I am absolutely one of the many women who loves the fact that the Spice Girls are back on the scene. Growing up I was a big music fan. My mum ran a music department in Cape Town in the early 90s and every Saturday would be spent looking through all the latest records from Rick Astley, Madonna and Prince. Even from a young age I gravitated towards music which had strong messages behind them.
I moved to Scotland in 1993 and a few years later while all my friends were obsessing over East 17 and Take That, it was another group who caught my attention. I remember watching GMTV one morning before school and there was a segment about a group of girls who were living in a big house together and who were being described as direct competition to Eternal, who were a big British girlband. I was really into fashion and I loved how fashionable these girls looked.
In July 1996 Wannabe was officially released in the UK. I remember the hype like it was yesterday. It was the week before my 12th birthday and my mum bought me the single as part of my birthday present. From then on in I owned every piece of music and merchandise that the Spice Girls released and I remember having a large poster on my bedroom wall which was a still from the 2 Become 1 video. The groups strong girl power and female empowerment message came at such an important time for me. A young black South African girl living in a new country in a small-ish city where the majority of people were white. I didn’t see many other girls with afro hair like mine, black skin like mine or even girls who were tomboys like me. I loved that the group were so relatable and that they wore what they wanted, were energetic and not media trained. They were all different shapes and sizes and all seemed so confident and their music empowered me, but also made me happy to be a young and made me love life.
At school discos my best friend, Jaclyn would always dress as Posh Spice as she was already a brunette (apart from the few periods where she would dye her hair crazy colours…another 90s trend), and I would dress as Scarey
As well as success through their music, it was their brand which really showed me how successful girls could be. They signed huge endorsements with Pepsi, Walkers, Impulse, Cadbury’s and Polaroid, making sure to share their girl power message throughout. They travelled to my home country and met Nelson Mandela and opened the doors for the next set of girlbands like All Saints, The Saturdays and Little Mix.
We talk about influencers and rise of Instagram but it was the Spice Girls who really started the influencer trend, you couldn’t walk into a shop or newsagents without seeing their faces on products or magazines. The Spice Girls have also just released their latest campaign with Walkers, 22 years since their first campaign together. The commercial is hilarious as you can see above.
As a now 34-year-old I can relate when people say that celebrities are role models. Although I don’t think that kids should automatically see celebrities as role models, there is a time and a place and having the Spice Girls around as a teenager definitely helped shaped my mindset for feminism, body confidence and friendship. I still have my old records and will be passing them on to Amber. Infact she already loves to talk about girl power, so we are on to a great start in raising a strong girl.
I’d love to hear how the 90s helped you :). Were you a Spice Girls fan?
*Sponsored Post with Walkers