Spice Girl Geri Halliwell is dressed down and made-under, and
she regrets pinching the prince's bum. Tony Ramando offers his
would have believed that Ginger Spice would become
theposter child for no frills beauty - glowing skin,
almond shaped eyes and a cherub mouth.
accountants office in East London, Geri Halliwell and I are
facing each other across a long
conference table. We're sprawled and spread out like eagles.
Teacups filled with milk and
cigarette butts are shoved aside to give us plenty of room to
maneuvor properly. "All right -
now I'm ready. Should I go this way or that?" Geri asks
with her croaky voice. Well, I think you
should do it like this, I reply. "Okay then, your
turn" she says, leaning flat onto the table to the point
of showing the tattoo that stretches from the small of her
back down, uh, a little farther.
looking blue in a The Smiths T-shirt.
on the pic to see it bigger)
f someone were
to walk in now, they'd be shocked, I say. "Stop talking:
this is just starting to heat up,
and your distracting me," the admitted schizophrenic
says. You know you could've jumped me
earlier if you wanted to, I tell her. "Oh, come on, be
quick, will you?" she urges. At this moment,
Geri's yoga instructor, Kieth, arrives early for their 5:30
lesson. Geri glances up, trying to
salvage on elast shred of dignity. "I've lost, haven't
I?" she asks. Ah, the game checkers isn't as
simple as it appears, is it?
Not as simple as, say breathing, or being a Spice Girl.
Looking back, that's one of the main
reasons she ditched the cartoonish super-group she once called
her family. "Being with the
Spice Girls looks like a short time on paper, but mentally
those five years feel like 20 years"
she says. For Geri Halliwell, life as 'Ginger' wasn't exactly
challenging (what, exactly, was she
expecting?), and there were more pressing issues the she
wanted to take a stab at - like
breast cancer awareness, "which the scheadule wouldn't
permit" a solo record and building a
foundation of integrity. "It doesn't take a brain
scientist to figure out things weren't exactly
perfect," she says. Maybe it does, but she refuses to
Geri Halliwell's strawberry blonde hair is pulled back, and
she's not wearing any makeup. Is
this proper lady the same overly made-up cleavage monster,
who, at a business function
where she couldn't find a bathroom, used some wadded - up
towels as a toilet instead? "I'll
always be kicking myself for doing things like that and for
pinching Prince Charles' bum - I
wouldn't do that today," she says. "The louder you
are, the more insecure you are, and that was
me. I'm a lot more vulnarable now." The trashy ones
always seem to clean up their acts before I
get to them.
At 5 feet 1 inch, she's a tiny and unbelievably skinny little
women, modestly covered by a black
sweater and black pants. And no, shes not wearing platform
sneakers. Her head isn't
disproportionatly larger than the rest of her body, as it
appears to be in pictures; but her
chest, even without a bustier, is alarmingly large, compared
with her overall size. But no
cleavage - I feel cheated. "I have to question my values
and integrity now," she says. "Im trying
to grow, desperately. When I left the Spice Girls, I really
had to look at myself on all levels -
physically and superficially - and wipe off my make-up and
undress myself," Geri says. "Im
really not sure who I was then."
Now Geri is rifling through her purse for her drivers license
to prove to me how ridiculous it is
that so many people think shes 35. A year ago, she was called
many things - Podge Spice,
Chin-ger Spice and Old Spice (oops, we called her that in our
premier issue). "I don't have my
drivers license after all - I gave it to my driver," she
explains (although she doesn't explain why
her driver would need her license). "When I joined the
Spice Girls, I said I was 21, when I was
actually 22. And now I look back and say, 'I know I looked
old.' Im just a reflection of the way
society makes us think its crap to get old. The other thing
with the Spice Girls, as time went on,
was that I felt unhappy inside and not confident about my
looks, so I put more and more
make-up on to hide it."
Your without cake face right now, so do you feel less than
perfect? "Yes, But the difference is... you hide
behind the mask until you've had enough. I think image is
fine, but image is also bullshit, and
we have to acknowledge that. And I have," she says. She
doesn't look 26, but she also doesn't
look older than 30 - and even if she isn't 26, who cares? Most
people have issues about their
ages. "Who gives a crap?" she laughs. Maybe I'm 66,
and I've just got good wrinkle cream."
go to sleep with my make-up on and things like that.
One thing I do is scrub my skin with a nail brush to
of massage it, helps get rid of fat. I don't really
know if it works."
did Geri quit the Spice Girls? "I suppose it was quite a
mad thing to do - why would
anyone?" she asks. "I had to go onstage and do the
Spice Girls thing, even though I was
changing." But she is willing to give me a little Spice
Girls gossip: The reason Geri didn't
attend Scary's wedding is because she wasn't invited. She is
not a scientologist. On the
pregnancy rumour: "I'd love to have a child one day, but
right now all I've got is Harry," she says
of her purse-size dog. On the rumour on that she got a raw
deal: "I kind of had to lick my
wounds and rebuild myself, rebuild my confidence as a human
being, not rely on my identity
as a Spice Girl," she says.
And the feud between her a Scary Spice? Geri won't elaborate
in words. But when I give her a
T-shirt to autograph (for our managing editors daughter - not
me!), I have to stop her from
drawing a mustache on Scary.
Somehow, it becomes her turn to ask the questions. "Do
you know what the meaning of life is?"
Geri asks. Beer and Women? "Thats fine," she says,
winking, "but you know when you're asking
yourself the important questions in life? Thats me right
now." Geri Halliwell has put a cork in
the "girl power" for the time being. She says
"It's more about people power." This, no doubt, is
linked to her appointment as an ambassador for the United
Nations; her responsibilities
include supporting contraceptives awareness and a population
control program. "I'll tell you
who I admire," she says, "Hillary Clinton. I think
she's brilliant. I think she should run for
president." As of late, Geri's been spending most of her
time in a recording studio, rather than
running her trap about condoms and sex. She's just finished
recording her as-yet-untitled
solo record (due in late spring), which she describes as a
"roller coaster ride with hormonal
mood swings - more adult."
had a bikini wax and, God, that hurt. A lot of
beauty things are really really painful. Men might
be put off by this, but I
don't sheve my legs. I haven't got really hairy
legs, and I think spiky stubble is worse."
on the pic for the full size version
we near the end of our game, I have all of Geri's checker
pieces except two. She moves a
black checker and then takes her finger off of it (she wanted
to be red because red is a
power colour, but in the end chose black because "black
is slimming"). She spots a safer
play and quickly tries to move her piece back. You took your
finger off that, Missy. "I did not!
...Okay, I did," she says. I think you're pretty much
finished. "It ain't over till the fat lady sings, and I
hate losing," she responds. "I love the underdog.
You know, checkers is a metaphor for life,
isn't it? Don't move because it's take or be taken. I've taken
the piss out of myself now, and I
think thats very important," she says.