From spearheading Girl Power, landing No. 1s on both sides of the Atlantic, launching a solo career, penning books, and enjoying a front-row seat for Formula One, Spice Girl Geri Halliwell has lived a life less ordinary.
Halliwell, or “Ginger” to generations of pop music fans, stopped by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to promote her new book, chat about her love of Americans’ can-do attitude, and talk us through where it all took off for her — with the Spice Girls.
As a member of the pioneering British girl group, Halliwell and her bandmates were a phenomenon, one that spawned a feature film, every type of imaginable merch, and hits – including nine No. 1 songs in the U.K. and a four-week stint at the summit of the Billboard Hot 100 with “Wannabe,” at the start of 1997.
Speaking with Fallon on Tuesday night’s episode (Oct. 3), Halliwell confirmed she actually missed the audition for what was to become Spice Girls (she was climbing a mountain, got sunburnt, phoned weeks later and still got the gig). Also, she admitted the name Spice Girls came to her in an exercise class in the 1990s, though the name Ginger, “some magazine made it up.” And, yes, before they became Simon Fuller’s Spice Girls, the project was briefly called Touch.
The iconic Union Jack dress that she wore on stage at the 1997 Brit Awards was a Gucci, which she altered with a tea towel. And those flashy red boots, she told Fallon, were juiced-up with spray-on car wax, an idea from the mind of her mechanic dad.
Geri has a place in her heart for the U.S. “I don’t think I’d be as successful as I was, and I have been, if it wasn’t for America. You say, ‘you can do it.’” And she did it. After leaving Spice World, Halliwell went solo. During a stretch from 1999 to 2001, she enjoyed four consecutive No. 1s in the U.K., including her cover of The Weather Girls’ “It’s Raining Men,” which appeared on the soundtrack for Bridget Jones’s Diary.
Spice Girls reunited last year to cerebrate Geri’s 50th birthday, an event that doubled-up as the 25th anniversary of their sophomore album Spiceworld, released back in 1997. There’s no talk, however, on the famous five hitting the studio or the road anytime soon.
These days, Halliwell is a happily married mom, and familiar to millions of sports fans through her husband Christian Horner, principal of Red Bull Racing, and the Netflix series Formula One: Drive to Survive, in which they regularly appear.
Watch the interview below.