An NHS worker was one of the original Spice Girls, before she was replaced by Victoria Beckham.
Aged 18, Mel Coloma responded to an advert in The Stage magazine looking for singers and dancers, and management formed a girl group called Touch 27.
Despite learning choreography from future Scary Spice Melanie Brown, management told Coloma her voice was ‘too strong’, and she later found out she had been replaced by Posh Spice Victoria Adams – now married to former footballer David Beckham.
It was only when Wannabe was released two years later that Coloma realised how close she came to being in one of the world’s most successful pop groups.
“I thought the song was terrible – but I’d have sung the Hokey Cokey if I thought it would have made me a millionaire,” she told The Mirror.
Coloma, now 46, works as a hospital worker in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, where she lives with her husband and two children.
She continues to sing, albeit as a performer on cruise ships, and with her brother Warren in a pub band called The Decanters.
Coloma said: “In a different life I could have been married to a footballer, dressed in designer clothes and jetted all over the world.”
And while she sometimes wanted to trade places, she came to accept the Spice Girls were picked for images, not voices.
“I’ve had a very happy life and been blessed with a wonderful husband and two lovely children, so I try not to dwell on what might have been,” she added.
Spice Girls celebrated the 25th anniversary of the release of Wannabe, the best-selling single by a girl group ever, on Thursday.