This is Y Magazine 2020

Page 14


YO R K S H I R E S P I C E Leeds lass Mel B recently returned from the bright lights of LA to her beloved county of Yorkshire. Carolyn Nicoll found out more from the not so Scary Spice about country life, behind the scenes with the Spice Girls and what she really, really wants. Interview Carolyn Nicoll Picture Ben Riggott

It’s wonderful to be living back in Yorkshire. I returned to the UK from America to rehearse for the Spice Girls tour last year and of course popped up to Leeds to stay with Mum. I realised then that this is where I want to be with my daughters. It’s a place I know and feel at ease, my sister has had a baby and my extended family are all here and I’d missed HP Sauce. My schedule is a busy one and shows no signs of slowing down, but living in the Yorkshire countryside, with the Dales on my doorstep, is a real joy and allows me to relax and take time for myself. Being surrounded by fields of sheep, rolling hills and just watching the bees buzzing around is a real contrast to the madness and hectic pace of my professional life. Chickens may be on the imminent agenda too, my mum’s keen for me to get some. I have Cookie, a Yorkipoo... what else! I’ve never had a tiny dog before and a friend surprised me by getting a puppy for Madison, my youngest daughter. I’ve fallen madly in love with her. Cookie goes everywhere with me, she was part of my Brutally Honest theatre show (based on my book), that of course kicked off in Leeds. I even took her on the Spice Girls tour with me. Victoria wasn’t there this time and so Cookie became the fifth Spice Girl, she was easier to look after than Victoria and cheaper too (laughs).


The Spice Girls are like a family and are all incredibly special to me. Melanie C is wonderful and the most organised and Emma is sweet, with a cheeky side. Not too long ago I spent the weekend at Geri’s gorgeous country pad and we went to the Grand Prix and had a fantastic time. Geri’s husband, Christian Horner, is Team Principal of the Red Bull Racing Formula One team and Geri’s been trying to get me to go for ages. It was a blast! I’m really hoping that all the Spice Girls will get together again and it would be a dream come true to perform at Glastonbury in 2020 for the festival’s 50th anniversary. My parents both instilled into me a great work ethic, setting an excellent example themselves to get out of bed whatever the weather and to get out there and provide for your family. It’s what I have always done and will continue to do. Mum and Dad’s hard work and dedication allowed my sister Danielle and I to take dance, singing and drama lessons at local classes in Leeds and to follow our dreams. It wasn’t always easy, growing up on a Yorkshire council estate as mixed-race children but having encouraging parents helped me to succeed. Although when I was growing up, Dad could be quite strict at times. I distinctly remember that nobody was allowed to talk, especially when Emmerdale was on the TV.

I’m incredibly proud and love my three beautiful daughters. My eldest, Phoenix, was born in London, but my two youngest, Angel and Madison, were both born in California. When we came to the UK for the Spice Girls Tour last year and visited Leeds, Angel looked at me and in her American accent said “Our family’s here. Let’s stay!” So I got straight on to looking at Yorkshire schools, her dad (Eddie Murphy) gave the move his thumbs up and here we are. Phoenix is doing great work with a Yorkshire charity. It’s just wonderful to be back home, surrounded by beautiful Yorkshire countryside and a loving family. Being the new team captain on Celebrity Juice is so much fun and I love working with Keith Lemon. There’s just a couple of years between us (he’s older of course) and we both grew up in Leeds. Leeds will always be me. I won’t lose my accent. I’ll say things as it is. I’m 44 years old and I’m back with my family, just where I want to be...I’m in a good place. What I really want is to stay on track, have good mental health, a happy family life in Yorkshire and to carry on working and doing what I love, making music, to get back in the studio and to do my own stuff too. Perhaps Stormzy would be up for a collaboration? For the Spice Girls to play at Glastonbury would be amazing...and perhaps I’ll get those chickens too!