Over two decades ago, five young, British women known as The Spice Girls—Victoria Adams, Melanie Brown, Melanie Chisholm, Geri Halliwell, and Emma Bunton–released their first single, “Wannabe.” The track, which was written in less than 30 minutes and recorded in one day, quickly topped the charts in England, the United States, and more countries around the world. The band became internationally known by their nicknames –Posh, Scary, Sporty, Ginger, and Baby. In 2014, a study declared “Wannabe” the most recognizable song in the world.
Today, “Wannabe” is as catchy as ever. So, for the song’s 21st anniversary on Friday, July 8th, we asked some of today’s brightest actors and actresses, from Stranger Things‘ Millie Bobby Brown to Big Little Lies‘ Nicole Kidman, to pay homage to the song–and reveal their favorite member of the Spice Girls.
Millie Bobby Brown:
“I’m obsessed with the Spice Girls. I like Sporty Spice and I usually was Sporty Spice, but I do have a soft, soft spot for Posh!”
“Well I think Mel B was for me, yeah. She did rock it man. She still does.”
“Ah, it would have to be Posh, right? She’s got an amazing life. I wore one of her dresses recently and I was, like, oh, this is heaven. It had the whole back out of it.”
“Baby Spice? Was that the blonde? Yeah, she was my favorite.”
“I feel like I might’ve just missed the boat on that. Like, I think I came to the Spice Girls a little late, but I remember being very enamored of Posh Spice. I liked her obsession with the little black dress. I thought it was very demure. Then she turns out to be a great designer.”
“The Spice Girls? I sort of missed out on that phase. The one that pops into my head is Baby Spice, but I don’t know why. I guess maybe I’m drawn to blondes, I don’t know.”
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“It was Baby Spice, now it’s Ginger. She’s just a bit more sassy. My mom’s got an amazing video, actually, of, of me and my brother when we were so, so, so small, and we’re dancing around to the Spice Girls. And I ask him which one he wants to be, and he says Sporty Spice.”
“I have to say the Spice Girls were – it wasn’t cool to, to like the Spice Girls when I was a kid. I had a tiny crush on Baby Spice, but that was a secret thing. She was the sweet one. Yeah, she was cute. Emma Bunton.”
:Of course, I’ve heard of the Spice Girls. But I don’t, I wasn’t really a fan.”
“Oh, god. Oh, all of them collectively. I couldn’t – I think I identified most with I’d say Posh.”
“I don’t – uh, I don’t have a favorite.”
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“In the show I play an abused woman, and I felt very exposed and deeply humiliated. I remember lying on the floor in the bathroom at the end of a difficult scene, and I wouldn’t get up between takes. I was just lying there, basically naked in half-torn underwear, and Jean-Marc Vallée [the director] would come over and place a towel over me. It was very hard.”
Kidman wears a Miu Miu dress and coat.
“As a girl, I was obsessed with the program 20/20—especially with the coanchor Hugh Downs. I thought I was going to marry Hugh Downs for a really long time. He was so dignified. Everything was going to be all right because Hugh Downs was going to tell you the important story you needed to know that Friday night. They just don’t do newsmen like him anymore.”
Marling wears a Prada dress.
“My first crush was Jessica Lange in Tootsie. I was maybe 8 or 9 when I first saw the movie, and I had never felt anything for a girl before that. I was just mesmerized by her. I watched the film over and over again because of Jessica Lange. I’m still not over her. Every time I meet someone, I compare her to Jessica Lange in Tootsie. That’s probably why I’m not married.”
Skarsgård wears a Cleverly Laundry robe; Schiesser Revival shirt.
“The Americans mostly takes place in the ’80s, during the Cold War. Anytime you’re wearing clothes that are unlike yours, it just heightens the moment. When I wear heels and silk shirts, slacks and blouses, it makes me feel like an adult. On the show, I wear a cat eye with black eyeliner, and it makes me feel like a panther. It’s so unlike me as Keri—this tired mom in flip-flops and jeans. And I love that transformation.”
Russell wears a Michael Kors Collection top; Philosophy briefs; Manolo Blahnik shoes; Louis Vuitton bracelet.
“For Homeland, I made an audition tape with a point-and-click camera and sent it in. The ratio was off. It was out of focus. I was also wearing the wrong thing, and I filmed it against a door that they later told me made it look like I was in a mental asylum. The producers were like, ‘Where the hell is this kid?!’ In the end, I did seven separate audition tapes of the same scene. They finally said yes.”
Friend wears an Hermès sweater; Sunspel boxers; his own ring and socks.
“I went to work on The Crown four months after giving birth. The queen didn’t wear a corset, but I did in the beginning. Now, in the second season, I have to wear a significantly padded brassiere. In the first season, it was all my own breast work, but now it’s ‘Ha! Where have they gone?’ The queen would be so ashamed of me.”
Foy wears a Louis Vuitton dress; Messika Paris bracelet.
“I usually get stopped in the U.K. before I board a plane. What’s funny is that Heathrow is in a heavily South Asian neighborhood, and the kids working at the airport are fans of mine. So while they’re swabbing me for explosives, they’re asking me for selfies. While they’re going through my underwear, they’re quoting my raps back at me. It’s quite a surreal experience that speaks to the insider/outsider status I’ve felt all my life.”
Ahmed wears a Bottega Veneta sweater; Jeffrey Rüdes pants.
“Even with the show, I still live at home in Liverpool. I can’t bring myself to leave just yet. My brother is 21 and he’s still at home, too. I said to my mom, ‘We’re going to be 30-, 40-odd years old and we’re still going to be living in the kids’ rooms.’ I’m hoping I will be able to leave the nest at some point.”
Comer wears a Marc Jacobs dress; Jennifer Meyer necklace; Larkspur & Hawk ring.
“During the screen test for Stranger Things, one of the directors came up to me and said, ‘Bzzz,’ over my head. He then asked, ‘Are you ready?’ I was like, ‘For what?’ And he said, ‘To cut all your hair off!’ The next day I got the job and I cut it. My hair was down to here, but it’s only hair. After that, I was called ‘boy’ a lot.”
Brown wears a Balenciaga dress and tights; Chanel shoes; Jennifer Meyer ring.
“I worked at McDonald’s for a few months, and I got a couple of dates from taking orders at the drive-through window. I was enrolled in an acting class, and I would practice different accents. I was really bad, but people believed me. A young lady would say, ‘Oh, I forgot to order the strawberry milkshake’ and ask me about my Italian or Irish or Brooklyn accent. We would go out on a date, go back to the McDonald’s parking lot, and make out. Eventually, I had to break it to them that I wasn’t Italian or Irish or from New York. The girls would usually end it right then and there.”
Franco wears a Prada shirt.
“In playing Albert Einstein, I found out that he was not the archetypal absentminded professor. He was an energetic, slightly rebellious, rakish, sort-of-bohemian poet. And he was quite amorous—he had many lovers. Einstein wasn’t exactly a ‘player,’ but he enjoyed women, and when his first marriage fell apart, he became what you would call a ladies’ man. He gave up on monogamy.”
Flynn wears a Calvin Klein Jeans Established 1978 jacket and pants.
“My dad, Stan Lathan, was one of the first black TV directors. He used to direct Sesame Street, and he blindfolded me once, and when he took the blindfold off, I was on the set. I got to meet Big Bird. It was my birthday, and the whole cast sang to me. That was the biggest thrill of my life.”
Lathan wears a Lanvin coat.
“I’m not a big crier. But family stuff gets to me. Fathers and brothers and children. If I wasn’t on This Is Us, I’d be a wet noodle watching the show. I’d be crying along with everyone else.”
Ventimiglia wears a Current/Elliott shirt; his own chain.