This is a woman who has been so famous for 23 years – since she emerged as a Wannabe in 1996 – that when I arrive for our 4.30pm meeting at London’s White City House, on a Friday in late July, and announce I am here for a booking under the name ‘Victoria Beckham’, even the receptionists lose their Soho House cool.
Hovering near the bar, I see Victoria arrive ten minutes later carrying bags of Victoria Beckham Beauty products – the reason we are here today. Greeting me with cheek-to-cheek kisses, VB looks every inch the modern-day fashion icon, wearing an oversized blue shirt, white ripped skinny jeans, and, of course, a heel (all from her eponymous line, naturally), with her signature smoky eye and an effortless ponytail. We would be matching, I think to myself, if I hadn’t had to change out of my light-blue Gucci shirt, moments before, because I sweated so much on the Tube journey.
I proffer my compliments on her attire, but Victoria shrugs them off with a laugh, deadpanning. “It’s only taken me 15 minutes to get ready – sometimes this is what you have to put up with!” Although, she assures me, it is a step up from her school-run look: “I just put a baseball cap on and a little bit of lip gloss and a tinted moisturiser. You’ve got to have a little bit of something!”
“Get a drink at the bar, while I set up,” Victoria tells me, pulling out a bar stool for me before wafting past a table of ITV’s Loose Women – who are as giddy at the sight of VB as my internal six-year-old Spice-Girls-T-shirt-wearing self – to her “usual table” on a sun-kissed terrace.
Once the methodical set-up is over, I am beckoned over to start our interview, where I find Victoria with a G&T in hand (I am on water
in case I get too carried away) and a tray of Victoria Beckham Beauty products concealed under a cloth. When you’re VB, there are always prying eyes.
Victoria is in Fri-yay mode, fresh from a long day of meetings at her west London office, but she seems to be feeling very candid, too. “I want to be honest. In the past, I’ve probably hidden behind my armour – the not smiling publicly, for instance. There’s less of that now,” Victoria Beckham tells me, actually smiling. No trademark pouts today.
“There’s something really liberating about embracing who I am at 45 years old and owning it, feeling confident, feeling content. Doing beauty has really helped with that – it’s been very liberating. I want to spread
the word that everybody should feel like the best version of themselves. To look after what you have. I want to tell people to own who you are. Yes, we – and I – have wrinkles, and that’s OK!” The Girl Power is still
alive and well, despite her skipping the recent reunion tour.
As she throws back the cloth of secrecy to reveal the products on the tray – which put the ‘posh’ into polished, with palettes so chic they act
as the perfect accessory to her well-honed fashion designs – it’s clear that female empowerment is still deeply rooted in her latest business venture, too. “It’s not about getting up on stage and singing and dancing any more. My creative outlet is creating clothing and beauty that will empower other women,” she says proudly.
Victoria’s first foray into beauty since her 2017 collaboration with Estée Lauder launches in September – cofounded with her CEO, former Estée Lauder executive Sarah Creal – with eye products ranging from eyeshadows to liners. Then comes lips (Victoria is coveting “the Signature Lip Tint – I put it on my lips as a base and on my cheeks”) in October and skincare in November. Their mission is to deliver the cleanest possible products with the ‘honest’ imagery to match, accompanied with the hashtag #NotPerfect.
“What’s real and what’s not has become so blurred with Photoshop,” she explains, as I ask her about her own relationship with image retouching and whether she’s personally reconciled with not being perfect. “I believe people want to see pictures that are real. When I was going through the imagery [in which VB features heavily] with the team, it wasn’t about perfectly retouching things. I also hate seeing the words ‘anti-ageing’ and ‘anti-wrinkle’ [on products] – what is that about? It should just be about having the best skin you can have.” True to her word, Victoria has kept her wrinkles in the brand’s campaign imagery.
Victoria is also adamant she wants to be someone “who is accountable for what they put in their products. It isn’t about putting my name on something – I would use all of these products – and we have been talking about it for years,” she says, picking up products like an enthusiastic child selecting pick ‘n’ mix sweets.
SAY YOU’LL BE THERE
Similarly, “We are not testing on animals and I think it’s more difficult
to be entirely cruelty free when you’re working with a big brand,” she continues. “I like to think we’re a kind brand and we – as a company – need to communicate that more,” she says, before we mutually refer
to the Pride T-shirt she recently created, emblazoned with ‘Everyone Deserves Love’ in rainbow font. Unlike many brands, Victoria Beckham actually gave back to the LGBTQ+ community, with 25% of the proceeds of the T-shirt benefiting the Albert Kennedy Trust, a voluntary organisation in England that helps LGBTQ+ young people who are homeless, in a housing crisis or living in a hostile environment.
“I have always been about embracing who you are, supporting others, not being judgemental, treating others how you want to be treated,” she continues. “Sometimes it’s just the fundamental basics. Women supporting women is key. I liked what Meghan Markle said at the [British] Fashion Awards, that it used to be cool to be cruel, and now it’s cool to be kind. Kindness was always at the core of Girl Power.”
Victoria picks up her drink and turns the interview onto me. “What
did you do for Pride?” she queries, mischievously swirling her (recycled) straw around her drink before taking a suggestive sip. As I spill the tea
on the terrace about my night at an icons-themed party, where I was slut-dropping in an England football kit, the Beckham banter kicks in. “Did it have Beckham on the back?” Alas, no! “Here’s the thing, Josh. If you are going to do these things, you have to do them properly. Next year, I want you to put it in your diary and get Beckham on the back!” Note to self.
Aforementioned footballer – and now also fashion and beauty icon himself – David Beckham will certainly be first in line for the release of the Victoria Beckham Beauty skincare. “Myself and David share skincare. The Beckhams do sometimes lie in bed both wearing Sarah Chapman face masks,” Victoria laughs, knowing full well she’s jokingly referred to her 20-year marriage in the third person. “When we have the time, we like to do those things. It’s important that whatever I do works for men and women. Men and women all around the world of any age can enjoy this. It was the same message we had in the Spice Girls days and we’re saying it again now – it’s about inclusivity.”
Her message of inclusion and kindness also involves taking care
of the planet. “I look at the kids – and schools are doing a really good
job at educating children on sustainability. Me and Romeo had a whole conversation about sustainability the other day because he got these Adidas trainers that have been made out of plastic from the ocean. Harper talks about it, too. Our generation has to catch up because
it is quite new to so many people.”
She has certainly implemented this eco approach into her range,
which uses minimal plastic. In fact, the eyeshadow compact has no plastic in it whatsoever, and the packaging material used dissolves completely when you put it under running water, making it 100% instantly biodegradable. “It’s important we make that change,” Victoria says.
With her newfound vigour for protecting the planet, Victoria is
seeking to make changes in her wider fashion line, too, including removing exotic animal skins from her collections in February: “It’s
easier when you’re a start-up, but with the fashion, we’re looking at
it. We’re working with our mills to develop more sustainable fabrics.” Sustainable Spice is firmly in the building.
All you need is… positivity
Motherhood – the brood amounts to four; Brooklyn, Romeo, Cruz and Harper – has also interestingly changed her view of her own body image. “The older I get, the more I realise what works for me and what doesn’t. How working out and eating healthy is key. When you have four children you accept your body changes,” she says.
“And when you have children, it also puts a lot into perspective. You realise they notice everything. I would never sit down with my kids and skip a meal – they need to see that their mum eats healthily – you need
to show little people how to be healthy and happy with who they are.”
As VB talks, a second G&T arrives – unordered. Have I missed something, was there a secret code? Her empty glass is spirited away.
So, does Victoria see her body as an instrument or a weapon, after
four children? “An instrument, 100%,” she replies. “I expect a lot from my body. I work a lot, I try to be the best professional, the best mother, the best wife and so I have to treat it in the right way – and make sure it has the fuel it needs to work long hours and be a mum, and have the energy to do it all.”
I probe as to whether she feels more at one with her body than ever before. “Yeah, I accept who I am. I make the best of who I am!” Victoria responds, before turning into ‘mum’ mode. “Do you?” Now, that is a whole other story, Victoria!
If you want my future, forget my past
Victoria hasn’t always been this confident. A self-
proclaimed misfit in her teens, she previously told me, “I was never the popular girl at school and I never found anything easy and I was told, ‘No’ constantly.” Now, I wonder if Victoria ever still feels out of place? “Not so much any more,” she ponders. “But I was, and I’ll never forget that, and I can really use that now.” How does she use that experience? “I was bullied a lot at school, mentally and physically, and the fact that I can talk to Harper about that and how girls should be kind to girls… really I use my own experiences and share that.”
At the worst, what did it teach her? “It made me insecure, but it also made me realise if I want something, I’m going to have to work hard at
it. Nothing ever came naturally and that’s OK.” Victoria acknowledges that this is “totally” where her sensitivity towards female solidarity derives from – along with her determination.
“Do you wear makeup?” Victoria queries, right back at me. Like VB, who suffered with acne during her dancer days at Laine Theatre Arts college in her late teens, I confide that I do, as I still feel like that ‘spotty boy’. Does she feel the same? “It does make you so self-conscious. As I got older, I realised it’s not just what you put on your skin, it’s about what you put into your body, being as healthy as you can and not getting too het up about it. When I was teenager, I wasted so much time worrying and feeling self-conscious, but it’s natural to be that way when you do have skin problems. Now I just embrace it.”
Victoria continues by sharing the advice she would give to her younger self. “We’re so much more educated now about how we eat and the effects of what you put into your body. When I was younger, I didn’t realise the effect of simple things like more sleep, drinking more water, eating healthy foods. You know what I would tell my younger self? Not to be afraid of eating lots of healthy fats, as that was something I used to be scared to eat. Eating healthy fats doesn’t make you fat! It’s good for your skin, nails and hair, especially when you’re exercising, which I am, two hours a day in the gym. You just can’t build healthy muscle if you aren’t eating enough fat and you shouldn’t be scared of that.”
Sitting before me today, however, wearing nothing more than a tinted moisturiser – “I hardly ever wear foundation” – VB is glowing younger than her years, with zero signs of the skin condition that knocked her confidence so severely. What are the VB skincare secrets? “I’ve never ever gone to bed with my makeup on. I used to be very proud to say, ‘I just use baby wipes.’ Don’t ever do that,” she warns me with motherly force. “You have to take off makeup properly!”
But the true secret to the VB glow is lying in a kitchen cupboard near you. “I often take coconut oil from the kitchen and use it as a body moisturiser – everywhere! I cover myself in coconut oil, which I also use for cooking.” Will you start putting it on toast? VB takes a cheeky sip.
Victoria certainly needs her coconut fuel as there is little time for self-care. “That’s my gym time. I work out every morning with Tracy Anderson trainers – I do a lot on the treadmill and I dance, too. When
I’m in the gym, I decompress, that’s where I get my ideas, think and look after myself. When you have children, you don’t have the luxury of lying in, so that’s my time and I don’t have much time for socialising.”
What has her journey with her own mind been like? “I’ve always been very tough on myself,” she says. “We all have good days and bad days. Even when I have a bad day, I think I’m really lucky. I have an amazing husband, a great family, incredible people I work with and I’ve always had to work hard. I feel blessed and I want to maintain what I’ve achieved.”
With so many achievements, it is easy to imagine that Victoria may
be daunted by the prospect of having another decision dissected by the media. However, blocking out negative noise is a real skill of Victoria’s.
“I ignore all of that and I really focus on what I have created. I feel very confident the product will speak for itself, as the clothes have. I know everything I do will be scrutinised and that’s OK, but I don’t let it get in my way. I’m a very positive person. If you put out positive energy, that’s what you’ll get back,” she says firmly with self-assurance. She
is her own worst critic, too. “I’ve always questioned my decisions, but I’ve realised your gut is there for a reason and you should listen to it. That’s why I’m sitting here now.”
Time is running out – the age-old enemy when you’re one sixth of
the UK’s unofficial second royal family (with a combined social reach
of 100 million) – and talk of family logistics continuously punctuates
our interview. When images of Harper pulling her best Girl Power pose next to an image of Victoria in Spice Girls mode comes through, VB overflows with excitement, proudly giving me her phone: “I just got this picture, which you’ll appreciate!”
MAMA, I NEED YOU
When it comes to family, Victoria is rightly very protective. After eight-year-old Harper skipped into the GLAMOUR cover shoot earlier this week with homemade marble cake and muffins for the entire crew – “how cute was that!” – I ask whether Victoria has some reservations about raising a daughter in the social-media world we live in and the ‘compare and contrast’ culture that comes with it.
“As parents, we have a responsibility to make sure we communicate with our children, but let’s be honest, social media is not something we had to deal with growing up. David and I are very close to our children and it’s all about communication and protecting them as much as we can and making sure they are strong, nice, decent human beings.”
One thing is clear when attending an hour-long audience with Kween Victoria, her unique humour is something that’s seen her through decades of scrutiny. With 95 million search hits on Google
to her name, is there a look she wishes she could erase forever? “I look at everything as good at the time and part of a journey that has brought
me to where I am now. I don’t cringe at many pictures, to be honest. Would I wear a Burberry bandana these days? Absolutely not! But at the time it felt right and I’m proud of what me and David have achieved.”
And her greatest beauty hit? “I really liked how I looked in the Goodbye video. I was pregnant with Brooklyn, I had a really nice neat bump, natural make-up and that was it!”
Before we literally say ‘Goodbye, my friendddd’, I ask whether, after completing approximately one-million interviews, there’s anything she’s asked that really grinds her spice? Victoria shrugs, and says, “Nothing really annoys me that much! I am interviewed by people I have a lot of respect for – and with you, I really do, you’ve always really supported me, so it’s great to catch up.”
While I call myself an ambulance, Victoria slips off into the evening to attend to another thing on the never-ending schedule: childcare.
Victoria Beckham Beauty is available online now at victoriabeckham.com