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Girls Aloud, Interview ♦ May 01, 2024


We haven’t been as excited about a reunion tour since the Spice Girls regrouped in 2019, but while Girl Power ruled the nineties, Girls Aloud dominated the noughties. After forming in 2002, the band went on to sell over four million albums, claimed four number ones, racked up a record-breaking run of 20 consecutive top 10 singles, took home a Brit Award and by 2012, were crowned the UK’s biggest-selling girl band of the 21st century.

It’s been over 20 years since Nadine, Cheryl, Sarah, Nicola and Kimberley released their first single, Sound Of The Underground – and over a decade since the band hit the pause button on their time together in 2013. A lot has changed since then including, very sadly, the loss of Sarah to breast cancer in 2021, but three years on, the time felt right to reunite and celebrate everything they achieved together, with the four remaining Girls Aloud members flying the flag for Sarah.

Prepare for a heavy dose of noughties nostalgia. The band promise to revisit their smash-hits, speckled with some personal favourites. Expect pyrotechnics, flying harnesses, co-ordinating costumes and big hair (the band has teamed up with sponsors Shark to ensure their strands can withstand some seriously energetic hair flicks each night throughout the tour).

Ahead of the first show, which kicks off in Dublin on 17 May, we caught up with the girls to talk a whole lotta history, fashion fails and beauty wins – and obviously we had to theme the questions to their lyrics…

I’m talking bout a whole lotta history…

What’s your favourite memory with each other?

Nicola: “How can you possibly pick one memory from 22 years? The Brits was a very poignant moment for us. That was a really special time. We’d worked really hard for a lot of years – the single had been number one, the album had been number one, the tour was sold out, then we won a Brit. It felt like everything had been building and then that night everything came together, it was a big moment for us.”

Throwback fashion is everywhere – but are there any Y2K moments you regret?

Nadine: “We tried so many looks! Unfortunately for us, they’ve stuck around – people can find them anywhere. We had this really adventurous stylist in our second video, No Good Advice. We all wore silver tin foil-esque outfits and they were ripping and shredding to pieces. At the time we thought we looked great and we were so new to it, so when somebody told us: ‘this is so London, this is so cool’, we were like, ‘ok!’.”

No good advice…
What’s the best beauty tip you’ve picked up from each other?

Cheryl: “I think the best thing you learn over the years is that less can be more. There’s often times where I look back at things and I can see myself caked when I really did not need to be caked. And definitely, I think for younger girls – when we were younger, and now really – just less is more. Build, rather than slap loads on at once.”

I’ll stand by you…
When is a key moment you’ve felt really supported by your band mates?

Kimberley: “I feel like just being in a band is actually such a massive support that you maybe don’t fully appreciate at the time, but then you do when you’re away from it. If you’re having a bad day, you can kind of throw it onto a couple of the other girls for that day. If you’re not really feeling in the mood for something, you kind of all share. You’re just not up there on your own. There’s not really one particular moment, but I do love having the support of other women around me.”

Sexy! No, no, no…
What makes you feel your best?

Cheryl: “Good hair. Honestly, I think you can get away with little or no makeup if you’ve got a nice hairdo. If my hair’s all over the place, you can forget it. It puts me in a bad mood. Nicola decided to tell me earlier that I’ve got the wildest hair of all of us.”

Nicola: “I feel like we can do a show or whatever it is and she’ll have her hair perfectly done. But I remember staying over one night and we woke up in the morning and I was thinking ‘what have you done in the night?! How have you woke up with your hair like this?!’ I think you must sleep really in your pillow or something.”

Cheryl: “Yeah, so good hair – a good blowout and I’m happy. I really enjoy the Color Wow Dreamcoat and the Shark FlexStyle – there’s a tool for everything. I like the volume, whatever gives me the highest hair. The biggest hair.”

Something kinda oooh…
Which one beauty product do you swear by?

Kimberley: “The one thing that myself and most of my female friends have in their makeup bag – and have had for the past 20 years – is the Benefit Hoola [bronzer]. It lasts forever, I still have it. I use it literally every day of my life. If you lose everything, you can make up your whole face with a Hoola. Put some on your eyes, a bit in your brow. It works for a lot of things.”

Call the shots…
Has there been a turning point in your confidence and do you have an example of an important time you’ve called the shots?

Nadine: “I think because we started so young, you have a kind of delusional confidence. You’re like, wow, look at us, here we go, we’re off to achieve our dreams – so you’re fearless with it. It took a while to kind of realise the gravitas of what we were actually doing, everything seemed kind of abstract. We were number one for four weeks in a row, and, although it was us doing it, it was very difficult to feel like it was actually happening. It feels like it’s happening to you, rather than you being part of it. As you get older, you become more confident in your own two feet.

When you’re in a band it’s difficult [to call the shots], but each of us always has our own say. When other bands say that they were just told what to do, they were pushed in directions, that never happened for us, so as much as everything’s for the better of the group, we do have our own individual voices. I think there’s different things where people have their area of confidence. I remember the Brits you’s [the girls] were all freaking out like ‘oh my God, oh my God,’ and I was like ‘we’ve got this, we’ve done this a million times, we’ll just sing The Promise, don’t worry about it, we’re all good.’ Each of us can bring whatever our most confident thing is and help everybody out.”

The promise…
What’s a promise you want to make to your older self

Nicola: “Maybe to be in the moment in my present self, so that I don’t look back when I’m older going, ‘oh, I wasn’t quite there’ and ‘I maybe wasn’t happy’ or ‘I didn’t feel myself’. I think trying to be as authentic to who you are in the moment – saying what you want, what you don’t want – even down to your styling being reflective of who you are and where you’re at right now. In a group there’s a lot of compromise because you’re doing everything for the greater of the band, so I guess it’s about finding the balance in that, so that when you get to your sixties or seventies, you look back and go, ‘I was still who I was’. I think in my younger self I definitely was not, so this time around I am making sure that I’m doing that for myself.”

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