"I'm young free and single!"

from Smash Hits May 5 1999

The interview they all wanted

...but Geri wants to mingle with Planet Pop again! Nearly a year after her traumatic split
from the Spice Girls, Geri tells Smash Hits about her dog, her legs, her knickers and the
rest of her life...

"I can only describe it like a boyfriend and girlfriend," husks Geri no-longer-a-Spice-Girl, sitting in an
incredibly posh 'gentleman's' club in London's trendy Mayfair. "When you split up, as much as you might
care deep down about the other person, you want time to lick your wounds and feel balanced again. That's
where me and the Spice Girls are at the moment."

A lot has happened since Geri abruptly cleared off during the Spice Girls' world tour last year, blaming
"differences between us". She hung out in the South of France with George Michael, became a
spokeswoman for the United Nations - oh, and made an album, Schizophrenic, of which she's incredibly

Settling down for her first Smash Hits chat in over a year, Geri looks ace (and very titchy, apart from her
famous bosom). She's wearing coppery-blonde hair extensions, a pink jumper, grey trews and flat, little
black shoes, all bought from "a shop in America". The funereal garb she sported straight after the Spice
Girls has gone - "I wore it because I was in mourning," she explains.

Before the interview starts, Geri wants the gossip. "Who are Five snogging?" she enquires. "Rich is going
out with Billie? Oh, that's nice. They've got matching smiles." But what's the gossip on her?

There was a very big deal about you totally changing your Image...
It was all a reaction to the Spice Girls, but I was changing anyway. When I was offstage my clothing was
getting more subtle. It was also a practical thing. It's quite liberating to wear no make-up. Sometimes I
think we hide behind our roles, and Ginger had become a caricature. You get up in the morning, you don't
like your own face, so you hide behind mountains of blusher. I think we all do it.

Did you feel that what you'd become in the Spice Girls wasn't something you wanted to be?
Well, Ginger was always a part of me. I bought platform shoes - original Mary Quant ones - when I was
about 18. She was completely real, but I just grew out of her. I look back and smile at the clothes that I
wore. I had a lot of fun in it. You know - it was hardly dull!

What is your favourite memory of that time?
The first Smash Hits Poll Winners' Party really sticks in my mind, where I wore this spangly green dress
and I was high-kicking. I think I flashed my knickers by mistake, just for a change. There are loads - what
can I say? The Brits was a great moment in my life... and meeting Nelson Mandela, obviously. But even
after I left the Spice Girls, the adventure continued. I had a rollercoaster ride of emotions. First of all, my
adrenalin was pumping and I felt like I was on a mission - one, to get my feet back on the ground and two,
to get my soul nourished again. I needed to get back in touch with reality, almost.

You were seen carrying a lot of self-help books around...
(Laughs) Well, that picture was a bit of a joke, but I've always read those kinds of books. I haven't always
had very strong parental guidance, so it's good to turn to them.

There ware rumours that you got turned down for a part in Charlie's Angels...
Oh, that was such nonsense. I never saw anyone from that film - it was completely made up. I would like
to do acting, but it's got to be the right thing. And the thing is (proudly) in my video I am acting my little
socks off. There are tears in it... I made myself cry. (Takes a sip of tea.) So I was very pleased about that.
Anyway, go on.

What sort of advice did George Michael give you?
He told me to take it easy - to slow down and not to rush, because I was a bit of a headless chicken. We
originally met at the Capital Radio Awards, and after that we became telephone buddies. We never really
hung out, but after I'd left the Spice Girls had nowhere to go - I was living abroad and I was really,
desperately lonely. Then George phoned up and left a message saying, 'Come and stay with me for a few
days' and I ended up staying for a few months, so beware if you ever invite me to your house!

One evening, while you were staying at his place, you went out for dinner with Victoria and
David. Was that quite a strange night?

(Big pause.) Victoria and David were staying up the road and I just thought, 'I can't not ring them up and
meet them.' We invited them out and it was nice, really, but since then I've just given them all space -
there needs to be some space and time between us.

What did you think of Goodbye? It was about you, to an extent...
Well, I was there when we wrote that song. It was originally about Dunblane. I had planned to leave the
Spice Girls at the end of September, after the Wembley Stadium gig - I didn't want to leave when I did.
That song was written about 18 months before that, so in my mind it was a goodbye for that concert. Of
course, I think they rewrote some of the stuff and it was very flattering. Maybe it was therapeutic for them
to write it about me. It was nice. I felt quite tearful when I heard it, actually.

Geri: Ten Things You Never Knew!
1.She's mates with the nuns who live
next door to her. "They're very, very
2.The last things she bought were a
kite and a watergun.
3.Geri realised she should be a pop
star again when she saw Dr Fox on
telly saying that pop's what she's
best at.
4.She'd like to compare notes with
Robbie Williams, since he's been
through a similar experience.
5.Prince Charles, Geri claims, is "very
human and funny".
6.Geri's about to front a campaign to
raise awareness about world
overpopulation called Six Billion And
7.She has a room in her house filled
with toys. "I'm a big kid at heart,"
Geri smiles.
8.She likes Steps. "I think the girls'
faces show great characters. They
look like they're kind."
9.When in her car, Geri listens to
Fatboy Slim, Robbie, Ladysmith
Black Mambazo, opera and old
vampy singer Julie London.
10.Harry doesn't get on very well with
Hippy, George Michael's dog. "They
bark at each other a bit, as dogs


It's clear that Geri's still upset by the split. She tells us that she finally decided to quit after someone in
the Spice organisation prevented her from doing an interview about breast cancer awareness because the
Spice schedule wouldn't allow it. She admits that she cried the evening of the Wembley Stadium concert.
Of course, the Spice Girls continued without her - and when Smash Hits asks what she thought about Mel
C telling us before Christmas that it felt to her as though Geri had never been in the Spice Girls, Geri looks
incredibly hurt. After a sigh, she says, "You know, in a way I'm glad I kept my mouth shut when I left the
Spice Girls, because when you're tired and emotional you say things you don't mean. I won't really take
that on board because I'm sure she wouldn't mean to say anything hurtful towards me. Of course it hurts,
but... Mel C's actually a very nice girl and I'm sure she wouldn't mean it nastily."

If you were to get married, would you invite the Spice Girls?
That's really difficult to say. (Geri wasn't invited to Mel G's nuptials.) Whatever happens, the Spice Girls
and I have got something massive in common. We went though a big adventure together and I'd like to
think that we'll be friends, whether it be in five years' time or ten. And who knows when I'm gonna get
married, anyway.

Are you single at the moment?
Yes I am. But I have to say I'm looking. I'm young, free and single but I want to mingle.

Do you get chatted up a lot these days?
No, I don't get the opportunity to be chatted up enough, but I do like being chatted up. I like flirting - it's fun
and it's harmless.

What American city would you name your first child after?
I think I'd have to name my first child something rather sensible and straight. (Joking) I'll call my kids Jane
and John. It is funny that everyone goes for these unusual names, but everyone's individual. But what
happens if you conceive your child in Bognor?

Bognor Halliwell's got a kind of ring...
Yeah, but at the moment I don't have anyone to conceive it with, so I think it's a bit premature.

The only fella in Geri's life at the moment is Harry, her ickle Shih Tzu. "I was quite a lonely girl last
autumn," she admits, "and for those gaps in your day when you want somebody to love, Harry came into
my life and filled it. It was just so nice to have somebody to cuddle." Sniffle!

"He loves me unconditionally," she continues. "No matter what mood I'm in, he always jumps up and gives
me a kiss." Geri admits that she took him to loads of public functions "because I didn't want him to leave
my side", but now she leaves him to run around in her enormous garden. "It's a little bit kinder."

You were quoted recently as saying you've got hairy legs.
(Flashes a very unhairy leg.) I actually said that in the winter I don't shave them. I've got quite fine hair,
anyway. I don't shave my legs; I put hair-remover on them now that summer's here. There's nothing wrong
in having hair. German and French people like armpit hair. Whatever's your bag, baby.

Where do you buy your knickers?
Everywhere from Marks & Spencer to... I bought some knickers yesterday from Harvey Nichols, but they
were a bit expensive. If you think about what you get. They're frilly, though.

Will we ever see your bosoms again?
(Low and flirty) I'm sure you will. (Reconsidering) I think everybody's seen enough of my bosoms, haven't
they? Erm, that's a very interesting question. What do you mean - the full monty? In my video you see a
little bit of cleavage... there's still a vampy side to everyone. Sometimes I just want to say, 'Here's my
balcony' (French for cleavage). I think you should be proud of your figure, whatever shape or size it is. But
sometimes it's good to put them away. You should never rely on your exterior. After five minutes, a great
figure is not going to carry you through life. It might make people stare at you, but that's about it.

Now you've gone it alone, do you think you've got more girl power?
I think it's more of a real power: it's woman power. I'd be a liar to say I'm not afraid. Part of me thinks, 'Oh,
I hope it turns out all right,' because nothing is guaranteed. Then another part of me thinks I'm growing. I
didn't want to chuck out a novelty record on the back of me leaving the Spice Girls. I want people to buy
my music because it's good - there's heart and soul in there and it's got imagination. I've written music
that hopefully Spice Girls fans will love, because I contributed massively to that writing. What I gave to the
Spice Girls I've taken with me and expanded. It's just like another adventure, and I want people to join my
adventure again. There's always another mountain to climb. You have to have adversity and pain in your
life, because that makes you grow.