James Wigney, The Sunday Telegraph, reports
Mel C has sung for royalty, toured some of the biggest venues in the world and performed for a television audience in the billions at last year's Olympics.
But Melanie Chisholm, aka Sporty Spice, says she's never been more petrified professionally as she was on the opening night of her debut West End show Blood Brothers in 2009.
"In my entire life, apart from having a baby, that was the most scared I have ever been," she says. "It was a complete leap of faith to do that show, and a huge personal challenge, but it couldn't have gone any better."
Her gamble paid off. Critics raved about her and she was nominated for Best Actress in a Musical at the 2010 Laurence Olivier Awards.
Chisholm's success in Blood Brothers paved the way for her role as Mary Magdalene in the acclaimed revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber's rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar, which arrives here later this month.
She'd always imagined the West End was where she'd end up, while harbouring fantasies of being a pop star.
"Although I wanted to be the next Madonna, I knew that was a very unrealistic ambition," she says.
"I thought maybe musical theatre was something I could work towards so I went in that direction."
Her musical theatre dreams were put on hold once she became a Spice Girl, bursting on to the world stage in the '90s. They became the best-selling female group of all time, with more than 80 million albums sold.
When they split in 2000, Chisholm continued the solo career she had begun with the release of 1999 album Northern Star. But for all her achievements, she says she suffered from depression and eating disorders, particularly in the aftermath of the Spice Girls break-up.
"It was incredibly draining," she says. "Although you are realising your dreams you are also getting pretty messed up in the process. It takes some time to process it and kind of integrate back into society."
After taking time out to be a mother - she gave birth to daughter Scarlett in 2009 - Chisholm approached her stage career with trepidation."In the UK we really like to pigeonhole people and I have experienced that a lot from being a Spice Girl, as in 'you're just a one-dimensional character and not capable of anything other than that'," she says. "And that's bollocks."
When the chance came to do Jesus Christ Superstar, she leapt at it.
She'd been a fan of Lloyd Webber from a young age and remembers listening to the musical with her mother. But it wasn't until she started rehearsals alongside Aussie Tim Minchin as Judas that she realised how much the 40-year-old musical had sunk into her - and the public's - consciousness.
Chisholm was a judge on reality show Superstar, which ran on UK TV last year, searching for an actor to play the lead role in the musical.
She was initially scathing of reality TV and talent shows but now believes they are entrenched enough that would-be contestants should know what's in store.
Chisholm says she's writing her next album and planning to tour with Jools Holland later this year.
There are also other musical theatre roles she'd like to tackle, particularly Evita and Cabaret's Sally Bowles. And, after the Spice Girls' successful reunion at the Olympics (pictured below), there may also be some unfinished business.
"The last few things we have done together, the reunion tour in 2007 and 2008 and the Olympics, we are having more fun together than we ever did before," she says. "So we just think we should do that more."
Where are they now?
In their prime The Spice Girls were known as Posh, Sporty, Scary, Ginger and Baby. But these days, Posh has gone couture, Scary is a little more tame, Ginger's gone blonde and Baby is still waiting for her career to mature. With 11 children between them, a lot has changed since the group launched their catchy debut single Wannabe in 1996.
Honorary Australian Mel B went solo with a Missy Elliott collaboration - I Want You Back - in 1998.
She's judged or hosted The X Factor Australia, Dancing With The Stars, The X Factor UK and America's Got Talent.
The outspoken Spice - mother to three children from three different fathers - was recently embroiled in a court case which ebanned her from appearing on Channel 9's Australia's Got Talent after she was found to have breached her X Factor contract.
A paparazzi favourite, she's also been the face of a weight loss firm.
While the youngest member of the group released her first solo album in 2001 and managed to claim a No.1 on the UK singles chart, the bubbly blonde has failed to impress musically.
But the 37-year-old was a frequent star on the popular BBC comedy series Absolutely Fabulous from 2003 to 2012.
The 39-year-old stayed in the spotlight after the group split thanks to her high-profile marriage to footballer David Beckham.
Despite being derided as the least talented Spice Girl, Beckham managed four consecutive top 10 singles and a top 10 album on her own.
She moved into fashion, co-designing for US denim brand Rock & Republic, then launching her own line in 2006 and establishing her Victoria Beckham collection of dresses in 2008.The mother-of-four has also modelled for Marc Jacobs and Burberry.
She's had a string of high-profile boyfriends, an obsession with yoga and a crack at a solo music career.
Ginger called it quits at the height of the Spice Girls' fame in 1998, citing depression and ``differences within the group''.
But the 41-year-old managed to carve out a successful career as a solo artist, selling 12 million records
She then reunited the girls for the musical Viva Forever, which was axed this week after six months London.
She'll hit our shores this month after being recruited as the fourth judge on Australia's Got Talent to replace Mel B.
Jesus Christ Superstar, Sydney Entertainment Centre, June 7-9. Bookings: Ticketmaster 136 100