and i sing and it's my shit and i'm very lucky to do it and sometimes i could maybe earn in a day what people in my family might earn in a year you know and until this guilt is house to them when um when you think about the the thing that made you successful the first time around you you talk about it a lot that and i talk about it as well that insecurities were one of my biggest drivers they were this you know you're trying to fill some kind of void and you end up it ends up resulting in perfectionism and overworking and all those things how do you control that sort of those inner insecurities that i could probably ask this question in a different way those things that drove you then which ultimately are quite unhealthy and toxic and end up creating a lack of balance in one's life how do you stop those things driving you now how do you stop being toxic driven you know i think actually age does that for you because you're so exhausted right yeah we've got the energy right to be that you know i i think the thing is you know we live and learn don't we and i'm a mum now so i have a different set of priorities i love my work sometimes i get the balance completely wrong you know i'm with the book and everything my workload is huge right now it's a school holidays you know i'm not around enough for my daughter so eating me up inside but you know i i will find the time when we've got holiday-funded and i i think it's just kind of learning from past mistakes that you know be driven but not to the point where it's detrimental the biggest mistake i made is you in person whereas i believed other people knew better than i did no one knows better than you about you just listen just i'm so beautiful i've guys read so much time this weekend with like really young people in front of me and i just look at them and i just think just don't lose the essence of you you know because it because i think when you're a kid then we're obviously people have different circumstances but this essence of you has all the answers it's all you need you know and then life comes in and just like makes it all a bit out of balance so i just like really encouraging people to just really you know trust the instincts i'm really i've been really i've been thinking a lot about that lately i've been thinking because when i go up on stage and i try and give people advice you're sometimes people will often sometimes overcomplicate the answer but as i've like looked back at my own life and what i'm hearing from you as well is that i i knew the answer the whole whole time but there was a narrative that persuaded me to ignore it so sometimes that can be your your immigrant parents telling you to go and become a doctor or lawyer when you really want to just dance and so you you kind of place their narrative over the top of your own feeling and so and then the other one can sometimes be social media which tells you that you should be an ex or a wire is that but inside of you i think it's really liberating to consider that you might already have all the answers if you just listened and tuned out these other voices easiest i've been done super easiest i've been done almost impossible yeah and i think the thing is as well it's like because you think it can't be that yeah maybe maybe especially if the answer is happiness if it is material success then maybe you should go and be a doctor but if it is happiness which i think is the answer in the long time if you don't want to avoid a midlife crisis when you're in your doctor's suit at 14 you go what the fuck am i doing here whatever and maybe that is the approach to take but yeah that's what i'm saying like is a series of chapters right so what's right at one point might change so i think that's you know that is the thing as well it's like okay a decision might be made and you're following a path and then at some point you're like you know what this isn't working for me anymore so you can change i think that's i think that's really powerful to know i mean it's fucking scary and not everybody has the luxury of just going okay i might change right because i'm gonna move i'm gonna jettin and move quickly whatever but i think what's powerful is actually you have the power you just got to find the way to do it yeah the practical way to i think that's the most important thing um one of the other things i wanted to ask you about is when i reflect on my own early upbringing with my parents and and the model of love that they taught me not all great what impact did the model of relationships and the separation of your parents have on your own model of of a relationship and love if any i think the biggest impact
Effects Of Parental Relationships
The impact of your parents relationship on you (01:27:33)
that my my parents relationship and break down with their relationship and my childhood is telling me is that i yearn for a family i yearn for that security um and i i have a little girl i'm not with her dad and that was really difficult because i didn't want from my little girl what i found to me um so yeah i think i'm always i'm always looking for that that environment that i don't feel like i've ever really had we have got one last question for you so the last guest asks a question for the next guest but they don't know who they're asking
The last guests question (01:28:31)
the question to so they write a question in the book i don't see it on my mother's life i don't see it until i open the book um that was the last question okay here we go interesting this is interesting because it's a question we've we've been asked once um before so it's interesting let's come up to us um what is a pain that you enjoy having ah okay this is interesting um i've had a little emotional turmoil recently and i was in the gym and i was stretching to the point where it hurts but it felt good and i think sometimes and this is a little bit self-harmy i think like physical pain sometimes will alleviate like you know when i'm exercising to the point of it hurting can help with my emotional pain you know exercise is a really interesting thing because you know obviously i have a difficult relationship with it in a sense because i've used to exercise excessively which i don't anymore but i do exercise a lot and i do it for my head more so than my body at times you know it's really really important to me but i can feel so low and so tired and so lethargic and i can go to the gym and i'm a changed person you know it's it's it's like a it's a miracle drug right whether it's the endorphins or serotonin that's produced whatever happens it's like when people say to me oh you know how do you encourage people to do exercise and it's like listen just go no pressure say i'll do 10-15 minutes i'll be better you there for an hour just i completely agree that is when i was first when that first when that question first came into this book my immediate response was exercise and i've never really thought i was always curious as to whether there was a little element of like escapism there as well and i i'm always conscious about escaping issues or and then when you refrained it when you described it then is you're going through an emotional pain and the pain of the exercise almost helps to relieve that it's quite a curious thing because i understand the endorphins all the chemicals and stuff but the pain itself being a medicine is an interesting concept yeah the other thing i think with exercise is because you say about it because i've used running sometimes like that thing of running away you know if you're running no one can catch you when you're running you're running right but it also makes you very present you know when you are running you are present and i've actually done a lot of problem solving when i've been running had some little epiphanies as well so it's i think exercise is you know we were built to move let's do it melonie thank you so much thank you so much and your book is truly important i think that's the best the best way to describe it because because the depth of your honesty and the uniqueness of your experience offers means that it offers so much to so many people and even someone that obviously i mean there's probably not there's probably almost no one on planet earth that can relate to the experience itself but the lessons that are within your book and the lessons that you've managed to pull out of those experiences are lessons that we can all use to change our life and i i said to you before we started recording that i usually don't make that many notes and i just i made way too many and it's really because i had so i gained so much from reading it about you know even my own life having not walked in your shoes that um really helped me in so many ways and i know that everyone listening to it is going to gain so much from it but i also really have to specifically thank you for your honesty around the eating disorders and your depression because that will quite literally save people's lives and you may never see it you may never you know get to hear directly from those people but i assure you of that it's definitely definitely will so well thank you so much for saying that because i've been honest in the interview to say that i still fear releasing this book but you know what if it if that is the case and to hear that from you then i feel good i feel good about it and getting out there thank you thank you i had a few words to say about one of my sponsors on this podcast crafted our brand that sell really meaningful affordable men's jewelry and i've been a crafted customer i think for about three years now and all of the pieces that craft that have created have deeper meaning the piece of jewelry i wear the most i want to introduce you to the pieces and why i wear them is this santimer unsurprisingly and the thing for me about santimer is it's probably the most clear reminder that our time here on earth is finite and when you live in such a way where you can literally see your time pouring away and you realize that it is scarce and that we're not all here forever you start to make better decisions you stop worrying about pettiness and trivialities that consume our lives i always have this crafted santimer around my neck as a reminder of that and this is why i wanted crafted to sponsor this 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