Spice Girl Mel B

Posted by Dean Piper On March 15th, 2009

Being part of the Spice Girls Mel B was used to performing to sell out crowds all around the world. But now that she’s the headline name in Peepshow, a new show in Las Vegas at the Planet Hollywood hotel, it’s fair to say she’s excited but nervous at the same time.
In fact mum-of-two Mel, 33, is feeling the pressure under the spotlight so much that she’s decided to get hypnotised to stop her fears and anxiety of being on the stage. “I’m getting Hypnosis to combat any self doubt I have,” the Closer Magazine Columnist reveals. “I’m seeing a guy called Anthony Cool who performs a show at Vegas too. I’m doing this so that just in case any self-doubt does come into my brain then it’s gone immediately. You know, like I can’t remember the lyrics or the moves. He’s going to hypnotise me as soon as I get there. People get hypnotised to stop eating burgers or to quit smoking all the time out here in America.
“My friend who’s in AA got clean and sober would get embarrassed when anybody went to talk to him – he’d go bright red. He was hypnotised to get rid of that!”
Mel moved to Sin City last week to start her four-month run in the Peepshow production. In the show she’ll be singing, dancing and acting for packed audiences every night. And it sounds like there will be some Spicey guests popping by to see her perform throughout her run. She says: “I’ve invited all the Spice Girls to come to see the show – Mel C might not make it now she has a baby but the rest all have an invite. I hope they do come and see it. Bette Midler’s coming on the first night too!”
It’s clear from spending time to her that all the girls are still close. And Mel admits she’ll always be Scary Spice. “Scary Spice hasn’t left me at all – I’ll always be a Spice Girl,” she says. “There’ll never be another gig though. We said right from the start before the last tour that this was the final act for us – and it is. We won’t do the Cher thing in the future and come back. I mean Victoria doesn’t want to sing, Geri’s not sure whether she wants to sing again. We’ve all moved on.”
Compared to Victoria Beckham Mel’s able to live a pretty normal life in LA – without paparazzi stalking her everywhere she goes. But does she wish she had the Victoria’s fame and notoriety? “I think each to their own – I’m happy with my life and she’s happy with hers,” she says deadpan. “She’s very happy. Different people, different lives.”
The big move to Vegas hasn’t just been about her own career – she’s moving hubby Stephen (pronounced Stefan) and kids Phoenix, 10, and Angel, two, with her. But unlike some stars Mel’s fully hands on as a mother despite her celeb status. She explains: “I juggle motherhood easily and I don’t have a team of assistants and nannies. I take my kids to school in the morning, have the morning of doing what I have to do and then I’ll pick them up from school. I don’t find it hard to juggle. I think it’s important to be involved in your kid’s life on a day-to-day basis. That’s why you have them. I wouldn’t want to have had my kids and then not been around to be with them growing up. If you don’t get involved then you’re not going to have a close intimate bond with them. It’s worth being hands on because then the kids will listen to you and they will respect you because you put the time in. Kid’s need guidance and routine.
And with Las Vegas it’s all about balancing her family life with her work life. She adds: “My schedule works around my family life – not the other way round. I’d die if I did that. My kids go to bed at 7.30 anyway so I can do what I need to do afterwards and I’m always there to put them to bed. That was the important thing about the Vegas job. I put them to bed and then go off to work.”
Mel, who says she has an “incredibly strong” connection with Phoenix, also admits to being a strict mum – she’s only just allowed Phoenix to get a mobile phone. “I’m a very strict mother,” the star admits. “I’m sure I’m going to get some sort of payback when Phoenix turns into a teenager. If she’s anything like I was then I’ll be in for quite a ride. I was a big hand full so I’m expecting it to be hard. But I’ve worked hard and hope it won’t be too bad. I am a very strict mum. Phoenix has chores to do and I make sure that Angel tidies up after herself even now. I want her to learn responsibility early. My kids are loved – but not spoilt. They won’t end up some Hollywood child down the mall using mum’s credit card.
“I’ve just got Phoenix her first pay as you go phone – so if she does her chores and is good then she gets pocket money and she can afford to top up her phone. Giving her a cell phone is a huge deal. She is young! I didn’t get one until I was frigging 18 year old and it was the size of a brick!”
I ask Mel whether we can expect another Spice Baby to arrive sometime soon – from her. In her deep Leeds accent, which hasn’t softened an inch despite living out in LA for near to eight years, she says: “I’ve got two now but I definitely don’t want another one for two or three years. I don’t have a plan. But there won’t be an accident as I’ve got a coil fitted! Ha ha! I’m definitely going to have more though – and you can always fine time to have kids. It’s not because I’m busy or anything. Children are the most welcome addition to my life and it’ll be great to have kids with my husband.”
And it seems Mel and Stephen couldn’t be happier despite marrying quickly in a Las Vegas ceremony after just a few weeks of dating in August 2007. As well as producing films it seems Stephen is a big part of the Mel B machine. He’s involved in every contract she signs and negotiates her business deals too – but she’ll obviously have the final say on whether she’s happy with everything. Mel explains: “Everything I do I make sure I understand the contracts. It’s important. In the old days with the girls we were always very hands on. I wasn’t the contract girl in the band. I tried to make sure we all enjoyed it like a unit. Victoria was the businesswoman. She explained it to us all.
“And now I have my husband who does all that and makes sure everything’s sorted. I love him being in charge of things in my work life. I read everything once and if there’s anything I don’t like then I’ll change it or make a point of bringing something I’m not happy with up. He did my Vegas deal so I can sell my work out DVD in the hotel store and my underwear – that’s all stuff I wouldn’t have thought of.”
But Mel doesn’t find it hard to be working and playing with her hubby 24 hours a day. She adds: “Why would I want to get a manager that I’d have to give 20 per cent of everything I earn too? This way I don’t have to give him anything! He gets me – that’s what he gets!
“As a couple we are kind of busy during the day doing our own thing and working hard and then we’ll get together in the evening. And once a week we have date night – our own night out where we’ll go for a romantic meal. We’ll have a lot of three-way conversations too during the day about work with lawyers or agents too. It’s great to work with someone you’re married too. And I can scream at him too! Because we are so close it never gets to the screaming and walking out thing – we just know how we both tick and we can push each other’s buttons. It was a natural organic thing that happened when we got married.”
One thing’s for sure, Mel is happy as can be living in America. She works out every day at Barry’s Bootcamp classes – high-energy weight and cardio workouts where an instructor screams at you like an army bootcamp – and she loves the outdoor lifestyle that she’s able to have through living in California. “We can be at the beach in 20 minutes or snowboarding within an hour,” she says. “ LA has the best of both worlds. It’s perfect for the kids. I don’t miss the rain and cloud in Leeds but Leeds is full of good heart – that is what I miss. Good people.”
And with such a healthy day-to-day lifestyle Mel feels no fear about ageing – especially in LA, the world’s capital of plastic surgery. “I don’t worry about ageing at all,” she says. “I wear sunscreen and don’t bake my skin too much. I think if you look after yourself then ageing shouldn’t be a worry. I live a healthy lifestyle. I eat well and work out so I’m good to my body and I hope it will keep being good to me. I don’t want to have a truckload of surgery and not recognise who I am.” With that Leeds accent there’s no doubt of that, Mel!