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Girls Aloud, Interview ♦ April 30, 2024


The Girls talk motherhood, beauty and what to expect from their upcoming tour

Boho belts, tank tops and low-slung jeans: fashion is in peak noughties nostalgia mode. And now, on the eve of the Girls Aloud reunion tour in May, we’re cranking up the tunes from the OG noughties girl band. Their fans may be (re)wearing their 2004 ’fits but, for the pop stars, a lot has changed, including their attitude to fame. ‘We don’t give a shit what people think of us,’ says Cheryl Cole.

‘We were really, really nervous the night before the tour was announced,’ admits Kimberley Walsh, who is joined by Cole and bandmates Nicola Roberts and Nadine Coyle today. The girls – now women in their late thirties and early forties – are in full popstar mode, all glossy hair, complementing nude outfits and in-jokes. There was little need for nerves. The news of a comeback caused hysteria among Millennials and the tour promptly sold out. But, as Cole puts it, ‘Under the circumstances it all felt a bit weird.’

The absence of bandmate Sarah Harding, who died from breast cancer in 2021, aged 39, hangs over the tour, but the girls are determined to pay tribute to her. ‘There are going to be so many amazing moments that celebrate Sarah,’ says Roberts. The band are tight-lipped about what these will entail but it’s thought that Harding’s original vocals may be used. ‘We’re not “us” without her so we’ve kept her involved,’ adds Walsh.

Reuniting as a group of four isn’t the only thing that’s different. Cole, Walsh and Coyle are now mothers. Has this influenced their views on touring? ‘If you knew me before I had my son, you don’t know me now,’ Cole muses. ‘I’m a different human being. With motherhood, your whole being and perspective on life changes. Now, performing is just for fun, it’s a joy.’

Their attitude towards performing may have relaxed, but one thing they take more seriously is looking after themselves. ‘It was all hastily applied face wipes – and it was disgusting,’ remembers Cole of their original touring years. These days it’s SPF every day and strict cleansing routines. ‘Before, our young skin could get away with anything, but now I’ve got about seven steps all lined up before bed,’ says Walsh. Healthy hair is a priority, too. ‘I used to literally iron my hair – with an actual iron,’ laughs Roberts. These days, they steer clear of overdoing it with heated tools. ‘The last thing we want to do is come off tour and feel like our hair is frazzled,’ says Coyle, whose honey-blonde blow-dry looks ridiculously lustrous. (Her secret weapon? The Shark Flexstyle multi-use hairdryer and styling wand, £299.99)

The girls confirm they will be bringing their signature glam to the stage, but not as we knew it. ‘There’s no repeated costumes or visuals,’ says Coyle. ‘It’s still us with a nod back to the past, but everything’s updated and new.’ No coin belts, then…

The new tour will catapult the girls back into the media spotlight – a space that hasn’t always treated them kindly. The X Factor’s Louis Walsh famously told them, ‘It’s great none of you are fat any more,’ just one of the countless examples of extreme and misogynistic scrutiny they faced.

‘Back when we started it was about looking a certain way and fitting in a certain mould,’ says Roberts. ‘Now, we’re seeing women of all shapes, sizes and ethnicities being celebrated.’ All part of the reason why, while the tour might be a nostalgic road trip for fans, Girls Aloud aren’t looking back. ‘It’s just not our business to worry about what other people think now,’ says Cole. ‘We’re happy and we’re healthy, and we’re just so excited to get out there.’

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