Exclusive | Melanie C on awkward encounter with Madonna and why she's 'stopped seeing gender'

Sporty Spice got well and truly ‘Hung Up’ on Madge during a showbiz snafu…


Words: Thomas Stichbury

As one fifth of Britain’s biggest-selling girl band, Melanie C has rubbed shoulders with some of the shiniest A-list stars – but all she wanted to do was ‘Holler’ for help during an awkward encounter with Madonna.

In an exclusive catch-up with Attitude, Sporty Spice told us her most embarrassing showbiz moment took place when she crossed the (Border)line and somehow got tangled up in the Queen of Pop’s dress.

“She did a documentary [of] one of her tours – it was a long time ago now – and I went to the after-show [party] after the screening. I was actually going on tour the next day, so I had to leave early, but I didn’t want to go without saying thank you for the invite,” Melanie recalls.

“She had on this amazing dress, all crystals, it was incredible. I had a bracelet on and got stuck to it,” she exclaims. “After I said goodbye to her, it took me a little while to unpick myself, but she ignored it.”

“She didn’t even go, ‘Whoops!’ or anything, she just carried on talking to someone else as I unpicked myself from her Swarovski dress. She pretended it wasn’t happening and I was like, ‘F***, f***, f***!’ You know when you’re just fingers and thumbs?!”

We wouldn’t ‘Wannabe’ in her shoes, that’s for sure.

Last year, Melanie reunited with the rest of the Spice Girls (minus VB *sob*) for a sold out and totally or-gay-smic UK tour – good news, they’re not done spicing up our lives.

“I think we all would like to do more shows – some more shows than others, but it’s a constant dialogue,” she reveals. “Last year was just incredible and to think of us not doing that again breaks my heart.”

If the ladies were to be joined by an honorary fifth member, the singer knows which famous super-fan they’d tap up. “It has to be Adele, doesn’t it? She’s top of the pile. She’d have to be Vocal Spice. The one with the pipes, let’s be honest,” she laughs.

As for rumours of a possible Spice World sequel – we’re still fumin’ that the original wasn’t nominated for any Oscars – Melanie, 46, isn’t so sure. “That would be fun,” she begins, adding: “[But] I don’t know if I want to see my face on a big screen at this age.”

Two decades on from her acclaimed solo debut, Northern Star, Melanie is back with a new self-titled album (out 2 October). Spearheaded by anthemic lead single ‘Who I Am’, the music icon says she is in a very confident place.

“Having a self-titled album, I think, is a huge responsibility. I’ve definitely never been ready to take that step [before]. I’m sure it’s a lot to do with my age and my experiences,” she explains.

“Last year was a massive moment for me to just realise how f***ing amazing I am. We don’t do that enough. We don’t go, wow, look at what I’ve achieved, not only the good stuff, but the really hard stuff. Look at the s*** I’ve got through.”

Reflecting on her rich career, Melanie cherry-picks her recent Pride tour with Sink the Pink as being the most formative, on and off stage.

“I get really emotional when I talk about it,” she adds. “I worked so closely with drag queens, non-binary people, lots of queer people from the LGBTQ+ community. I’d never had that insight into the lives of these people, how they’d grown up and some of the challenges they’d had to face.”

“It just had this really profound effect on me… I had this moment where I actually did stop seeing gender… It was amazing to start seeing people as humans and as souls and as spirits and to not identify with, whether it be, their gender or their race or their sexual orientation.”

Some might say that Melanie will 'Never Be the Same Again’…

Melanie C's new album, Melanie C, is out on 2 October. For tickets to Melanie C’s upcoming May 2021 European tour, visit melaniec.net.