She might have turned 40 this year but Sporty Spice is showing no signs of slowing down.
Nearly fifteen years after the Spice Girls came onto the scene, Mel C is still lamenting the days of Girl Power, raising concerns about bringing up her daughter Scarlet in a selfie-obsessed generation (which, by the way, she calls total b*llocks).
We sat down with former Spice Girl to talk about the legacy of the most famous girl-group and their influence on fourth-wave feminism (as well as her first Christmas up north with Scarlet and her family).
And yes, we were fangirling the WHOLE time. #GirlPower
Mel C – real name Melanie Chisholm – currently lives in London’s Primrose Hill with her 5-year-old daughter Scarlet, but the pair are heading up north to spend Christmas with Mel’s relatives in Merseyside.
It’s actually Scarlet’s first Crimbo up north so the pair are VERY excited to be getting out of the Big Smoke (here’s hoping they get some snow!)
“Christmas always comes around so quickly! We’re going up north this year to see all the family. We did a London Christmas last year so I’m looking forward to getting up north,” she said.
“It’s our first northern Christmas together but we tend to do a lot of visiting throughout the year so she’s met everyone already.”
So what’s Scarlet got on her Christmas list for Santa this year? Surely when your mum’s a Spice Girl, you can ask for WHATEVER you want, right?
“She’s really into Zhu Zhu pets at the moment. Even though she doesn’t tend to play with them that much, at Christmas she wants them,” said Mel.
“She spends most of her time drawing, she loves colouring in. She’s not really into one particular thing.”
Hmm, that must save Mel some pennies! She also revealed their Xmas activities – although it will NOT be including ice-skating following a previous iced-based ‘mare.
“We went to Winter Wonderland last year but we haven’t made plans to go this year,” she said.
On the actual day (which is five Fridays away FYI, not that we’re counting), Mel says she’ll be taking a back seat and letting her mum do the Christmas cooking as she finds the whole thing a bit stressful.
“My mum makes her own cake, her own mince pies – she’s such a great cook!” she said. Sounds YUM.
She’s famous for her sculpted abs and toned arms but the Spice Lady formerly known as Sporty Spice revealed she does let her diet relax a little at Christmas.
“Doesn’t everybody? I hope so! It’s like your birthday – calories don’t count,” she joked.
“Obviously we all want to be healthy, but you can’t deprive yourself, especially at Christmas. I’m not really a sweet-toothed person or a chocolate girl, but I like a Quality Street Toffee Penny at Christmas.”
But you only have to look at her Twitter feed to see that she takes her healthy lifestyle very seriously during the rest of the year (recently sharing a picture of her Paleo diet plan).
And the self-confessed fitness fanatic revealed she developed abs of steel after training for a gruelling triathlon last year.
“I got super-fit training for triathlons so a lot of training went into that. It’s hard work. Leading up to the competition, it’s six days a week [training], but not now,” she said.
“I train about three times a week now. I think because I was very competitive and did a couple of triathlons, you have this strength that remains and how much fat you have over it is how much it shows!”
Right, better sign up for the hardest physical challenge we can possibly set ourselves next year.
Actually scrap that, Ben and Jerry’s are calling our names and we can’t keep them waiting.
Spice Girls Legacy
It’s FINALLY started not to feel like a dirty word – especially with Emma Watson’s #HeForShe campaign.
And with the former Harry Potter star growing up in the ‘90s, there’s no way she could have gone until the age of 23 without being influenced by #GirlPower.
“I’m taking her to a grotto, which should be nice. We won’t be going ice skating as we went one year and it was a disaster!”
But Mel C admitted that they actually became the faces of 90s feminism by accident.
“I think with us girls, it was almost an accidental thing that happened with us,” she said.
“We were quite naïve to the fact that it was quite a male-dominated industry, as many people are, and when we started coming up against barriers, that’s where Girl Power was born.”
Appearing as Sporty Spice alongside Victoria Beckham (Posh), Geri Halliwell (Ginger), Emma Bunton (Baby) and Melanie Brown (Scary), the girls were adamant they would be as successful – if not more than – other boybands at the time.
“We were like, ‘F**k this!’. It was our motto, we were so determined and we were so appalled to be told that girl bands don’t sell and it’s all about boybands,” she said.
“That spurred us on to want to be successful but want to be for girls and to empower girls.
“The wonderful thing about Spice Girls, Girl Power, feminism, whatever you want to call it, is that made that belief more accessible to young girls.”
So what exactly does feminism mean to her now, with her Spice Girls days long behind her?
“I think feminism is different things to different people. Personally for me it’s about equality, about no-one being better than anyone else,” she said.
“No-one needs to be stronger or more aggressive or all of these things, it’s about human beings wanting and needing the same things and just striving for that.”
But she has concerns that a generation obsessed with their appearance (aka #selfie) will negatively affect her young daughter’s self-esteem.
“It has been interesting because I think culture has changed. In a way we’re all so narcissistic with selfies and Instagram and of course, when I was growing up, people didn’t have phones let alone a social media account,” said Mel.
“What bothers me is the effect things have on people. I have a little girl and what’s important for me is that she grows up with great self-esteem in herself as a person and in her physical appearance.
“I don’t want any of these external factors to affect her, because it’s bollocks.”
Told you she didn’t mince her words.
“It’s pulling in two ways – there’s the celebrity element which is all about glamour and self-promotion and then the other side which is saying it’s about authenticity,” she said.
“I have a terrible battle with celebrity because I dislike celebrity and I find it quite vulgar but it’s part of my work as well so I can’t be a hypocrite.”
To get around her internal conflict, she tries to use her celebrity status for a good cause, for example she’s working with children’s charity Barnados for their Christmas campaign with Duracell.
Could she see herself as the next Angelina Jolie, working as a UN Ambassador perhaps?
“I think Posh Spice took that role!” she joked.