of CNN Larry King Interview - Geri Interview on Larry King
October 23 1998 from CNN
KING: We'll be back with the head of the Spice Girls,
who isn't there anymore, Geri Halliwell is now the United
Nations' goodwill ambassador. She's in New York. Look at that
beautiful face. She's next.
Don't go away.
KING: Joining us now from New York is former Spice Girl --
indeed, she was considered head of the Spice Girls, Geri
Halliwell. They're still the Spice Girls, but she isn't one of
them. She is now on her first day as U.N. goodwill ambassador.
GERI HALLIWELL, U.N. GOODWILL AMBASSADOR: Hello.
KING: Hello, Ger.
She will use her fame and fortune to promote safe sex in the
Third World. Why did you take this?
HALLIWELL: I just felt very privileged and proud. I was offered
it about a month ago, and I gave it lots of thought. And, you
know, I think in life, I think we can make a difference. And,
obviously, this is going to give me a louder voice to do that.
KING: And were you surprise -- you're what, 25 years old, right?
HALLIWELL: I'm 26.
KING: Were you surprised -- I mean, Audrey Hepburn had this kind
of post -- that you were offered it so young?
HALLIWELL: I was very, very surprised. I am very, very
KING: Do you think you might also help with Afghanistan, with
what we were just talking about?
HALLIWELL: I was watching. I tell you what, the Lenos have my
utmost respect. I think it's brilliant what they're doing. I
mean, one thing I said the other day when I was at the press
conference is, I am just basically trying to use my fame to
bring awareness to a cause that I believe in. And that's what
they're doing, so they have my total admiration, and respect in
KING: You're also involved in the fight against breast cancer,
HALLIWELL: Well, there's a bit of a story there. When I was 18
years old I had a lump in my breast. And, fortunately, it was
benign and it was removed, but it really wasn't my wake-up call.
It wasn't until many years later, last year, that a
"Sun" newspaper -- that's our tabloid over in Britain
-- did a story on me. And I decided to make something positive
out of it, you know, and go with an awareness thing with it.
And I did my -- this is a discovery more about the disease, and
I was absolutely horrified of the statistics and I thought -- I
am meant to be an advocate of girl power. You know, I have a
duty to talk about this. So this year I went to Holloway Prison
(ph) in England, which is a female prison, and a girl's school
to try to say "Well, actually, breast cancer doesn't
And I learned something from it. There was a Jamaican lady in
there and she said the only reason why she'd done something
about the lump in her breast was because her life had stopped.
You know, she'd gone to prison. You know, so many women are so
busy being mothers, working...
HALLIWELL: ... out there. They're so busy taking care about
KING: Do you ever fear a return? I mean, it was benign, thank
HALLIWELL: Oh, yes, absolutely. There's always a looming threat,
not just for me, for many women. It's one in nine, one in 12.
KING: Geri, a lot of bases to cover. Why did you quit?
HALLIWELL: Why did I quit what, Larry?
KING: The foundation for the arcane -- no, why did you quit the
HALLIWELL: Why did I quit the Spice Girls? I understand the
question totally. And, you know, as I said in my press
statement, there was differences between us. And those
differences, I have to say, are personal differences. And, you
know, if you want to probe into them -- you're going to have to
respect for now -- I think we should leave, you know, the memory
of the way the Spice Girls was, you know, a very spirited and
KING: How do you explain -- this is fair -- their -- their and
your participation in their success? Where you were Ginger Spice
and Scary Spice and Baby Spice and Posh Spice.
KING: Why did the world, especially young ladies, react to that?
HALLIWELL: I just think it was the spirit, the enthusiasm, you
know, the attitude, that -- you know, that no matter where you
came from, you know, you can do anything, basically.
Was it someone's idea? HALLIWELL: No. It was -- you know, five
girls' idea. It was five girls that came together and, you know,
realized that we had a -- the same common ground. And that was,
you know, an attitude that we could achieve something together.
KING: Your involvement with Prince Charles -- you're going to
sing happy birthday at his birthday -- his 50th birthday. We see
you pictured with him now.
How did that start?
HALLIWELL: Well, apparently, he requested my appearance at his
-- his party, celebrating his 50th birthday. And I am going to
be presenting the show, which is rather nice.
KING: His sons are big fans, right?
HALLIWELL: Yes. I believe so, yes. I think Charles is, too.
KING: Are you going to continue as a single act? There was a
story in the paper that you signed a major deal with EMI
HALLIWELL: Yes, I am. I am a great lover of pop music. I think
music is a fantastic mediator and a good escapism. So, I will be
so, yes. And I'll have an album out next year.
KING: What kind of songs?
HALLIWELL: Well, you know, I'm a real traditionalist, and I love
good songs that everyone can sing along to. They have lots of
flamboyancy and good melody, so I think even you might be
singing along to them.
KING: With -- why do you mean "even you?"
HALLIWELL: Even you and the ball.
KING: Were the Spice Girl talents? Were you all good singers, or
not -- you know, people made fun of that they weren't a talent.
KING: I mean, what is a good singer anyway. At the end of the da
-- my personal belief is, so long as you have something here
and, you know, singing is about expression, you know, and heart,
so and -- I think, you know, I have that and the Spice Girls had
that, and that's good enough. We're not claiming to be Barbra
Streisand, you know. I'm just, you know, being a creative
KING: The singer, the album -- you are Geri Halliwell, back to
your name now, right?
HALLIWELL: Yes, absolutely.
KING: No more Spice identification now at all?
HALLIWELL: Well, I had to leave it behind with my former
colleagues. And that's fair enough. Ginger Spice is a nickname
put on to me by a magazine, which was great.
KING: You liked it?
HALLIWELL: Yes, it was fine. You know, it's still part of me.
It's always going to be there.
KING: Well, you could be Ginger Halliwell, couldn't you?
HALLIWELL: Oh, I could be, indeed. I think I am Geri,
fundamentally. But I think Ginger is still there; that wicked
streak in me that will...
KING: Are the Spice Girls still singing, by the way; are they
HALLIWELL: As far as I know. You'll have to get them on here.
KING: We'll take a break, and we'll come back with more and take
some phone calls for Geri Halliwell. A lot happened in her life.
The former Spice Girl is goodwill ambassador for the United
Nations. Here's the Spice Girl's biggest hit ever,
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "Wannabe")
SPICE GIRLS (singing): Yo, I'll tell you what I want, what I
really, really want. So tell me what you want what you really,
I'll tell you what I want, what I really, really want.
So tell me what you want, what you really, really, really want.
I want a...
I want a...
I want a...
I want a really, really, really, really want a zigga, zigga, ah.
If you want my future, forget my past.
If you want to get with me better make it fast.
Now don't go wasting my precious time. Get your act together, we
can be just fine.
I'll tell you what I want, what I really, really want. So tell
me what you want what you really, really want.
I want a...
I want a...
I want a...
I want a really, really, really, really want a zigga, zigga, ah.
If you want to be my lover, you got to get with my friends. Make
it last for ever, friendship never ends.
If you want to be my lover, you have got to give. Taking is too
easy, but that's they way it is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: As we come back, we see the Spice Girls with Prince
Charles, and as he approaches you, Geri, you suddenly pinch him
in an unusual place. What prompted that?
HALLIWELL: Do you know what? I was actually -- last week I was
sitting on my couch. I was sitting talking to my sister, and I
really can't believe I did that. I don't know what possessed me,
I mean, it's the next king of England.
HALLIWELL: I know. It's just one of those spontaneous moments,
and I forgot who he was, and who I was.
KING: And he still wants you, though, at the birthday party,
right? So it can't be that bad.
HALLIWELL: He does. He kind of -- yeah.
KING: Winnipeg, Manitoba -- hello.
CALLER: Hi Larry.
CALLER: I'd like to ask Geri, with her new position as the U.N.
ambassador, will she be traveling to different countries to
speak on her personal beliefs and everything?
HALLIWELL: First and foremost, I'll be trying to make awareness
in the U.K. about Third-World countries -- how they're denied
basic rights, you know, education on, you know, health and
reproductive care. But I will -- I have just been in Uganda,
actually, and it was really fantastic learning experience. That
was for Comic Relief. And I went to a camp where they teach
women to read and write, and it was just fantastic, because --
just things that we take for granted, I know, getting on the
bus, you know, knowing where to go, or reading a pharmaceutical
bottle, you know, taking the right amount of tablets, just
things like that, it was just so fantastic and enlightening. So
I will be traveling a lot.
KING: And obviously since they asked you to do this, Geri, they
must be -- the U.N. is pretty progressive, pretty aware that
people hold you in high regard, and a lot of women in the world
hold you in that -- give you that feeling. Do you think that
when you were a Spice Girl, and now, that you were a symbol?
HALLIWELL: I think -- you know, I'm just very honest about who I
am and what I feel, and, you know, I think I reflect, you know,
what -- how a lot of women feel today. Maybe they just identify
with me. That's all.
KING: Because someone said that two of the Spice Girls were with
child out of wedlock...
KING: ... do you think that hurts the image?
HALLIWELL: Oh, absolutely, I don't think there's any comparison.
You know, what I'm trying to -- is educate, which is prevention.
This is about pro-choice -- you know, contraception is about
pro-choice. And at the end of the day those girls are old enough
to make their own decisions, and they're in completely different
situations. We're talking about women in Third-World countries
that are having, you know, 10 babies because they haven't got
enough money to...
KING: No, but you don't think it hurts the image of -- that was
projected for so long, of for young women?
HALLIWELL: Not really.
KING: OK. That's fair. New York City -- hello.
CALLER: Hi. I was just wondering, Geri, if your U.N. thing
doesn't work out, or your record deal, would you ever consider
going back to the Spice Girls?
KING: How old are you caller? Caller?
CALLER: Yes, I'm 15.
HALLIWELL: You're 15. Hello. That's a very interesting question,
you know, and I'm very optimistic, and I -- I'm going to do my
best with this U.N. job, and, you know -- and try and really
make it work, and hopefully, you know, my solo career will make
it work, and, you know, sometimes you have to move on and go
forward. I, you know -- I don't really think that I'd go back to
the Spice Girls, but you can never say never, but... KING: As we
HALLIWELL: I don't -- as -- at the moment, I don't think so.
KING: I would say the betting is nil. We'll come back with our
-- more moments with Geri Halliway -- Halliwell, the United
Nations' goodwill ambassador, the former Ginger Spice. This is
Larry -- well, she's still Ginger -- the former -- we'll be
right back. Don't go away.
Bell Plains. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry. I have a question for Ginger Spice.
KING: Go ahead.
CALLER: I wanted to ask ginger if she still talks to the other
Spice Girls, and what she thinks about their great U.S. tour.
HALLIWELL: I think the Spice Girls worked very, very hard, you
know, going through America. I have spoken to Victoria over the
HALLIWELL: And I think, you know, well done -- I actually do
envy the girls going through America. That's something I would
like to do maybe next time, maybe next year.
KING: Geri, do you miss anything about being with them? I don't
want to get into why it broke up. That's your business, not my
KING: But are there things you miss?
HALLIWELL: Obviously, I would have loved to do the American
tour. That would have been really nice, to get -- because I have
only really experienced L.A. and New York. So I don't think
that's the real sense of America. I mean, there's 51 states and
I really would like to take that all in and meet all of those
different kinds of people, because I think individually they're
like separate countries almost. And, obviously, I didn't do
Wembley Stadium. That would have been quite nice, but...
HALLIWELL: Yes. Orlando, hello.
CALLER: Even though you have left the Spice Girls, are you still
going to carry your message to the U.N.?
HALLIWELL: Absolutely. I think I am taking this one step
further, you know, I was the -- said to be the evangelist of
"girl power." You know, this is just empowerment of
women, really. We're talking about reproductive health care.
That's about contraception, and so it's just a more grown-up
version of that.
KING: Why do you think -- this is just a microcosm tonight --
why do you think younger girls liked you so well?
HALLIWELL: I think, the Spice Girls are very animated, very
digestible. And I remember when I was young, I had madonna. I
think everybody likes somebody to look up to, and copy, and sing
along to. So, it's very natural.
KING: You're not surprised at that, then?
HALLIWELL: Not really. You want something to connect with, don't
you? I think there wasn't very many girl groups out at the time.
And you know, we just had a lot of energy.
KING: Yes. Toronto, hello.
CALLER: Hello, Geri.
CALLER: Hi. I am a really big fan of yours. And I was just
wondering, when you publicly announced the breakup from the
Spice Girls, did the media react to it the way you thought it
would or did you expect a more discreet or elaborate reaction?
HALLIWELL: I have to say I was very surprised at the media
KING: In what way?
HALLIWELL: I just couldn't believe the interest and the big
outcry. Anyone would think -- I don't know -- someone a bit more
KING: Are you saying that the group was larger than you thought
KING: The story was bigger.
HALLIWELL: Believe me. I didn't think my departure was that big
of a deal that it was. The news coverage that it got, really did
surprise me. I saw it on Sky (ph) every 15 minutes.
KING: In retrospect, why do you think it was that big?
HALLIWELL: Maybe there was nothing else on the news that day. I
don't know. Who knows.
KING: Are you anxious to get out working again? HALLIWELL: Oh, I
mean, to be honest, I have been working the last few months. I
have, you know, been regrouping. I have been working alongside
the heads of cancer charities in America and Britain, so I
haven't been sitting on my back side completely.
KING: And finally, what about marriage?
HALLIWELL: About marriage? Are you proposing, Larry? You're just
gotten married and having a child, congratulations.
KING: Thank you, thank you.
KING: What about you?
HALLIWELL: About me? I am young, free and single at the moment.
Why? Did you hear a rumor?
KING: Thank you very much, Geri.
HALLIWELL: Thank you very much, and hello America.
KING: Congratulations. Geri Halliwell, the former Spice Girl,
her first appearance on television since assuming the role of
U.N. Goodwill Ambassador.
I am Larry King in Los Angeles