Victoria Beckham

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Victoria Beckham
Victoria Beckham posing on a red carpet at an event, wearing a creme colour dress and neutral colour makeup.
Beckham at the LG Mobile Phone Touch event in 2010.
Born Victoria Caroline Adams
(1974-04-17) 17 April 1974 (age 40)
Harlow, Essex, England
Other names Posh Spice
Occupation
Years active 1994–present
Net worth $49 million[1]
Spouse(s) David Beckham (m. 1999)
Children 4
Musical career
Genres
Labels
Associated acts
Website Official website

Victoria Caroline Beckham (née Adams; born 17 April 1974)[2][3] is an English businesswoman, fashion designer, model and singer. In the late 1990s, Beckham rose to fame with the all-female pop group Spice Girls and was dubbed Posh Spice by the July 1996 issue of the British music magazine Top of the Pops.[4] After the Spice Girls split, she was signed to Virgin Records and Telstar Records and had four UK Top 10 singles. Her first release, "Out of Your Mind", reached Number 2 in the UK Singles Chart.

Beckham has participated in five official documentaries and reality shows about her, including Being Victoria Beckham, The Real Beckhams, and Victoria Beckham: Coming to America. She has since made a cameo appearance in an episode of Ugly Betty, and been a guest judge on Project Runway, Germany's Next Topmodel, and American Idol. She is married to David Beckham and they have four children. As of 2014, the couple's joint wealth is estimated at £380 million.[5]

In the past decade, Beckham has become an internationally recognised style icon and fashion designer. Following high-profile collaborations with other brands, she launched an eponymous label in 2008 and a lower-priced (diffusion) label in 2011. The Victoria Beckham label was named designer brand of the year in the UK in 2011; in 2012 the brand was assessed as the star performer in the Beckham family's business interests.[6][7] Writing in the Daily Telegraph in 2011, Belinda White noted that the transition from WAG to fashion designer had been more successful than most had predicted, saying: "She has gathered a significant celebrity following and won over the scathing fashion pack who now clamour for a ticket to her bi-annual show at New York Fashion Week."[8]

Early life

Beckham was born at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow, Essex and raised in Goffs Oak, Hertfordshire.[9] She is the first of three children born to Jacqueline Doreen (née Cannon), a former insurance clerk and hairdresser,[10][11] and Anthony William Adams, who worked as an electronics engineer.[9] They founded an electronics wholesale business which allowed a comfortable upbringing for Victoria and her[2] sister Louise and brother Christian Adams.[12]

In 1980, she watched the musical film Fame and subsequently made the decision to pursue a musical career.[13][14] Jacqueline and Anthony Adams enrolled her at Jason Theatre School.[2] In 1991, Beckham entered Laine Theatre Arts in Epsom, Surrey and studied dance and modelling.[2][3] Beckham attended St. Mary's High School in Cheshunt, where she was embarrassed by her family's wealth and often begged her father not to drop her off outside the school in their Rolls Royce.[15] Eventually, she became a member of a band called Persuasion.[16]

Music career

1994–2000: Spice Girls

Main article: Spice Girls

Beckham auditioned for a March 1993 advertisement in The Stage which required girls who were "street smart, extrovert, ambitious and able to sing and dance".[9] In 1994, Beckham joined the all-female group, the Spice Girls. In the recordings before her marriage, she is credited with her maiden name as Victoria Adams. The group's first single was called "Wannabe" (1996), and she worked alongside Geri Halliwell, Emma Bunton, Melanie Brown and Melanie Chisholm. It went to number one in the United Kingdom and United States, and another 29 countries. It was followed by nine further number one singles from their albums Spice, Spiceworld and Forever.[3] Each member of the group received a nickname from the media. Beckham was named "Posh Spice".[17][18] The group was one of the most successful pop acts of the 1990s, selling over fifty-five million records worldwide.[19] After the release of their third album, Forever (UK number 2), which was far less successful than their previous two albums, the Spice Girls stopped recording, leading Beckham to try to build a solo career.[citation needed]

Beckham performing with the Spice Girls in Las Vegas in December 2007

2000–02: Victoria Beckham

On 14 August 2000, Beckham released her first solo single, "Out of Your Mind" in collaboration with Dane Bowers and Truesteppers.[9] The week of release coincided with the release of "Groovejet (If This Ain't Love)" by Spiller featuring Sophie Ellis-Bextor, resulting in a chart battle dubbed 'Posh vs. Posher' by the tabloids.[20] Before the single's release, on 8 July 2000, Beckham made her public solo debut at London's Hyde Park at a concert to raise money for the Prince's Trust charity. She sang "Out of Your Mind" to a 100,000-strong audience.[21] Beckham then signed a recording contract with her group label Virgin Records.[3] Her next single as a solo artist, "Not Such An Innocent Girl", was released on 17 September 2001.[2] Again, she faced competition in another hugely hyped chart battle, this time with Kylie Minogue's single "Can't Get You Out of My Head".[22] Despite a huge promotional campaign, Beckham was outsold eight to one, and her single debuted at number 6.[23] Beckham's eponymous debut album, which was released on 1 October 2001, reached Number 10 in the UK album chart.[24] The album cost a reputed £5 million to produce and it sold a modest 50,000 copies.[25]

The second and final single to be released from the album was "A Mind of Its Own" on 11 February 2002. The single reached number 6 in the UK[26] and sold 56,500 copies.[27] Rumours soon spread that Beckham was to be dropped by her label for not charting in the Top Three. These were strongly refuted at the time.[28] Beckham commented "You know what newspapers are like, they just like to put all the negative stuff in, but as far as I'm concerned and the record company is concerned it is all great."[28] A third single, "I Wish", was promoted but never materialised. The single version was a remix featuring Robbie Craig, and was performed on TV on Friday Night's All Wright.[29] Following the announcement of Beckham's second pregnancy, the single was shelved. Beckham was reportedly dropped by Virgin Records along with fellow Spice Girls Emma Bunton and Melanie B,;[30][31] but a statement from her publicist denied reports, stating: "No-one has been dropped. The Virgin deal has come to a natural end and both parties have decided not to continue."[30][32]

2002–03: Open Your Eyes, Come Together and final releases

In 2002, Beckham signed a contract with Telstar Records and 19 Management[25] worth £1.5 million.[3] Beckham then began recording a pop-influenced album, Open Your Eyes, which yielded the single "Let Your Head Go", but she allegedly chose not to release it after being disappointed with the results.[33][34] Instead of pop, Beckham wanted a more urban sound and worked with urban producer Damon Dash to work on the RnB and hip hop influenced album Come Together.[25][26] When Dash was first asked why he recorded with Beckham, he stated: "Because I see how much she gets photographed over here."[3] A Dash-produced track "It's That Simple" featuring M.O.P. premiered on radio stations in July 2003,[26] generating mixed reviews.[26] Beckham's first single with Telstar, "Let Your Head Go" / "This Groove",[26] was released in the UK on 29 December 2003, following heavy promotion and many TV appearances across the Christmas period with the video being directed by Andy Hylton. The single charted at Number 3 in the UK.[26] This double A-side lifted "Let Your Head Go" from Beckham's earlier pop-inspired work with "This Groove" one of her Hip-Hop/R'n'B songs and remains Beckham's last single release to date. She is currently the only Spice Girl never to have had a UK solo number one, though she is also the only Spice Girl to have all her single/album releases go Top 10.[citation needed] Outside of the UK, Damon Dash had plans for Beckham in the US, including a potential release of "Let Your Head Go / This Groove" under the name of "Posh Spice Victoria Beckham". The release was proposed for sometime between March to May 2004, but never eventuated.[35]

With the UK media describing her solo music career a failure, combined with a rumoured fall-out between Dash and Fuller, her hip hop album, Come Together, was not released.[2][36] Beckham's final attempt at a solo career came with the announcement of a new single "My Love Is for Real", in which she switched back from urban music to pop. She was dismissed from Telstar when the company became bankrupt, and gave up music to focus her fashion career.[37]

2007–08: Return of the Spice Girls

In 2007, the Spice Girls reformed and announced plans to embark upon a reunion tour,[19] from which they were said to have earned £10 million each (approximately $20 million).[38] Victoria had previously stated that she and her former Spice colleagues were enjoying their solo careers in various fields, saying "We're all still doing our own thing."[39] Their Greatest Hits album was released in early November 2007 and the tour began on 2 December 2007. At its advent, Beckham said "I wanted my children to see that Mummy was a pop star. It was the last opportunity for them to stand in a crowd full of people screaming for the Spice Girls."[40] When Beckham had her hair coloured brown for the tour, she stated that her sons immediately reacted by saying "Oh my goodness, it's Posh Spice. She's back."[41] She was the only member of the group not to sing a solo song on the tour, instead posing in the style of a fashion show on a makeshift catwalk, whereas the others each performed a number from their solo careers.[42]

Film-maker Bob Smeaton directed an official film of the tour titled Spice Girls: Giving You Everything, which was first aired on Fox8 in Australia. It later aired in the UK on 31 December 2007 on BBC One.[43] As well as their sell-out tour, the Spice Girls were contracted to appear in Tesco advertisements, for which they were paid £1 million each.[44]

2009–present: Viva Forever: The Musical

In October 2009, reports suggested that the Spice Girls were to star in a reality show in which they would cast female actors to play their roles in a musical.[45] The following year, Judy Craymer teamed up with the Spice Girls and Simon Fuller to start developing a Spice Girls musical titled Viva Forever. Although the girls are not to be in the show, they are to influence the show's cast and production choices in a story which uses their music but bears no relation to their personal story, similar to that of ABBA's music in Mamma Mia!.[46] On 28 August 2010, it was reported that Jennifer Saunders would pen the script for the Spice Girls' musical, Viva Forever. Saunders had twice previously worked with the group: the first time, appearing in the Comic Relief version for the "Who Do You Think You Are" video, the second, making a cameo appearance in the 1997 feature film, Spice World. On 26 June 2012, all five Spice Girls were in attendance at a press conference in London to promote the launch of Viva Forever: The Musical.[47] The press conference was held at St. Pancras Renaissance London Hotel, the location where the Spice Girls filmed the music video for their breakthrough hit "Wannabe", sixteen years earlier, to the day.[48] The musical is due to open at the West End's Piccadilly Theatre on 11 December 2012.[47]

On 12 August 2012, after much speculation, Beckham and the Spice Girls performed a medley of "Wannabe" and "Spice Up Your Life" at the 2012 Summer Olympics closing ceremony, reuniting solely for the event.[49] Their performance was the most tweeted moment of Olympics closing ceremony with over 116,000 tweets on Twitter per minute.[50]

Television

Beckham in Düsseldorf promoting her new jeans in October 2008

Beckham has shot five official documentaries. The first, dated 11 January 2000, was called Victoria's Secrets, a programme only shown in the UK on Channel 4. It involved Beckham being followed by cameras while also discussing and interviewing other British celebrities, such as Elton John.[51] The second, Being Victoria Beckham, was broadcast in March 2002 and saw Beckham discussing her career as a solo artist with the release of her first album, and also showed her at various photo shoots and recording sessions. The documentary attracted a strong audience of 8.83 million,[52] coming top in its timeslot.[53] One critic described her as "so clearly level-headed, happy with her not inconsiderable lot and seemingly unfazed by the madly intrusive nature of her monumentally ridiculous fame".[54] The third, The Real Beckhams, aired on 24 December 2003 on ITV1 and focused on the Beckhams' move to Madrid from London after David Beckham was signed to Real Madrid. It also featured Victoria Beckham re-launching her solo career and showed her mocking the tabloid stories she reads in the paper every day. The special received an audience of 6.10 million viewers[55] and was later released on DVD on 2 February 2004.[56]

The fourth was titled Full Length & Fabulous: The Beckhams' 2006 World Cup Party, and followed Victoria and David Beckham organising and making preparations to host a 2006 World Cup Party at a marquee in the grounds of their mansion in Hertfordshire, which aimed to raise money for their charity.[57] Two tickets to attend the ball were auctioned on-line for charity, and sold for £103,000.[58] The documentary aired on 28 May 2006 and showed the event itself, where the menu was designed especially by friend and chef Gordon Ramsay and the charity auction was hosted by Graham Norton.[59] Ramsay catered for 600 guests, with the aid of 40 chefs and 100 waiting staff.[59] The ITV documentary attracted an average of 7.56 million viewers.[60]

To document Victoria Beckham's preparations for her family's move to the US, she signed a deal with NBC for six episodes of a half-hour unscripted reality TV series. Despite original plans for six episodes, the show was cut to a one hour special only as there "just wasn't enough (material) for a series."[61] The show, called Victoria Beckham: Coming to America, aired on 16 July 2007 in the US and Canada. It was heavily scrutinised by the American media and critics, with The New York Post describing it as "an orgy of self-indulgence" and also describing Beckham as "vapid and condescending".[61] The programme was the third-most-watched programme in its time-slot and received viewing figures of 4.9 million in the US, beaten by a repeat of Wife Swap and two sitcoms. The programme aired in Britain on 17 July 2007 on ITV with 3.84 million viewers tuning in.[62] The programme was produced by Simon Fuller who managed her and the Spice Girls on their come-back tour.[63]

In July 2007, it was announced that Beckham would shortly begin filming a cameo appearance as herself in an episode of the second season of ABC's TV series Ugly Betty.[64] The episode, "A Nice Day for a Posh Wedding", aired on 9 November 2007 in the United States and on 23 November in the United Kingdom. Despite her forays into television, Beckham has denied plans to embark upon a Hollywood movie career.[65] In February 2008, it was revealed that Beckham would be the guest judge for the finale of fourth season of Project Runway, which aired on 5 March 2008 in the US.[66]

It was reported in October 2007 that Beckham had turned down the opportunity to appear in Sex and the City: The Movie. She stated in an interview: "[I was] asked to be in the Sex and the City film, which I would have loved to have done, but because I am in full-on Spice Girls rehearsal mode, unfortunately, I can't do it."[67]

Books

On 13 September 2001, Beckham released her first book, Learning to Fly.[68] The title was taken from a line in a song from the musical Fame, which Beckham had enjoyed as a child. The verse that inspired the title was: "I'm gonna live forever, I'm gonna learn how to fly".[69] The autobiography documents her childhood, time during the Spice Girls, her marriage and family life, as well as her career at the time.[70] She describes her eating disorder associated with the need to be slim.[citation needed] Learning to Fly became the third best-selling non-fiction title of 2001 and the total UK sales stand at more than 500,000 copies.[71] When the book was first released, it went to Number 1 in the book charts after four weeks of release, relegating Robbie Williams' book to second place.[23] A high-profile guest appearance on Parkinson, watched by nine million people, helped to promote the book.[23] Hello!, The Daily Mail and The Mail on Sunday joined to buy the rights to preview and serialise the book before its publication. The figure paid was thought to be near £1 million.[16]

Beckham was quoted by a Spanish journalist in 2005 as saying: "I've never read a book in my life".[72] She later explained this was a mistranslation from the original Spanish in which the interview was printed, saying she actually stated that she never had time to finish reading a book because she was always too busy looking after her children.[73]

Beckham's second book, a fashion advice guide titled That Extra Half an Inch: Hair, Heels and Everything in Between, was published on 27 October 2006.[74] That Extra Half an Inch: Hair, Heels and Everything in Between includes tips from Beckham on fashion, style and beauty,[74] and also contains photography by Mario Testino, Annie Leibovitz and Steven Meisel. The book became another best-seller,[75] and has sold 400,000 copies in Britain alone since it was published in hardcover.[76] The rights have since been sold to the United States, the Netherlands, Japan, Portugal, Lithuania, Russia, and most recently China.[76]

Fashion career

Beckham in February 1999

Beckham made a guest appearance on the catwalk for Maria Grachvogel in 2000, marking her debut as a model at London Fashion Week.[77] Beckham also acted as a British ambassador for Dolce and Gabbana[78] and was briefly the face of Rocawear in 2003.[79] Beckham designed a limited-edition fashion line for Rock & Republic called VB Rocks in 2004, consisting mainly of jeans for the high end of the market, retailing at approximately $300 in the US.[80]

On 16 January 2006, Beckham walked the runway for Roberto Cavalli at Milan Fashion Week, and was for a period exclusively dressed by him for red-carpet and social events.[81] For the March 2006 issue of Harper's Bazaar, Beckham acted as fashion editor when she styled her close friend, Katie Holmes, for a fashion shoot.[82] She has admitted to a personal love of sunglasses, saying "I'm quite obsessed with sunglasses. I collect vintage Guccis and Carreras – they can make virtually any outfit look cool."[14] After Beckham's departure from Rock & Republic, in September 2006, she furthered her fashion ventures by launching her own denim label, dvb Style.[76][80] Beckham then launched a new official website, dvbstyle.com to promote her fashion work.[83]

On 14 June 2007, Beckham launched dvb Denim collection in New York at Saks Fifth Avenue, along with unveiling her eyewear range in the United States for the first time.[84] In the same month, Beckham made her first appearance at London's annual Graduate Fashion Week as a judge alongside Glenda Bailey (editor-in-chief of Harper's Bazaar) and Lanvin's Alber Elbaz, to choose the winner of the River Island Gold Award, worth £20,000.[85] In August 2007, Intimately Beckham perfume was launched into US stores, one of more than 20 perfumes she and David Beckham have introduced over the years.[86][87] In September 2007 her cosmetics line V-Sculpt was launched in Tokyo.[88] In a 2007 appearance at an LA Galaxy press conference, Beckham is credited with having popularised Roland Mouret's 'moon dress' and his brand,[89] and Beckham was also the face of Marc Jacobs for his Spring 2008 collection.[90]

Beckham has been on many magazine covers during her career, including I-D in 2004 and W in 2007.[91] Her firstVogue appearance was the April 2008 British edition. This was followed by the Indian and Russian editions of the magazine.[92]

Launch of fashion label

Beckham's eponymous label was launched in September 2008 in a low-key presentation.[93] By 2011, it had grown into a fixture of New York Fashion Week and a lower-priced Victoria by Victoria Beckham label was introduced. In the first quarter of 2011-12, it was predicted to generate annual sales of more than £60 million.[94][8]

Known initially for its dresses, the range has expanded into separates and luxury handbags selling at up to £18,000. Alongside the main fashion line and diffusion range, the Victoria Beckham brand still includes separate denim, eyeware and fragrance lines.[8]

In November 2011, Victoria Beckham won Designer Brand of the Year at the British Fashion Awards.[6]

In September 2012, Victoria Beckham was the most talked about designer on Twitter during New York Fashion Week, also acquiring 57,000 new followers during the shows according to research by The Whispr Group.[95]

Writing in The Independent in February 2014, Alexander Fury described how Victoria Beckham had made the transition from novelty to respected designer, citing her recent guest editorship of French Vogue and forthcoming participation in a panel discussion with the dean of Parsons design school in New York. The article concluded that the brand's sales were down to the appeal of the designs themselves, not the celebrity association.[96]

Power and influence

In 2007, it was reported that Beckham was the 52nd richest woman in Britain[97] and the 19th richest person in Britain with husband David, with an estimated joint wealth of £112 million ($225 million).[5]

According to The Guardian, Beckham Ventures, a company linked to the Victoria Beckham fashion business, was the best performing brand in the family's three businesses in 2012, coming close to matching turnover in a sister company that promotes the David Beckham brand.[7]

In 2010, Beckhams's charity work with Save the Children earned her a nomination for the Do Something With Style Award, an awards show, produced by VH1.[98] She is a patron of the Elton John AIDS Foundation.[99]

Beckham promotes faux/synthetic furs. Her stand against the fur industry generated praise from animal rights organisations, including PETA. Beckham has stated that she is "supportive of its [PETA's] high-profile anti-fur campaigns," and pledged "never to work with fur in any of her own fashion collections".[100]

In February 2013, she was assessed as one of the 100 most powerful women in the UK in the fashion category by Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4.[101][102]

In 2014 Beckham joined the Ban Bossy campaign as a spokesperson advocating leadership roles for girls.[103][104][105]

Personal life

Beckham with her husband David in Silverstone Circuit during the British Grand Prix in July 2007

Beckham began a relationship with Corey Haim in 1995, which ended on mutual terms.[106]

In 1997, she started dating footballer David Beckham after they met at a charity football match, prompting him to request a meeting with her.[107] Of their initial meeting, she said, "I didn't really know who he was. I was never into football."[108] The couple announced their engagement in 1998 and were dubbed "Posh and Becks" by the media.[109]

Marriage

On 4 July 1999 they were married by the Bishop of Cork, Paul Colton, at Luttrellstown Castle, Ireland.[110] The wedding attracted much media coverage.[111] Beckham's team-mate, Gary Neville, was the best man,[107] and the couple's four-month old son Brooklyn was the ring bearer.[112] Most of the media were kept away from the ceremony as an exclusive deal with OK! magazine had been arranged, but photographs were released showing the Beckhams sitting on golden thrones.[113] Victoria wore a diamond coronet created for her by jewellery designer Slim Barrett. A total of 437 staff were employed for the wedding reception, which was estimated to have cost £500,000 (US$823,650).[114]

The couple bought what became their most famous home for £2.5 million in 1999;[115] the property, which is set in 24 acres (9.7 ha) of land, was given a £3 million renovation and was subsequently dubbed Beckingham Palace by the media.[115]

Children

Victoria and David Beckham have four children: sons Brooklyn Joseph (born 4 March 1999, Westminster, London),[116] Romeo James (born 1 September 2002, Westminster,[117] London),[118] Cruz David (born 20 February 2005, Madrid, Spain);[119][120] and daughter Harper Seven (born 10 July 2011, Los Angeles).[121][122][123] Elton John and David Furnish are reportedly the godparents of Brooklyn and Romeo, and their godmother is Elizabeth Hurley.[124]

Alleged kidnap and death threats

In January 2000, a tip-off to Scotland Yard detectives exposed a plot to kidnap Victoria and Brooklyn Beckham and hold them at a house in Hampstead, London.[125] The family was then moved to a secret location, but no arrests were made.[125] Later in March 2000, she received a death threat prior to performing at the Brit Awards with the Spice Girls,[125] and in the show's rehearsal, a red laser light appeared on her chest and she was rushed off stage.[125] After a fire door was found to be lodged open, it was thought that there had been an assassin there, and Beckham later revealed that she was terrified by the experience.[125] In November 2002, five people were arrested after another plot for her kidnap was infiltrated by a tabloid newspaper.[126] All charges were dropped after a witness was deemed unreliable.[127]

Filmography

Television
Year Title Role Notes
2000 Victoria's Secrets Herself Reality documentary series
2002 Being Victoria Beckham Herself Reality documentary series
2003 The Real Beckhams Herself Reality documentary series
2007 Victoria Beckham: Coming to America Herself Reality documentary series
Ugly Betty Herself "A Nice Day for a Posh Wedding" (Episode 7; Season 2)
2008 Project Runway Mentor/Herself/Judge "Finale" (Episode 14; Season 4)
2009 Germany's Next Topmodel Mentor/Herself/Judge "Bed of Roses" (Episode 13; Season 4)
2010 American Idol Mentor/Herself/Judge Season 9; Hollywood / Boston / Denver auditions
SpongeBob SquarePants Queen Amphitrite "Neptune's Party" (Episode 28; Season 7)
Voice / Animated series
Films
Year Title Role Notes
1997 Spice World Posh Spice Razzie Award for Worst Actress
Nominated – Razzie Award for Worst New Star
Nominated – Orange Blimp Award for Favorite Movie Actress
Nominated – Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Actress – Comedy
2007 Giving You Everything Herself TV movie; Documentary

Discography

See also

References

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