Geri Halliwell-Horner on finding 'confidence' after Spice Girls and motherhood: 'I'm still figuring things out'

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Geri Halliwell-Horner.

In the 1990s, Geri Halliwell-Horner, with her fiery red hair and iconic Union Jack dresses, represented a fierce brand of feminine power as Ginger Spice in the chart-topping girl group the Spice Girls.

Fast-forward to today, and she radiates a distinct yet equally potent form of strength — one shaped by the nuances of motherhood, the insights of age and the trials of life lived in the spotlight.

“The truth is I'm not perfect, and I'm still figuring things out,” Halliwell-Horner tells Yahoo Life. “In my 30s, I definitely felt a bit wobbly trying to find my power because, you know, I'm not the ingénue anymore. That sort of teenage bravado has run out, and I think we can all feel powerless. And the truth is we can't control certain things. So, you ask yourself: What do I have power over? What can I take agency over? How do I feel? What do I think?”

Geri Halliwell-Horner performing onstage in a Union Jack outfit in the '90s as Ginger Spice in the Spice Girls.
Geri Halliwell-Horner performing onstage in the '90s as Ginger Spice in the Spice Girls. (JMEnternational/Redferns) (JMEnternational via Getty Images)

Now 51, the singer is mom to 6-year-old Monty alongside her husband of eight years, British race-car driver Christian Horner. She's also mom to 17-year-old Bluebell Halliwell and stepmom to Horner’s daughter, Olivia, 9, both from previous relationships.

Halliwell-Horner’s quest toward reclaiming her power, she explains, began soon after leaving the Spice Girls in 1998. One of the most successful girl groups in music history, the Spice Girls also featured Mel B (Scary Spice), Mel C (Sporty Spice), Emma Bunton (Baby Spice) and Victoria Beckham (Posh Spice).

Halliwell-Horner was the first to leave the group, allowing the rest to continue as a quartet before eventually going on a hiatus (though rumors are swirling of what would be an epic return). Even now, their collective message of “Girl Power” — a term that represents female empowerment, independence and solidarity — still resonates with her. That mindset, she explains, is brought to her family life as well as her work, which includes authoring a newly released young adult novel, Rosie Frost and the Falcon Queen.

The story of a young girl — an orphan who is sent to a school for extraordinary teens after her mother’s death — is a personal one for Halliwell-Horner, who lost her father at the age of 21. Like Rosie in the opening of the book, the author was told the news of her father’s passing when a teacher pulled her out of class in school.

“I read it back and went, Oh, my God, I've just basically put a truth of myself in there, of what happened,” she says of reliving that day in her writing. “They always say, ‘Write about what you know.’ And what she experienced is grief and a sort of discomfort, like how I did.”

Grief is an underlying theme in the book — but so are “courage and strength,” both of which Halliwell says she found in the various “ups and downs” she has faced in life: leaving the Spice Girls, becoming a mom and finally owning who she is.

“During my 30s, I was kind of in the wilderness,” she reflects. “You’ve fallen down a few times, and the pressure to tick boxes is there. In my 40s, I started to feel a little bit more experienced and confident. And then approaching my 50s, it was like, you know what? It’s about life experience and having confidence to really trust your instincts. I always kind of did, but now I sort of have a bit more perspective.”

That life experience, she adds, also allows for better tools to guide her children, which she does by “talking honestly” with them about their daily struggles.

“Courage comes in all shapes and sizes, and sometimes you never know what's going on inside,” she notes. “It takes courage to really push through your fears and to stand up for what you believe in, and to sometimes pivot. We don’t do it perfectly. I certainly don’t.”

“When you become a mother, you become less selfish," she adds. That’s why she wanted to create a hero that represents not just her own journey but a collective one representing the human spirit.

“I felt like the world needs a new hero,” Halliwell-Horner says, “but an ordinary hero that’s vulnerable and finding the courage you never knew you had. It’s about falling down and making mistakes and feeling vulnerable, and sometimes, feeling hurt for not knowing what the answer is.”

Although she’s more confident in who she is than ever before, Halliwell-Horner admits that she’s also afraid at times. And that's OK.”

“There’s always that little trepidation, it’s always going to be there, no matter what I do,” she says, looking forward. “But then the faith in being of service has to outweigh any fear. It goes, ‘Thank you, I'm not going to try and squash the fear but I’m going to just carry on serving.’”

“I suppose my hope is that whatever I do really connects with the world and empowers,” she adds. “I want to be useful. Then I will feel that my job is done. Otherwise, what are we here for really?”