Mel B is back in a big way, and if The Spice Girls were as big of a part of your childhood as they were ours, you freaked upon seeing her on our homepage this morning. A judge on America’s Got Talent (which airs tonight at 8pm) our childhood girl crush continues to bring fabulousness to the stage. We talked on all things Scary Spice, her fellow judges on AGT, memorable dinners with the most memorable girl band ever and of course, advice she’d give her younger self… besides “all you need is positivity”.
The New Potato: From start to finish what would be your ideal food day?
Mel B: Oh my God, let’s think. I think I would start in Paris at a nice champagne brunch at Café Marly at The Louvre. I’d have some rosé champagne. From there, I would probably go to Long Bay in Turks and Caicos, because there are some great restaurants there right on the beach. I would do high tea in London at The Dorchester, which is always great. And then from there I would do sushi in New York at Masa. They have a caviar roll that’s 500 bucks that my husband and I had to try. Who does that? (Laughs)
TNP: What’s a fashion mainstay that you haven’t changed since your Spice Girls days?
MB: I now wear leopard underneath my clothes rather than wearing leopard on top — just full-on leopard print. It’s always going to be a part of my life. I love it. I have leopard robes, but now I choose more leopard underwear.
TNP: What’s a cooking and food mainstay that hasn’t changed since those days?
MB: I’m not a very good cook because my husband is the best cook ever, but I’ve always cooked this one thing — I call it army slop, but it tastes amazing. It’s really simple: Ground turkey, peppers, onions, sweet corn and balsamic vinegar — that’s it. It’s so delicious and tasty but with hardly any calories. It just feeds the need.
TNP: How do you think the girl band thing has changed since the nineties?
MB: I don’t know if you could have a girl band now that stood by itself alone. We [The Spice Girls] put ourselves together, wrote our own music, styled ourselves, were our own voices, and that was it. It depends — some of the bands now are manufactured, some are put together on purpose for a delivery, and some are born out of reality shows. I think there’s room for all of it and I’m enjoying all of it. Things have definitely evolved — more reality, more streamline, I think.
TNP: What’s a really memorable moment from your Spice Girls days, or from your career in general?
MB: There are so many different things. I never thought that I’d ever be performing on Broadway [as Mimi in Rent] and I did. That to me was an eye-opener. It was a very New York moment – the “I’ve made it” kind of thing. Touring the world with the girls and going from Madison Square Garden, to Australia, to meeting Nelson Mandela — we had so many different things that happened in what seems like a relatively short space of time.
TNP: Do you still keep in touch with all of them?
MB: Yeah! I was just in London last week with them. They’re my best friends. I’ve known them twenty years.
TNP: How do you bring all of your experience from your Spice Girls days – and from your career as a whole – to being a judge on America’s Got Talent?
MB: Well, I did Broadway here in New York, I did theater in London, I’ve written my own music, I’ve produced my own music and I’ve produced my own shows. So, I think I bring a little bit of everything on every single level.
TNP: Speaking of America’s Got Talent, can you tell us something funny and unexpected about your fellow judges?
MB: I think what you see is what you get with them, pretty much. Howie [Mandel] is annoying, Heidi [Klum] is gorgeous but likes to join in on the axing stuff, and Howard [Stern] can be grumpy sometimes but he’s adorable.
TNP: What do you think separates the show from other talent and singing shows?
MB: I think it’s the only long-lasting variety show out there that’s still entertaining. We [the judges] get on like a house on fire. Outside of work, we actually do like each other.
TNP: Do you miss nineties style? Is it coming back?
MB: I mean I’d like to think nineties music is coming back. In actual fact I think it is, because I have a sixteen-year-old and we went to see a nineties musical — I can’t remember which — and my daughter knew every single song. I’m like, “This is so nineties. How do you know all these songs?” and she’s like, “Mom, nineties is back”. I was like, “Okay, does that mean I’m back?”. She’s like “Whatever, Mom”.
TNP: Was there a dinner from your Spice Girl days when you remember sitting there and just thinking, “I cannot believe I’m here”?
MB: Always. I think all of us have had to pinch ourselves. We landed in Japan and we heard our song on the radio and our label had just announced it was number one. Five girls that didn’t really fit in anywhere coming together and managing to hustle their way through stuff and spread music and joy to people — well hopefully joy — was a lot of fun.
TNP: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received and who was it from?
MB: Just be yourself. That’s the easiest thing to say but probably the hardest thing to do. And be comfortable, somewhat, being yourself.
TNP: And what advice would you give your younger self? Would it be the same thing?
MB: The same thing I’ve given my kids: Treat people how you like to be treated. And never feel like you need to be put in a box. You can do and be whomever you want in life. I shouldn’t say that to my eight-year-old too much because she’s already way out there! (Laughs)
*Mel B, photographed at The Gordon Bar in New York, NY by Danielle Kosann. Mel wears a Zara skirt, Alexander McQueen top and Stuart Weitzman shoes. Via thenewpotato.com