Bliss magazine Interview
From Bliss Magazine September 1999

When Geri invites you to go cruising in the Med, you don't say no. Peter Hart spent
two days as the ex-Spice's new best friend...

A tiny, tanned Geri stands in the middle of a bustling airport departure lounge, the
thing is, she's standing on her head. Seconds ago she took off her skirt, whipped a
pair of shorts from my bag(like, how would you ask Geri to stop rifling through your
stuff?) and put them on in full view of some bemused holiday-makers. She shouts,
"Look! I've mastered it at last," and fifteen people clap their approval. Red- faced, she
flops forward and reaches for her pack of Silk Cut, seemingly unaware that she's one
of the world's most famous women. She lights up and starts a game of charades for
her entourage. It's only a few hours since she headlined London's 'Party in the Park',
but we're already at Rome airport waiting for a connecting flight to Sardinia. The island
will be Geri's home for the next four days as she films the video for her new single Mi
Chico Latino. I'm assured it's perfectly normal for Geri, worth an estimated 13 million,
to do such crazy things, with no regard for her star status. And although I've been in
her company since we left London's Heathrow in BA's club class, she's already
behaving like I've known her forever.

On the Med

It's the same when we meet at one of Sardinia's ultra-chic marina's the next morning to
start filming. It's 8am and a bikini clad Geri's sprawled out on top of a luxury motor
cruiser, waving to me below. The new natural look Geri's body is frankly amazing -
super-toned and very sexy. She's tiny in reality, and despite all the newspaper
speculation, doesn't look older than 27. It's quite a transformation from her final days
as the caricature that was Ginger Spice. Back to the present, and Geri chirps,
"Morning! "How did you sleep Peter?" "Fine thanks," I grumble, wondering how she
manages to look refreshed after just three and a half hours sleep. But any tiredness
soon vanishes as the boat heads off into the Mediterranean. We anchor 45 minutes
out of Sardinia and begin lapping up the sun as it's too windy to start filming. Upstairs,
Geri's five Italian dancers (who also appeared in the Look At Me video) are larking
around in their trunks, and on sun-soaked deck number two, Geri's resting. She's not
supposed to be giving interviews ("There's nothing left for her to say at the moment, "
explains her PR man)but she wants to talk to Bliss. " I feel so lucky to be here, she
begins, swinging her legs onto the table opposite so her make-up guy can file her
toenails. "This is probably the lightest and most easy-going thing I've done for the last
few months, cause it's normally hard to say 'no' to things. When people give me
wonderful opportunities, I don't want to turn them down. So things have been a little
hectic lately. After a period of reflection when Geri quit the Spice Girls at the end of
May I998, she spent three months writing and recording her solo album, toured the
world and squeezed in a number two hit with her debut single, Look At Me. Then she
spent another promotional week in New York and caused such a frenzy police had to
shut off streets in attempt to control the crowds. "The last holiday I had Barbados last
Christmas" she says, and there's a pause she screams-she's just jabbed by a nailfile.
"But I went for two days. I sat on my balcony overlooking the road and tourists were
taking pictures of me on my balcony. Can you imagine sitting there and feeling a bit fat
in your bikini? I felt uncomfortable and so I just came home. "

Under attack

It's hard to see how a star Geri can be lonely, but the, exactly the figure she cut
90-minute bare-my-soul' documentary. The tabloid hammered her for being, indulgent.
Even former Spice mate, Mel G snarled, "Trying to get everyone to feel sorry for her - I
didn't think it was a good move" in a recent interview. " I do look back and cringe
myself, " Geri reveals, " but.. I thought if I could show people my sadness then they
would feel so alone themselves " Surprisingly, Geri says she has few celeb mates
aside from well-documented friendship with George Michael. An, although it's the day
after and Becks' wedding, there is no mention of them or of the Spice Girls. " I can talk
to Dawn French over a cup of tea, " Geri remarks bizarrely, " but I don't go to celebrity
parties unless I believe in what the party's about. OK, but how do you actually make
friends with people like George and Dawn? Just ring them up and go, " Hi, it's Geri
here. You might remember from the Spice Girls. D'you fancy seeing a movie
tonight?" Geri laughs indignantly, before picking her nose (Don't print that in your
magazine she orders). "No! You can't just be friends because you're famous -that's
not going to work. need more than that to build friendship on. After speaking to
George for a few hours I realised I liked him as a person. he wonderful and that was it

Love & wisdom

George, as the documentary revealed, was the man a teenage Geri once set her
heart on marrying. She's obviously out of luck in that respect, but has she ever known
true love? " I don't know. I've felt it in moments, but actually being in love..." she trails
off. " I wouldn't mind that now though, " says the singer who once dated Jamie
Morrison, a millionaire-music-publishing- tycoon's son, and had an on-off relationship
with Spice dancer Christian Horsfall. "Sometimes I think I'd really like some love in my
life, and sometimes I think I want sex, but it's about more than that. It's about
compassion, affection, company and someone to cuddle. When I was I4 and girls
would snog three boys in a night- I didn't - but as you become older you have more
reservations about letting someone get close to you. Geri reckons her teen years
were hard as a late developer who felt pressured by her mates. " I remember when all
the girls had started their periods and I felt like the only one who hadn't. They didn't
start until I was I7, but I lied and said they had. "When you're a teenager you're
desperate to belong, so you look to your peers. But if you feel slightly different then it
makes you feel insecure and pressured to do things you wouldn't normally do, like
drink or snog boys, " she says. "People shouldn't cave in to demands to lose their
virginity - your mind needs to be ready and it's something you should really think

People Power

It feels like we're getting on to girl power. But doesn't Geri think it's all become a
hollow, marketing-man's mantra? " I always believed in girl power and I put my hand on
my heart when I say that, she says, fixing my gaze. It was never just a slogan -it gave
integrity to what I was doing and it grew into something with more depth to it. " She
pauses, then suddenly she realises she's got it. " It's more about real power, women
power, black power, gay power - how you do things is more important than what you
get from them in the end." A satisfied smile appears. " If you're reading this mag, you
could bean MP, the next Prime Minister, the next big scientist, a great artist. And when
that careers officer asks what you want to do and you say you want to be a space
person, and they say, 'Now what do you really want to do?', tell them to fuck off But
Geri disagrees she's a role model." that's a hard thing to live up to. If anybody can
connect with me, that's great and I'm flattered. But I'm not the most beautiful girl, I'm
not the smartest, and I'm going to make mistakes so I wouldn't want anyone to think
they should do everything I do.!

Girl on film

Lunch is ready and it's a lavish affair in the boat's dining room. We are treated to a
starter of pasta(which Geri doesn't touch) followed by fish and veg (which she loves)
and fresh fruit "Never eat fruit after a meal - you digest it quicker than everything
else," she advises. Lunch over, the wind has dropped and it's time to start filming. As
Geri has fresh extensions added to her hair, small motor-boats arrive from nowhere,
full of crew, ready to transport us to a small, idyllic island in the distance where Geri
will film the other half of the video. I fall asleep on a rock, waking intermittently to see
Geri still performing for her video - never tiring, never complaining, three hours of
shooting that will end up as a couple of seconds of moody shots. At 7.30pm, we're told
it's a wrap and a shivering Geri staggers out of the sea to be wrapped in a beach

The Fame Game

As we're speeding back to the ship, [wonder if Geri's happy to have all her fame? She
pauses and glances back at the rocky outcrops of Sardinia darkening in the evening
light. "Yeah, I'm happy being famous, " she says with a wry smile, " but the reality is
often different from how I imagined. One minute the media will be saying well done, the
next they'll say I'm crap. When I'm feeling good, that's like water off a duck's back, but
when I'm feeling lousy, it hurts me. Then, with a flash of Spice Girls confidence, she
laughs, - "Sometimes I am crap! But as you get older you learn that you really can't
make everybody like you." As we came aboard the motor-cruiser Geri disappears in a
tangle of salty sea-matted hair extensions for a shower. My heart sinks as I realise our
day together is over. As I'm whisked off to catch my plane without having the chance to
say goodbye, I wonder was Geri really being my mate today? Or is she just amazingly
professional? I hope one day we meet up again to find out.