Victoria Caroline Beckham OBE (née Adams; born 17 April 1974) is an English businesswoman, fashion designer 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. 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 Victoria’s Secrets, Being Victoria Beckham, The Real Beckhams, Victoria Beckham – A Mile In Their Shoes 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.
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. 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.” She is married to David Beckham, and they have four children. As of September 2015, the couple’s joint wealth is estimated at £508 million.
Beckham made a guest appearance on the catwalk for Maria Grachvogel on 17 February 2000, marking her debut as a model at London Fashion Week. Beckham also acted as a British ambassador for Dolce and Gabbana and was briefly the face of Rocawear in 2003. 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.
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. 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. 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.” After Beckham’s departure from Rock & Republic, in September 2006, she furthered her fashion ventures by launching her own denim label, dvb Style. Beckham then launched a new official website, dvbstyle.com to promote her fashion work.
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. 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. 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. In September 2007 her cosmetics line V-Sculpt was launched in Tokyo. In a 2007 appearance at an LA Galaxy press conference, Beckham is credited with having popularised Roland Mouret’s ‘moon dress’ and his brand, and Beckham was also the face of Marc Jacobs for his Spring 2008 collection.
Beckham has graced countless fashion magazine covers during her career, including I-D in 2004 and W in 2007. Her first Vogue appearance was the April 2008 British edition. This was followed by Vogue India, Vogue Paris as well as the German, Russian, Australian, Turkish, Taiwanese, Chinese and Spanish editions. Beckham has also graced various international editions of Harper’s Bazaar and Elle.
On 17 July 2018, Victoria’s collection of her Reebok collaboration was launched.
1994–2000: Spice Girls
Main article: Spice Girls
Beckham auditioned for a March 1994 advertisement in The Stage which required girls who were “street smart, extrovert, ambitious and able to sing and dance”. 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 35 countries. It was followed by eight further number one singles from their albums Spice, Spiceworld and Forever. Each member of the group received a nickname from the media and Beckham was named “Posh Spice”. The group is the best-selling female group of all time, selling over 80 million records worldwide. After the release of their third album, Forever, which charted at number two in the UK but was far less successful than their previous two albums, the Spice Girls stopped recording, concentrating on their solo careers in regards to their foreseeable future.
2000–2002: Victoria Beckham
On 14 August 2000, Beckham released her first solo single, “Out of Your Mind” in collaboration with Dane Bowers and Truesteppers. 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. 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. Beckham then signed a recording contract with her group label Virgin Records. Her next single as a solo artist, “Not Such An Innocent Girl”, was released on 17 September 2001. 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”. Despite a huge promotional campaign, Beckham was outsold eight to one, and her single debuted at number 6. Beckham’s eponymous debut album, which was released on 1 October 2001, reached Number 10 in the UK album chart. The album cost a reputed £5 million to produce and it sold a modest 50,000 copies.
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 and sold 56,500 copies. 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. 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.” 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. 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,; 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.”
2002–2004: Unreleased albums and final solo releases
In 2002, Beckham signed a contract with Telstar Records and 19 Management worth £1.5 million. In 2003, she began recording a electropop-influenced album, Open Your Eyes and chose “Let Your Head Go” as first single. When the album was finalized, Beckham was disappointed with the result and decided to return to the studio to record a new material. She wanted a more urban sound and worked with the producer Damon Dash to work on the R&B and hip hop influenced album Come Together. When Dash was first asked why he recorded with Beckham, he stated: “Because I see how much she gets photographed over here.” A Dash-produced track “It’s That Simple” featuring M.O.P. premiered on radio stations in July 2003 as promotional single, generating mixed reviews. Beckham’s first single with Telstar, the double A-side “Let Your Head Go” / “This Groove”, 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 three in the UK.
The double A-side was a thermometer to Beckham – if “Let Your Head Go” was more successful, she would release the electropop-inspired album Open Your Eyes, but if “This Groove” was better rated, she would released the R&B album Come Together. Outside of the UK, Damon Dash had plans for she in the US, including a potential release of “This Groove”, and believed that Beckham would be successful because R&B was up in the world and her music style was similar to Jennifer Lopez. With the financial problems of the record company, combined with a rumoured fall-out between Dash and Fuller and the UK media massacring Beckham’s solo career, the release of any album was postponed. Beckham’s final plan at a solo career was the announcement of a new single, “My Love Is for Real”, slated for a Summer 2004 release. But in April 2004, Telstar announced bankruptcy and Beckham gave up music to focus on her fashion career. In 2007 a new song, the hip-hop inspired “Full Stop”, featuring the rapper Nas, was leaked on American radios and the media reported that Beckman would release it as a single, but nothing happened.
2007–2012: Return of the Spice Girls
In 2007, the Spice Girls reformed and announced plans to embark upon a reunion tour, from which they were said to have earned £10 million each (approximately $20 million). Beckham 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.” 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.” 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.” 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.
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. 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.
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. The following year, Judy Craymer teamed up with the Spice Girls and Simon Fuller to start developing a Spice Girls musical titled Viva Forever. 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. The musical is due to open at the West End’s Piccadilly Theatre on 11 December 2012. 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. Their performance was the most tweeted moment of Olympics closing ceremony with over 116,000 tweets on Twitter per minute.
The band reunited again for a 2019 tour, however Beckham opted not to participate in the reunion choosing to focus on her fashion label instead.