Victoria Beckham: Her transformation from Spice Girl to Britain's top entrepreneur

Victoria Beckham: Her transformation from Spice Girl to Britain's top entrepreneur

As she stands tall in stilettos among fashion's elite icons, it is sometimes hard to recall that Victoria Beckham was once a pouty pop singer with a penchant for little more than skinny black dresses.

Today, the 40-year-old pop star-turned-fashion designer is revered for both her chic sartorial instincts and shrewd business acumen.

With a wealth amounting to £210 million (S$431 million), she was recently crowned Britain's top entrepreneur, adding to the slew of accolades she already has in her numerous Hermes Birkin bags.

This is a story of the fashion maven who started off as a girl next door, stumbled into the stratosphere of showbiz, and went on to carve out a successful career outside the pop music industry.

Bullied school girl

Born Victoria Caroline Adams in 1974, she was the first of three children to an electronics engineer father and a former insurance clerk and hairdresser mother.

As a child, she was often bullied in school.

"(Children) were literally picking things up out of the puddles and throwing them at me," she once told Elle magazine. "And I just stood there, on my own. No one was with me. I didn't have any friends."

But after watching the musical Fame, Victoria was inspired to break out of her timid mould and pursue a career in showbiz.

In 1991, at the age of 17, she enrolled in the Laine Theatre Arts College in Epsom and studied dance and modelling. For a brief period, she was even part of a pop group called Persuasion.

Posh Spice

In March 1993, Victoria responded to a magazine advertisement looking for girls who were "street smart, extrovert, ambitious and able to sing and dance".

She made the final five along with Geri Halliwell and Melanie Brown.

Called Touch, the band soon replaced two of the girls with Melanie Chisholm and Emma Bunton.

Renaming themselves, the Spice Girls were born in 1994, and as they say, the rest is history.

The group broke into the scene with Wannabe in 1996, showing everyone how to "zig-a-zig-ah". The playful single peaked at No. 1 in Britain for seven weeks, and topped the charts in 31 countries around the world.

Their debut album, Spice, went 10-times Platinum. In a string of successful hits that dominated airwaves in the 1990s, the quintet went on to remind angsty teenagers to love their Mamas, crooned about how 2 lovers can Become 1, and urged every boy and every girl to Spice Up Your Life.

So infectious was their brand of Girl Power that it was made into everything from dolls and commercials to the 1997 musical comedy film, Spice World.

Their nicknames, coined by magazine Top Of The Pops, became household monikers - Geri was Ginger, Mel B was Scary, Mel C was Sporty and Emma was Baby.

Because of her middle-class background, love for designer shoes and sophisticated attitude, Victoria became Posh.

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