[00:32] Sinéad Burke: Welcome to As Me with Sinéad. This is our very first episode together. I wanted to make this show because I’ve lived my life in a body that provokes great discussions, fear and confusion. I’m a little person. I stand at three feet, five inches tall. I’m a very proud disabled woman. But my independence is based on strangers’ kindness because I live in a world that was, well, designed for you. I’m most conscious of this when I’m in the supermarket or a grocery store. I’m standing in the aisle, only able to reach the first two, and a child who is sitting in a shopping cart, casually with their parents on a Saturday, will see me. And the first thing that they do when they see me is alert their parent or the adult to the fact that I’m there.
[1:27] Sinéad Burke: “Look! There’s a little woman,” they say with enthusiasm that is almost incomparable. The adult immediately tries to not necessarily confuse the child, but give them a different talking point and says, “look! Look at the croissants on the shelf!” The child, of course, is having none of it. “No! Look! There is a little woman!” The parent shushes the child. Will talk over the child. And if neither of those things work, they quickly turn the shopping cart around and they go into a different aisle. They’re mortified and embarrassed and feel ashamed. As do I.
[2:04] Sinéad Burke: And they do that and feel like that for a couple of different reasons. They think in many ways that this is the first time an incident like this has happened to me. I wish. It happens almost every day. It’s part of my normality. But they’re also ashamed and embarrassed because they cannot believe that their child did this. And instead of realizing that this is just natural human curiosity, and that children love to learn and ask questions. But in the supermarket that entire scenario could change if — just for a second — we tried to be human and we told that child, “yeah! That is a little woman. Why don’t you say hello?” Because it would go something like this:
[2:48] Sinéad Burke: “Hi! I’m Ben,” and I’d say, “Hi! I’m Sinéad.” And immediately Ben is completely bored. He cannot believe that I don’t speak with a higher tone or I am just more interesting than I am. But you’ve humanized it. Because if we don’t do that, when is the moment in our lives in which we do? Because at the minute, I don’t think it exists. Which is why this show is so important. It’s about finding those moments. To make the complex, vulnerable, intimate, beautiful parts of our lives human.
[3:26] Sinéad Burke: So this show is about sitting down, letting people talk, and present themselves in all of the ways that they don’t have the chance to in their day-to-day. It’s giving people agency over their own narrative and exploring parts of themselves that they’ve never exhibited before. This first episode is a classic example of that. I had the chance to talk with Victoria Beckham recently, someone we’ve all looked at and thought, ‘she has it all. Isn’t that just great?’ But what I know from my life is that there’s always more than what you see. And this is a show where that’s exactly what you hear. So here we are, in her private offices in London, sitting together, snuggled up on a black leather couch, her Spice Girls VMA trophies are in the corner, there’s beautiful flowers surrounding us, and just two microphones. It’s just us. We’re talking about how we are just two women who’ve traveled very different paths and wound up somehow on this couch together and finding, well, time to chat about ourselves, the world, her children, my obsession with the Spice Girls. Are you ready? Let’s go!
[4:50] Sinéad Burke: This is the first episode of As Me with Sinéad. And when I first began this podcast I wrote a list of people who I would be so excited to talk to. Never thinking that any of them would come true, never thinking that this person in particular would ever say yes. This person has been a part of my life in a distance way for a very, very long time. Classic moment was when I made my first Holy Communion — which is revealing the Irishness of myself — and out of my Holy Communion money I was allowed to buy one thing. So I bought ‘Spice World’ on VHS. And I know most of the film off my heart. But actually the reason why I was interested in speaking to this person was not because of the cultural connections that they had to my life since childhood, but the person that they have since flourished into and allowed me to be inspired by the qualities that they permeate from a global perspective. Sitting across from me in her office whilst I’m waffling on about what she means to me is Victoria Beckham!
[5:57] Victoria Beckham: I mean, honestly that’s — thank you. Thank you. My goodness. Listen, you’re not the only one that loves ‘Spice World’ the movie. I have to say last summer, ‘Spice World’ the movie was on heavy rotation because Harper got introduced to ‘Spice World’ the movie.
[6:15] Sinéad Burke: Does she have a favorite line?
[6:17] Victoria Beckham: I mean she loved the Army scene. She’s like, ‘Mommy, why are you the one in a dress? Why are you?’ But she loves it, she loves it. And it brings back great memories. You know, when I — when I look at that movie and I think back to everything that we did as a group, you know, it makes me smile.
[6:32] Sinéad Burke: I have just talked at you, about you, for a couple of minutes but I would love to know — how do you describe yourself, personally and professionally?
[6:42] Victoria Beckham: Gosh, how do I describe myself. I think most importantly I would like to think that I’m a good mom, a good wife. I try to be. I work hard. I am someone that — I’m not afraid to say — I have a good work ethic. I always have done, ever since I was little. Nothing ever came easy to me when I was at school. Academically, I always really struggled. You know, I recently you know diagnosed myself as being dyslexic you know. But for years I just thought, ‘why do I find everything difficult?’ But I never gave up. I worked hard and then I went to theater school and I was never the favorite. I was never the one that found anything easy. So working hard is not something that is — there’s never been an issue. It’s just it’s just who I am. I’d like to think I’m a kind person. I think being kind is really, really important. And my parents always used to say to me, you know, ‘treat other people how you want to be treated yourself.’ And that’s just so true. And I think it takes up much more energy to be a mean person. And, you know, I like to make other people feel good and feel like the best version of themselves. And that’s why I do what I do, whether that’s fashion or beauty. It started with “girl power” with the Spice Girls and now it’s that same message of empowering, but through fashion and beauty.
[8:04] Sinéad Burke: And how do you practice kindness?
[8:06] Victoria Beckham: I think that I am in a position where people will listen to me. And I think that that is — that’s the incredible thing about being a celebrity, if you like. And it took me years to actually really recognize that. It wasn’t until I started working for the United Nations as an ambassador for HIV and AIDS that I went to Africa a few times and then I came back and found myself in New York in front of the world’s media. Actually, you know, talking about what I had experienced while being in Africa. And I realized the power of my voice and how I can use that voice to make a difference. I can educate myself and then I can come back and people will listen to me and I can raise awareness, which I think is is an incredible tool.
[9:01] Sinéad Burke: It is, but I sometimes feel that with a growing audience, and with being visible, that I’m sometimes fearful of using that power in the right way. Or am I doing enough? Am I better to stay silent? Have you always been so sure of your voice?
[9:18] Victoria Beckham: You know, I think that we take the responsibility that we have seriously, and now it’s our job to educate our kids, you know. Because our kids — they’re young kids and they have high profiles and they have Instagram accounts that are being looked at by the world’s media, as well. And you know, sometimes kids postings and they don’t understand —
[9:42] Sinéad Burke: Kids are kids.
[9:43] Victoria Beckham: Kids are kids and I think that that’s where it can be difficult. I think kids should be off-limits, really, to be honest with you. You know, they don’t understand. They’re kids. But me and David try to use our voices in the right way, in a positive way.
[9:59] Sinéad Burke: Yeah. Speaking of kids, you said a little bit there — what were you like at five? You’re in school. What were you like?
[10:07] Victoria Beckham: Gosh when I was five, you know, I was always quite shy and quiet. And, gosh, I was never outgoing at all. I wasn’t a particularly smiley kid. I mean, I know everybody thinks I’m not smiley now, but, you know, actually anybody that knows me they know that actually I’m very different than that sort of public image that never smiles. But I was I was quite shy, quite quiet, not very outgoing. I didn’t have a lot of friends. I was a bit of a loner.
[10:36] Sinéad Burke: What what gave you joy at that time? What did you like to do?
[10:38] Victoria Beckham: I was dancing all the time. I used to love dancing — ballet, tap, modern, jazz, national dancing. And that’s what I wanted to do. And my mom and dad used to drive me miles and miles and miles each week taking me back and forth from dancing lessons, which I loved. And I was quite good. I mean, not good enough. I worked hard at it. It wasn’t until I met the Spice Girls, to be completely honest, that I think I truly found my personality. And actually it’s okay to have a laugh. It’s okay to be silly. It’s okay if you tell a joke and people don’t laugh. Because if it had not been for my time in the Spice Girls, maybe I would still be the person that I was then, and I’m much more fun now. They made they made it OK to be me.
[11:30] Sinéad Burke: Yeah, and I did — not the same amount, but I started in kind of musical theater and tap. I was not great at it, but I did enjoy making noise, which will tell you more about my personality than anything else. I used to make my parents sit and watch me perform in the sitting room and do whatever routine — was that part of your kind of — did you host shows and make them watch you?
[11:53] Victoria Beckham: Oh gosh, absolutely. I mean the amount of dancing shows that my poor parents have sat through. They were always there. They were such good parents they were so present and so supportive of me. And, you know, my mom actually made me qualify as a dancing teacher after I finished theater school because she said it was always good to have something to fall back on so should anybody need any ballet lessons —
[12:19] Sinéad Burke: You’re available.
[12:20] Victoria Beckham: I’m available for private tuition.
[12:24] Sinéad Burke: When you said that you wanted to be a dancer, was there ever any questions in your parents mind about what that could lead to?
[12:31] Victoria Beckham: Totally. And I mean they were like so supportive. And you know I wanted to be in musical theater. And I went to see the Starlight Express and Miss Saigon and Les Miserables and, you know, all those kind of things. And they used to take me. I used to stand with my parents outside the theater. I remember waiting for Starlight Express because if they had any tickets that hadn’t been sold, you could buy a ticket for fifteen pounds to watch Starlight Express. And it was my dream! I mean I couldn’t roller skate, but you know, who cares? They were so supportive. They really, really were. And I loved it.
[13:08] Sinéad Burke: How did the conversation come about, coming home and telling them that you’re gonna be in the Spice Girls?
[13:14] Victoria Beckham: Well, you know, every week there was a newspaper — I don’t even know if it’s still around now — it was called The Stage newspaper. And I used to go through that every single week when I was about to leave theatre school, looking for auditions. And there might have been an audition for a musical, cruise ships — I never wanted to do cruise ships — I mean, goodness, pantomime if it was Christmas. And I just I saw the advert for a girl group and my dad was in a pop group years and, obviously, years and years and years ago. And they knew that I loved to sing, and so they dropped me off at the train station and I went to the audition and they were my biggest supporters. They really, really were great.
[14:00] Sinéad Burke: What was the turning point? When did they begin to realize that this might actually be a job, that you might not need the dancing teacher tuition?
[14:09] Victoria Beckham: When I got the part in the Spice Girls — I mean, it was quite funny because girls were lining up all around the block. The audition was at a dance studio and thousands of girls auditioned for the Spice Girls, which always makes me laugh. You know when people are always quick to say, ‘you can’t sing.’ You know, I love the fact that people say that because I find it quite funny and I even joke that I can’t sing. But the reality is is that lots and lots of girls auditioned. And everybody else sang pop songs. I remember Emma sang a song from S.W.V. They were all singing Madonna. And I sang Mein Herr from Cabaret.
[14:47] Sinéad Burke: Nice!
[14:48] Victoria Beckham: Because I wanted to be in musicals! I mean, it was so not appropriate but actually, you know, it did the trick. It did show that I actually could sing. But I think that when I got in the group and then my parents met the other girls, which — obviously they thought were completely crazy. They fell in love with all the girls. And then they started hearing the music that we were recording. It was all a bit of a whirlwind, and then ‘Wannabe’ was released. And it was number one for weeks and weeks and weeks. And every Sunday my parents, because it was over the summer, they used to have all their friends round — in the garden, have a barbeque, like you do — and listen to I think it was Neil Fox back then — listen to, you know, the countdown of the top 10.
[15:32] Sinéad Burke: Can you imagine how proud they were they were?
[15:33] Victoria Beckham: They were so proud. They really were. And my brother and sister. They really were.
[15:39] Sinéad Burke: What was the most curious day or moment of the whole Spice Girls era?
[15:47] Victoria Beckham: Oh, my goodness. Most curious. I mean we met incredible people. We met Nelson Mandela, we met members of royal families. It was incredible, it was really incredible. The travel was amazing, you know, but when you’re young, like I said, you complain that you’re tired rather than go out and explore and go to galleries and that’s why I feel so fortunate that I’m doing what I’m doing now. Because now if I travel somewhere, I’m not going to lie in bed all day, I’m going to get out there. I’m going to soak up the culture. I’m going to meet as many people as I can. I’m going to go to galleries. I’m going to experience the world around me.
[16:27] Sinéad Burke: We’ll be back just after this break.
[18:29] Sinéad Burke: I think even I knew the mantra of “girl power” before I knew what feminism was. And you know I believed that feminism should be intersectional and third-wave, but the idea that in the early- to mid- to late-90s, that this movement which was framed by our definition of feminism was so successful and so many young women could see themselves in you. That’s a huge responsibility. But also it must be so surreal.
[18:57] Victoria Beckham: It really was. And like the Spice Girls made me recognize it was okay to be me. You know, I was always a bit of a misfit. Like I said I struggled at school. I was never the best dancer. You know I was a bit of an underdog that actually did work — you know, when I was at college and all the other girls were being sent on auditions and were getting great jobs, you know, I wasn’t even allowed to go because there’s no there was no point. So I think the fact that the Spice Girls made not just girls but girls and boys feel it was okay to be different, it was okay to be the odd one out. It was okay to look different.
[19:38] Sinéad Burke: There was a space for you.
[19:39] Victoria Beckham: There was a space for you and everyone is to be celebrated. And even now, the amount of people that say to me, ‘the Spice Girls changed my life, because actually they made it OK, you know, to be me.’ We were all misfits in our own little way. But we worked together. And I think that every girl in some way could relate to one of us. Every girl wanted to be friends with one of us. At the time there was something for everyone and none of us were perfect. Like I said, we were underdogs. But together we worked. And it was a very powerful message and why I’m so thankful and grateful for the other girls.
[20:23] Sinéad Burke: I think if we were to have a cultural phenomenon with that message now it would be tricky. But who do you think the real you was then, and how has that changed?
[20:34] Victoria Beckham: I don’t think I have changed, you know. I might not have gone on tour with with the girls, I’ll always be a Spice Girl, proud of everything that we achieved, so I will always be that person, you know. Always.. It’s in me, it’s who I am. It was very honest, as well. You know, I think what people don’t understand is nobody came up with the idea of ‘you dress like Baby Spice, you dress like Scary.’ We did that ourselves. We went to our manager at the time with material written and recorded and we sat on his couch as those characters. It was so honest and it was who we are. I was always the one that, you know, I mean the little Gucci dress or the little Gucci dress or the little Gucci dress? And it’s no different now, you know. I came from a very, very nice working-class background but probably not as posh as people thought.
[21:29] Sinéad Burke: I think what’s been so interesting for me as somebody who grew up in that era is from then ‘til now seeing you as an individual expand kind of beyond that and getting to know you. But for me one of the most powerful things when the Spice Girl ended was hearing that you wanted to be a fashion designer. And as somebody who felt excluded from the fashion industry forever, based on my own disability, I remember thinking, ‘how’s she gonna do that?’ You were so sure of yourself, at least from my own perception of what the media were saying at the time, you were so sure of your desire to do this. Where did that come from? And, like you did it!
[22:07] Victoria Beckham: You know, it was always a dream of mine. I always loved fashion and the dream of being a fashion designer and having, you know, having my own brand. It was an industry that I loved. And, you know, I was very aware of people’s preconceptions. Not just because of being in the Spice Girls, but I was married to a footballer, you know. I was one of the ‘footballer wives,’ they used to call the wives of footballers. And typically speaking somebody that came from my background had never made it in the fashion industry. But I definitely wanted to do something different. And it was just about being honest, being focused, not trying to do a big show. You know, I started out with very few dresses and I did it in a very, very humble way. Refused to just say well my name’s Beckham so I’m going to do a huge show and throw loads of money at this thing. I wanted to build my brand the same as any other young designer would have done. Again, it was about being humble, about being honest. About creating clothes that as a woman that loved dresses, I couldn’t find the dresses that I wanted. I had a point of view. And you know I followed my heart and worked very, very hard.
[23:24] Sinéad Burke: I’m intrigued at how you use the word ‘success’ and ‘successful.’ At this stage of your life, how do you define success?
[23:32] Victoria Beckham: Um, I do feel successful. I work hard to maintain that professionally. I feel content and I think content is the number one goal. You know? I look at my family and I feel incredibly blessed, so lucky, and I mean just so thankful. I wake up every day and I say thank you. And I feel content. I love my job, I love what I do. It doesn’t come without its challenges every single day. But I love what I do and I feel very lucky.
[24:09] Sinéad Burke: Speaking of waking up every morning — you wake up, you look at yourself in the mirror, what’s the mantra or the monologue that’s in your head?
[24:18] Victoria Beckham: When I look in the mirror? Do you mean what do I think when I look in the mirror? I think probably like most most women probably, you know, focus too much on the things that maybe you don’t like. But I think, you know, I’m 45 years old now and I think there’s definitely less of that. You know, I try to be the best version of myself. I work out a lot. I eat healthily. I still like to have fun, so I will still have the occasional glass of wine and tequila. But I appreciate who I am and I look after myself to be the best version of myself.
[24:57] Sinéad Burke: And on the most challenging days when things are just not going right, either in a professional or personal sense, the day is not going your way. What do you say to yourself to keep going?
[25:11] Victoria Beckham: Even when things can be challenging for me, it’s part of the journey, and I’m learning. But sometimes it is really tough, and that’s why I am so lucky that I have such an incredible family to go home to. And then to try and forget about how rubbish my day might have been and really focus on the kids, you know? Because kids have bad days, too. And really just try to forget the minute I come home what’s happened in my day and focus on them. And it’s my job as their parent to be a positive influence and to make them feel good and to be the positive one, even when they’re finding something challenging. You know. That’s OK. It’s OK if you find something hard.
[25:57] Sinéad Burke: I love the idea of you standing in front of a mirror and becoming more comfortable in your own skin as you get older. And I think for me being a little person, you know, I had to contemplate whether or not I would have surgery when I was 11 to make myself taller. And the most amount of height I would get would’ve been six inches. But the surgery was quite intense and traumatic, it was the breaking of bones, the stretching of limbs. And my parents, in incredible bravery and support — much like your parents — said to me that I had to make this decision for myself. And I realized whilst it might help me reach a light switch, it actually wouldn’t — it wouldn’t change me as a person. The most it would do is maybe make other people like me more because I was closer to the world’s ridiculous definition of normality or whatever that is. So I kind of told my parents that the only reason why I would think of getting it done is that people might like me more. But actually, I’m not interested in being friends with those people. So my relationship with my body and how comfortable I feel in my own skin has been based on being a little person but has changed over time. What’s it like to live in your body now and has that changed?
[27:05] Victoria Beckham: You know I was never very — I was never very popular. And when I was younger, you know, I just wanted people to like me. I was never the popular kid. I was always bullied both mentally and physically. All the time that I was at school, you know, and I just wanted to be liked. I don’t care about that anymore. You know, I like to be a good person. And here I am very accepting of me. I want to be kind to other people, but I want to be kind to me as well. And actually, you know, I’m OK, you know? And it’s taken a long, long time for me to realize that. I mean, gosh, you find some of the some of the world’s most beautiful people are the most insecure people out there. You know, life’s too short. It really is. And I say it to Harper — you know, she goes into school, I say, ‘Harper, it’s not about who is the prettiest girl in the class. It’s not about who is the smartest girl in the class. It is about who is the kindest girl in the class. And when you are around, no one should ever feel lonely. Because if you see a little girl or a little boy that is on their own and no one’s playing with them, it is your job to include them. Because mommy was that little girl that was left on her own. People used to walk past me and throw things at me in the playground, you know, Coke cans and soggy tissues and, you know, you name it. And I was never the one that had — nobody wanted me to sort of like be in the cool gang, if you like.
[28:42] Sinéad Burke: If Victoria now could go to the playground and talk to the Victoria with the soggy tissue on her head, what would you say to her?
[28:53] Victoria Beckham: You know, I would just say actually it’s gonna be fine. It’s gonna be fine. And you know, in a way, I feel that because of what I went through at school it probably gave me quite a tough — a tough skin for, you know — sometimes, you know — I’m not afraid to say a public bullying that I might have had through tabloid newspapers in the past. You know, I would never complain about those things, but I’ve read horrible, horrible things about myself. And you know, I suppose what I went through when I was younger gave me the outer shell that could — could handle that maybe better than I might not have done if that hadn’t happened, maybe.
[29:36] Sinéad Burke: What are the moments that have changed you?
[29:38] Victoria Beckham: All the moments that have changed me — goodness. You know, meeting David changed me. He’s an incredible human being that inspires me every day. You know, watching him with the kids and seeing how great he is with the kids, how hard he works, what he does to give back, you know, philanthropically what he does is is so inspiring. He’s done so much over the years and continues to do. So he really he really changed me. And I think when you have kids, you know, it changes you, absolutely. You know, because you’re not the most important person anymore, you know? My kids are more important than I am.
[30:18] Sinéad Burke: And we live in an era where there’s a lot of flux. Things are changing. But what gives you hope?
[30:27] Victoria Beckham: What gives me hope. You know I think that — what’s the name of that little girl —
[30:33] Sinéad Burke: Greta Thunberg.
[30:34] Victoria Beckham: Yeah. Have you met her?
[30:36] Sinéad Burke: I have not. We’re both on the cover of the September issue of Vogue.
[30:39] Victoria Beckham: That’s why I wondered if you’d met her.
[30:41] Sinéad Burke: No, I haven’t, but she’s quite extraordinary.
[30:43] Victoria Beckham: She’s really extraordinary. And when my little eight-year-old comes home talking about her — Harper’s eight. She’s not on social media, we don’t really watch a lot of television at home. She’s aware of little Greta because she’s being taught about her at school. And Harper comes home and she talks to me about about Greta, and that gives me hope. The fact that I think that, you know, young people do want to be kind to the environment. And that that’s what gives me hope. They care so much. Young people really do care, and that gives me hope.
[31:22] Sinéad Burke: It’s about, I think, us as adults realizing the power of someone like Greta and then what can we do to make things better? And what can we do to give people like our children a voice?
[31:33] Victoria Beckham: A hundred percent and, you know, we have a responsibility, as well. And that’s what has been one of my main focuses with my beauty brand, which, as you know, I launched a few weeks ago. When I decided to do that. I just said, you know, it’s very important to be to be kind. And when looking at formulas, to be kind. To make sure that we’re not using a lot of the dangerous ingredients, for example. With regards to packaging as well, be kind to the environment, you know. We have a responsibility. Everybody has a responsibility. I use the hashtag “not perfect” because we’re not perfect. We’re still learning, we’re educating ourselves. But I think that we all have that responsibility. And we have a responsibility to make our children understand as well.
[32:25] Sinéad Burke: And to really see it from a different perspective.
[32:26] Victoria Beckham: Yeah.
[32:27] Sinéad Burke: Thirty years from now, 40 years now, 50 years from now — what do you want your legacy to be?
[32:34] Victoria Beckham: Ooh. You know, I would just like people to see me as someone that, gosh, I don’t know — it’s hard to — it’s hard to say. I just hope to empower as many women as I can. Be as kind as I can. You know, if I can inspire anybody to really go for it and follow their dreams, you know, even when you’re told no. I was told no so many times. If I can inspire anyone, give anybody the courage, that’s how I see it.
[33:07] Sinéad Burke: More after the break.
[34:07] Sinéad Burke: People listening to this — what is it about you that would surprise them?
[34:12] Victoria Beckham: I mean, I’m not so sure that people are surprised that I smile anymore. I think that that rumor has been floating a long time. You know, I just think that I take my job very seriously. I love what I do. I hope that people realize how thankful and grateful I am for the position that I’m in. And that I try to try to give back as much as I can. I don’t know. What do you think — because you’ve got to know me a little over the last — just the last few weeks, obviously. You were — it was great to have you at the show. You’ve met people that work with me. What do you think’s most surprising?
[34:48] Sinéad Burke: We’ve used the word kindness a lot in this conversation. And I think sometimes kindness can be performative. It can be useful to be seen to be kind. And I have been the benefit of your authentic kindness. I think people will be surprised with how willing you are to make yourself vulnerable. I’ll never forget, like, shouting across at you around the dinner table with some pretty influential and slightly frightening people. And your ability and willingness to make yourself uncomfortable to make other people more comfortable for me has been a real education and a real learning. And how open I think you are. And it feels sincere. And I think that ability to empathize with somebody — my life is very different from yours. My experience is very different from yours. But I feel when we are together, and when we sit together, there are connections that we can make based on both understanding and having a desire to be both empathetic and kind, which I think will surprise people. But I think as Ali G said, you’re actually very funny.
[35:56] Victoria Beckham: I mean, there is one other thing.
[35:58] Sinéad Burke: Go on.
[35:59] Victoria Beckham: I can juggle.
[36:00] Sinéad Burke: Can you!
[36:01] Victoria Beckham: I mean, I’m just putting it out there.
[36:02] Sinéad Burke: How many balls? Which is an obscene question.
[36:05] Victoria Beckham: Only three. But let me tell you, yes, I was in a musical and I learned to juggle. I mean that’s quite surprising. But thank you.
[36:12] Sinéad Burke: Which musical?
[36:14] Victoria Beckham: Gosh, it was called Burlington Bertie with a knee to Harris and Ron Moody. You know, I was a clockwork ballerina. What are you gonna do?
[36:24] Sinéad Burke: And if you could perform in any show. Like if Victoria Beckham is going to take the West End or Broadway, what’s the part? Are you doing Mein Herr?
[36:32] Victoria Beckham: Do you know — no — oh my God. I was so desperate to be the white cat in Cats.
[36:37] Sinéad Burke: I can’t believe they took that from you. How rude!
[36:39] Victoria Beckham: I so badly wanted to do that. I did. I did. But yeah, thank you for saying those kind things. It’s —
[36:47] Sinéad Burke: Well I’m not nice enough to say if I didn’t mean it.
[36:50] Victoria Beckham: And I wasn’t fishing. No. You know it’s hard, you know, because I don’t know. I mean, I’m — I’m quite open. I’m never going to be one of these people that complains about the attention and the negative things that people have said. And nor am I ever going to become so paranoid and not trust people.
[37:11] Sinéad Burke: Yeah. But surely you have to do both. And it’s trying to give people enough of yourself that it’s sincere and you make an authentic connection. That it’s not performative. But at the same time you’re still, you know, to whoever that is. And you’re still you to the people who don’t care that you’re wearing a silk polka-dot blouse sitting across from Victoria Beckham. You know, it’s that balance of like trying to be me in all facets but realizing there’s lots of different mes.
[37:25] Victoria Beckham: Yeah. And I think it’s even more complicated when you’ve got children, you know. It’s about recognising that people are interested in the kids — they’ve been being photographed since they were tiny. They went on the football pitch with David, gosh, so many times when they were little, you know. And he won football games and everybody else would take the kids on the pitch. Of course David wanted to take his on the kids on the pitch. But I think that because of those kind of things, you know, our kids are photographed. We like to monitor it as much as we can. And we monitor how much we post about the kids as well. But you know I think it’s a fine line. And again, you know, social media is something that is still relatively new -ish to us.
[38:08] Sinéad Burke: And you’re trying to balance within it.
[38:10] Victoria Beckham: Yeah.
[38:11] Sinéad Burke: My final question. As Victoria — either Victoria the person or Victoria Beckham the brand — what’s been your proudest day?
[38:22] Victoria Beckham: Ooh! My proudest day. That’s a good one. I’m proud of myself professionally after every show because I’m proud of me, I’m proud of my team. It’s a lot of work. So I feel proud of what I have achieved. But I suppose I feel really proud when I’m there supporting my kids. We’ve always been quite strict with the kids, and we’ve always been very present as well.
[38:50] Sinéad Burke: Well now that Harper has been introduced to Spice World, prepare yourself for jumping on sofas, out of buses. I don’t know if you’ve realized what you’ve let yourself in for.
[39:01] Victoria Beckham: Do you know the really funny thing, when she got really into Spice World and I started telling her about what Mommy did. I thought, ‘well, I’m going to try and find some of those Spice dolls on eBay, right? So I go on eBay. I found five Spice dolls. She pulled them out one by one. She was so thrilled. But then when she pulled Melanie C out, basically they were so old that Melanie C had mold on it. She was like, ‘what’s this?’ So like I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, Mommy was in a pop group a long, long time ago and that Melanie C doll has been sitting in a box for a long, long time.
[39:37] Sinéad Burke: Is there anything, Victoria, that you would like to say that we haven’t said yet?
[39:40] Victoria Beckham: No, I can’t think — I mean, I’ve actually really had a very nice time.
[39:44] Sinéad Burke: Me too!
[39:45] Victoria Beckham: I really enjoyed this. And you know, I love what you’re doing. It meant so much for me to have you choose to be at my show because I know how busy you are. No, I can’t think of anything else I’d like to say other than this was really good fun. And thank you for asking me to do it. It’s always incredibly flattering when anybody wants to hear you talk for an hour about yourself.
[40:09] Sinéad Burke: Well, this has been such a treat. I think if I could go back to eight-year-old me who was allowed to buy one thing and chose to buy something with your face on it, the idea that twenty-one years later I’d be sitting across from you on your sofa talking to you about who you are and learning from you. Well. I’m not sure eight-year-old me would have believed it, so thank you so much.
[40:33] Victoria Beckham: Thank you so much, and thank you everybody for listening. Hopefully no one’s fallen asleep!
[40:38] Sinéad Burke: No, that would be embarrassing.
[40:40] Victoria Beckham: Thank you so much. Thank you.
[40:43] Sinéad Burke: And that’s Episode 1. As Victoria Beckham. I’ve been fortunate to wear Victoria’s clothes to her fashion show most recently in London in September. It was custom-made for me because I stand at three feet, five inches tall. I was really impressed by her attention for detail and her ambition to do something new. She also has a new beauty line with a series of products that really you should check out.
[41:08] Sinéad Burke: But speaking of new things, every week on As Me with Sinéad, I want to introduce you to someone who I think you should know. And this week’s person you should know is Satchel Lee, an incredible writer, thinker and editor. Based in New York, Satchel is the editor-in-chief of a magazine called Drone Magazine, which deliberately carves out spaces for queer voices to talk about the issues concerning that community, by that community. If you’re not already following Satchel on Instagram, please do so now. You can find her @SatchelLee, that’s S-A-T-C-H-E-L-L-E-E.
[41:48] Sinéad Burke: As Me with Sinéad is a Lemonada Media original and is executive produced by Jessica Cordova Kramer and edited by Ivan Kuraev. Music is by Jerome Rankin. Our sales and distribution partner is Westwood One. We’ll be releasing one new episode every Thursday this fall and in the new year. If you’ve liked what you’ve heard, don’t be shy. Tell your friends to listen and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you like to listen. Please do rate and review us, as well. To continue to conversation, find me on Instagram and Twitter @thesineadburke and find Lemonada Media on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @lemonadamedia. Episode 2 is As Tig Notaro. You’re going to love it.