Asked to star in a lingerie and swimwear shoot, Mel B decided to enlist daughter Phoenix Brown, 24, and mum Andrea Brown, 65, to join her in front of the camera.
“I wanted it to be more of a family thing, because for 10 years I was in a horrible, very abusive marriage where I didn’t really get to see my family because I was very much isolated by my abuser,” says the singer, 48, who alleges ex-husband Stephen Belafonte physically and mentally abused her during the marriage – claims he strongly denies – which ended in 2017.
“It was really nice for me to have my mum there and my daughter there and for us to be doing something which is all about you as a woman feeling positive.”
To that end, the former Spice Girl, who is now engaged to hairdresser Rory McPhee, was adamant about how the Pour Moi campaign was edited: “I made sure there was no retouching, no airbrushing, because I wanted us to feel like we are representing ourselves in a really real and honest way.”
Born Melanie Brown, the mum of three – Phoenix, from her marriage to Spice Girls backing dancer Jimmy Gulzar; Angel, from her relationship with comedian Eddie Murphy; and Madison, whose father is Belafonte – says that her body confidence is now as high as it was during the Spice Girls era, when the release of Wannabe catapulted Scary Spice and bandmates to global fame.
“I’d already had Phoenix at that age. I was touring the world with my four best mates. We were just singing our music that we’d written, spreading around positivity and girl power,” says the Leeds-born star, who documented her career highs and relationship lows in 2018 memoir Brutally Honest.
“And then obviously I had a really dark time in my 10-year marriage where it was very abusive. I literally walked out of that relationship just so broken that it took me quite some time to rebuild myself back up both mentally and physically.
“I’ve gone through so much in my life. It’s only just now in the last few years that I really made a point of looking after my mind, my body, my soul.”
The singer, who recently told Sky News that a project involving all five Spice Girls is “going to be announced” soon, says that the end of the pandemic was a catalyst for a major health kick.
“Just like everybody I put on quite quite a bit of weight [during lockdown], and I decided at the start of this year that I was really going to look after myself.
“I changed my workouts and started doing more weights, and taking my lovely dog for walks, and slowly but surely I lost the weight.”
Not that it was all about looks, however. Meditating every morning, getting to bed by 9pm and drinking plenty of water helped the singer “feel so much more alert” – without going on an extreme diet.
“I was really focused on eating healthy, but still having my roast dinners on a Sunday. And if I have a craving for chocolate or whatever I’ll have that within moderation, so I’m really thoughtful and kind to myself.”
Sharing her wellbeing and fitness efforts with her 1.5m Instagram followers, the Women’s Aid patron – she was awarded an MBE last year for services to charitable causes and vulnerable women, and a portion of the lingerie campaign profits will go to the charity – tries to avoid comparing herself to other celebrities.
“I don’t really pay too much attention to that, because there’s always going to be pitfalls and you’re always gonna get sucked into, ‘Oh I should be looking like this’, or ‘I should be looking like that’,” she says.
“I just don’t really believe in that. I believe in just taking care of yourself and being the best version of yourself that you can be.”
It’s a philosophy she’s tried to instill in her daughters: “[Phoenix] doesn’t go on juicing or diets or fad this or fad that. She’s very confident in the way that she looks.
“She knows that she doesn’t look like everybody else and she really embraces that. Just like all my kids do. Just like how I was brought up – to love the skin that you’re in.”
The other thing Phoenix has inherited? A incredible Nineties fashion archive.
“I’ve still got quite a lot my wardrobe from back in the Spice Girls days and it still fits right now, which is great,” Mel B says.
“My daughter says my wardrobe’s vintage, that’s why she loves coming home and rummaging through it. I see [my clothes] on her Instagram and I’ll go ‘Right, you’re giving me that back, and that back…’”
Describing her own style as “old school”, she says: “I like Jean Paul Gaultier and Vivienne Westwood. But then I like to mix and match my stuff with high street and with designer.
“I’m all about mix matching and regurgitating some of the old outfits with a bit of a tweak.”
Today, she’s in a casual top and shorts from Beyonce’s brand Ivy Park, but there’s still a hint of Scary Spice in her ensemble: “My underwear underneath is leopard print,” she says.
Own your confidence with Pour Moi lingerie, swimwear and beachwear. To shop Mel’s favourite confidence-boosting pieces visit PourMoi.co.uk/own-your-confidence.