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Geraldine Estelle "Geri" Halliwell (born 6 August 1972) is an Englishmarker recording artist, author and philanthropist. After coming to international prominence as a member of the girl group, the Spice Girls, Halliwell launched her solo career and released her debut album Schizophonic. Since then she has released two more studio albums — Scream If You Wanna Go Faster and Passion — and four number one singles at the UK Singles Chart, "Mi Chico Latino", "Lift Me Up", "Bag It Up" and "It's Raining Men". In 2008 Halliwell published a book series named Ugenia Lavender.

Early life

Halliwell was born in Watfordmarker, Hertfordshiremarker England U.K to Laurence Francis Halliwell (1922-1993), who was of Englishmarker,Irishmarker/Italian descent, and his wife Ana María (née Hidalgo), who was of Spanishmarker descent from Huescamarker, Spain. She grew up on on a council estate in North Watfordmarker, Hertfordshiremarker. For a brief time, Halliwell's mother tried to bring her up as a Jehovah's Witness. Halliwell took her A-Levels at Camden School for Girlsmarker, obtaining an A-level in English at A grade standard, having taken her GCSEs at Watford Girls Grammar Schoolmarker. Before starting her music career, Halliwell had worked as a nightclub dancer in Majorcamarker, a model and presenter on the Turkishmarker version of Let's Make a Deal and as a glamour model. Following her rise to fame with the Spice Girls, nude photos of Halliwell were re-published in a number of top-shelf magazines in the UK, as well as in Playboy and Penthouse.

Career

1994—1998: Spice Girls

Geri first found fame as one of the five members of the girl group the Spice Girls, and was dubbed Ginger Spice by Top of the Pops magazine in 1996 because of her flaming red hair and sassy yet assertive attitude. Geri became renowned for wearing outrageous stage costumes and often garnered extensive publicity.

The group sold over 65 million records and are the best selling girl group of all time. Their debut single "Wannabe" became the first of nine number-ones in the United Kingdom and reached the top position in 41 countries around the globe, including Australia, Canada and the United States. Other successful releases followed, including "Say You'll Be There" and "2 Become 1" from Spice, and "Spice Up Your Life", "Too Much" and "Stop" from Spiceworld.

On 30 May 1998 Halliwell left the Spice Girls due to depression and differences between the group. The first official confirmation was an announcement to the media by her solicitor on 31 May. Her action aroused controversy, her former group being due to embark on a North American tour, which they eventually completed without her. Although she had already left the group, the Spice Girls released "Viva Forever", the final music video to feature Halliwell's likeness. After she left, the other girls co-wrote a few songs about her which appeared on their album: Forever, "Goodbye" and "Let Love Lead the Way".

1998—2005: Solo musical career

Shortly after leaving the Spice Girls, Halliwell appeared in a 90 minute documentary Geri for the British television channel Channel 4 by Molly Dineen. In 1999 Halliwell launched her solo career and released her debut album Schizophonic, with the lead single "Look at Me", produced by Absolute and Phil Bucknall. "Look at Me" would go on to sell over one million copies worldwide, followed by further number ones at the UK Singles Chart "Mi Chico Latino", "Lift Me Up" and "Bag It Up". Demonstrating her flair for shameless promotion, Halliwell performed "Bag It Up" during the BRIT Awards ceremony in 2000, emerging between giant inflatable legs, ripping off her shirt and walking in stiletto heels over the backs of topless pink-haired men whilst performing the song.

"Look at Me" was released to radio in the United States in late 1999, receiving limited airplay. With only a radio single, Schizophonic debuted at number forty-two on Billboard Hot 200 before dropping out within the next month. The album was eventually certified Gold, distributing over 500,000 copies. "Mi Chico Latino" did not have a big impact on Americanradio, and no further singles from Schizophonic or albums were released in the United States. Halliwell had a high-profile but short-lived relationship with Chris Evans during that time, and was also romantically linked to Robbie Williams. In 1999 she wrote an autobiography If Only, in which described her life as a Spice Girl.

In 2001 Halliwell followed up with her second album, Scream If You Wanna Go Faster. It also included her cover version of The Weather Girls' 1983 hit, "It's Raining Men", used on the Bridget Jones's Diary film soundtrack, and the video game, DDRMAX2 Dance Dance Revolution 7thMix. The song also won her the International Song of the Year award at the 2002 NRJ Music Awards. The song has been added to the album at the last minute, and another song "Feels Like Sex" had already been slated as the lead single. The singles that followed, "Scream If You Wanna Go Faster" and "Calling", reached, respectively, number eight and number seven in the United Kingdom. Halliwell even released a special French edition of the single, entitled "Au Nom de L'amour". Scream If You Wanna Go Faster was not released in the United States.

In 2002 Halliwell was featured alongside Pete Waterman and Louis Walsh as a judge on the television series Popstars: The rivals which created Girls Aloud. The following year she released her second autobiography, Just for the Record, detailing her rise to fame and her turbulent celebrity lifestyle. She has also released two Yoga DVDs with her yoga teacher Katy Appleton, Geri Yoga and Geri Body Yoga. In the United States Halliwell has also appeared as a judge on the reality programme All American Girl and as a guest reporter on celebrity-based series Extra. She has also made appearances in the television series Sex and the City and in the 2004 film Fat Slags, based on characters from Viz Magazine. In 2004, Halliwell appeared on channel Five as one of the hosts of the Party in the Park event for The Prince's Trust, the presenter and main performer of the Tickled Pink Girls' night in Live! event and an appearance in a documentary There's Something About Geri.

In late 2004, Halliwell made a return to music with the single "Ride It", which reached number four in the United Kingdom and number one on the dance charts. However, several months elapsed before another single was released, during which time she was apparently instructed to record some new tracks for the as yet unreleased album by her record company, which was unhappy with the setlist. Halliwell planned her first solo tour of the United Kingdom and Ireland, but due to lack of ticket sales, compounded by the label's pressure on Halliwell to record additional songs led to the cancellation of the tour. Eventually a new single, "Desire", was released on 30 May 2005, reaching number 22 in the UK Singles Chart and number one on the UK Dance Charts. Released shortly after, the album Passion similarly received little attention from the public or critics, and stalled at number 41 in the UK charts. Halliwell's recording contract with EMI was subsequently not renewed, and in recent interviews Halliwell has stated that she is not interested in recording another album at the moment and was content with writing children's books and being a mother. In 2009 Passion become available in the United States via Amazon.com.

Though, Geri has given up singing and continues to write books. Rumours are circulating in the United Kingdom saying that she may record one single and release a Greatest Hits, but so far this is a rumour and Halliwell has said nothing about it. In interviews to promote the book series Ugenia Lavender, Halliwell said she had no plans to return to a solo musical career in the near future.

2007—2008: The Return of the Spice Girls

On 28 June 2007, Halliwell announced she was joining her former group-mates for "Return of the Spice Girls", a concert tour that would see all five original members of the Spice Girls re-uniting on stage for the first time since Halliwell walked out mid-tour in 1998. Part of the setlist of the reunion tour features Halliwell performing solo, singing her cover of It's Raining Men. It was announced on 1 February that the tour would end early, on 26 February 2008.

2008—present: Ugenia Lavender and recent appearances

On 12 April 2007, it was announced that Halliwell had signed a six-book deal with Macmillan Children's Books. The books follow the adventures of nine-year-old Ugenia, a character based on Halliwell, alongside her friends Bronte, Rudy and Trevor. Other characters are said by Halliwell to be loosely based on Gordon Ramsay, George Michael, Marilyn Monroe, Vincent van Gogh, Wayne Rooney and the character Justin Suarez from the TV series Ugly Betty. The character Princess Posh Vattoria, a caricature of Halliwell's bandmate Victoria Beckham, was featured in early drafts but has not appeared in the book series.

Halliwell has recently been seen in the film Crank: High Voltage alongside friend, actor, John Damon. Her most recent appearance on British Television was on the BBC 1's The One Show on 7 May 2009. On 24 May 2009 she spoke to the Speed TV reporter Peter Windsor in the pit lane just prior to the start of the 2009 Monaco Grand Prix.

Personal and media life

After her album Passion was a failure, Halliwell fired her managers, the married team Paul and Katie Conroy in October 2005, and went to Los Angelesmarker to work on unnamed projects. Soon after, she was photographed by the paparazzi, having put on weight and looking exhausted. The tabloids reported that Halliwell was pregnant, which was subsequently confirmed. Sacha Gervasi is reported to be the child's father, but Halliwell has never publicly confirmed that. On 7 March 2006, Hello! magazine published an interview with Halliwell, "It is tacky to kiss and tell, I would never deprive a child of the right to know its father."

On 14 May 2006, Halliwell gave birth to her daughter, Bluebell Madonna, by caesarean section at London's Portland Hospitalmarker with her sister by her side. Explaining her name choice, she said, "What really clinched it for me was my mother telling me that the bluebell is increasingly rare – so it's a precious flower, which seems just right for my daughter." Her daughter's middle name came from two of Halliwell's heroines, the Virgin Madonna and pop singer Madonna. During her pregnancy Halliwell studied Kabbalah. On 23 April 2007, all of The Spice Girls except Melanie Brown attended the christening of Halliwell's daughter, with Victoria Beckham, Emma Bunton and George Michael's partner Kenny Goss serving as godparents.

On the Spice Girls reunion tour of 2007–08, Halliwell met dancer Ivan "Flipz" Velez. They dated for six months before breaking up in November 2008. According to the Sun, she became engaged to Italian multimillionaire Fabrizio Politi in January 2009 after only a month together. However, the couple broke up in March 2009. As of March 2009, Halliwell has been dating aristocrat Henry Beckwith, a cousin of Tamara Beckwith.

Halliwell is currently residing in a house in Streatley on Thamesmarker, just across the River Thames from George Michael's house in Goring-on-Thamesmarker. At the moment, she has indicated her intention to write novels and has also indicated she would like to pursue acting. Halliwell revealed on her official website that she has meetings in Los Angelesmarker coming up and is writing a book. Speculation is that she's working on a screenplay and former Spice Girls manager Simon Fuller plans to help her break into the United States. There is also speculation that Halliwell is looking forward to a launch of her own clothing line at Topshop.

Charity work

In 1999, after having left the Spice Girls, Halliwell became a representative for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). As a goodwill ambassador, Halliwell toured the Philippinesmarker on a fact-finding trip. She visited with staff and clients of family planning clinics, women's groups in slum areas, and college students.

In 2000, Halliwell appeared in the two part documentary series Geri's World Walkabout for the BBC which followed her work with the UN and other travels. Halliwell met with kids in Rio de Janeiromarker and visited child piano prodigies in the United States.

Halliwell picked up further UN work in 2006, by visiting Zambiamarker from 14-16 November, to promote greater international awareness of the urgent need to reduce maternal death and halt the spread of HIV/AIDS. Both aims are contained in the Millennium Development Goals adopted by the world's leaders in September 2000. She attended the first 2007 BBC Four Reith Lecture and can be heard asking questions on women's rights in the recording.

Halliwell attended the UK leg of Live Earth at Wembley Stadiummarker, London on 7 July 2007 and introduced Duran Duran to the crowd.

In 2008, Halliwell also pledged her support to the Kentish Times Christmas Toy Appeal, which aimed to collect second hand toys as Christmas presents for patients in Child Wards in Bromleymarker, Bexleymarker, Woolwichmarker and Dartfordmarker. Halliwell not only gave publicity to the campaign, but also donated toys from her own daughter's collection.

Halliwell is also a patron of Breast Cancer Care.

Political affiliations

In the run-up to the 1997 UK General Election, Halliwell declared: "I saw a lot of what Mrs Thatcher did. She was definitely the original Spice Girl rising from the greengrocer's daughter to Prime Minister." For this, Lauren Laverne called her "Tory scum". She claimed that her background was deeply-rooted in support for the Conservative Party and that Thatcher was the pioneer of 'Girl Power' and the spiritual sixth member of the Spice Girls. She claimed in 1996 that Tony Blair was "not a safe pair of hands for the economy".

By the United Kingdom general election, 2001 Halliwell had switched her support to Tony Blair and the Labour Party , making a cameo appearance in one of their party election broadcasts.

Discography

Albums



Singles



Promo Singles

  • 2000: Walkaway
  • 2001: Feels Like Sex
  • 2002: Circles Around The Moon
  • 2004: 100% Pure Love
  • 2005: Love Never Loved Me
  • 2005: Superstar


Filmography

Year Title Role Notes
1997 Spiceworld Herself Feature film
2003 Sex and the City Phoebe Moore Television episode: "Boy, Interrupted"
2004 The Fat Slags Paige Stonach Feature film
2009 Crank: High Voltage Karen Chelios Feature film


Bibliography



Awards and nominations

Year Award Category For Result Notes
1999 Blockbuster Entertainment Award Favourite Actress — Comedy Spiceworld Shared with the Spice Girls
Kids' Choice Awards Favourite Film Actress
Golden Raspberry Awards Worst Actress
Worst New Star
Worst Original Song
2000 Brit Awards Best British Female Solo Artist
Best Pop Act
Capital FM Awards Best British Female Singer

2001 Comet Awards Best International Female Singer
2002 Brit Awards Best British Female Solo Artist
Best British Single "It's Raining Men"
NRJ Music Awards International Song of the Year "It's Raining Men"
International Female Artist of the Year


References

  1. Geri Halliwell, If Only
  2. Chart performances for the singles released by the Spice Girls. Retrieved from http://foreverspice.com/spicediscography/spicegirls.htm/.
  3. On This Day (30 May 1998): " Ginger leaves the Spice Girls". BBC News.
  4. " Spice Girls will do U.S. tour, with or without Ginger". London (AP). Saturday, 30 May, 1998. Aallpop.canoe.ca.
  5. " Spice Girls dismiss comeback plan". Tuesday, 18 February, 2003. BBC News. Halliwell left at the peak of the Spice Girls' success, and in 2007 the five girls reunited to embark on a final world tour and released another hit, "Headlines", a song about the girls' friendship and their relationships with each other.
  6. http://www.channel4.com/fourdocs/archive/geri_player.html Channel4.com
  7. Geri Halliwell – Biography at the Internet Movie Database
  8. Interview with Geri Halliwell's yoga trainer, Katy Appleton at iVillage
  9. Spice Discography Spicediscography.co.uk
  10. " Halliwell launches writing career" Retrieved 12 April 2007, BBC News
  11. Daily Telegraph, 16 May 2006
  12. http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,2-2006220274,00.html Thesun.co.uk Retrieved on 04-24-07
  13. " Geri dumps her toyboy dancer" Retrieved 11 November 2008, Closer Online
  14. Geri Halliwell Gets Engaged to Fabio Politi The Sun, 27 January 2009
  15. Geri Halliwell's Relationship is Off The Daily Mail, March 11, 2009
  16. Live Earth (2007) (TV)
  17. Geri spices up Times great Toy Appeal, Bromley Times, 08/11/2008


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