Even though they officially called time on the band back in 2000 (wow, how old do you feel having just read that?), the Spice Girls will still be viva forever in so many people's hearts - but the fivesome could've been oh so different. We all know that part of the group's mass appeal was that each band member - be it Sporty, Baby, Scary, Ginger or Posh - had a unique 'character', meaning fans could likely connect with at least one (if not all) of the singers.
But, Mel C just revealed in a recent BBC Radio 4 interview, things could have been so very different... as she almost didn't make it into the group due to illness. The disease in question? A nasty bout of tonsillitis - an infection that causes the tonsils at the back of the throat to become swollen and painful.
Mel told host Joe Wicks that back in 1994, when she was a dance student, she went along to an open audition for a girl group and aced it. "I [then] got a recall to see if I was able to sing," she says. "But a week later I became really ill with tonsillitis… I couldn’t even speak, let alone sing. I had my mum call the management and basically beg them to give me a little bit of time to get better."
Unfortunately for Mel, the Spice Girls' management team initially wouldn't budge. "They were like, 'Sorry, we’ve got the girls,'" says Mel, then adding that an exciting phone call came a couple of weeks later. "I got a call a couple of weeks later to say one of the girls hadn’t worked out and they’d like me to come back down and sing." Following that, the rest, as they say, is history.
During the interview, Mel also discussed how being in the spotlight and achieving such high levels of fame fuelled her body image and eating issues. "I’ve had an interesting journey with fitness and mental health and eating. Sadly, I had problems," she said to Joe. "During the time with the Spice Girls, things became obsessive, and I was spending a lot of time in the gym. I wasn’t fuelling the workouts I was doing [with food]. I got to a place where I just had to stop everything and relearn how to look after myself."
Speaking out now, Mel says she's so candid because she wants to spread a message of compassion and self-love to others. "We’re so hard on ourselves," she observes. "We’re never happy. We always want to change something. I don’t think we give ourselves enough credit."
We're so glad Mel is in a good place now (and that she made it into the band after all!).
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