In a gorgeous new op-ed for LOVE magazine, Mel C (AKA Sporty Spice) waxes on the complex idea of fame, the lasting impact of the Spice Girls and the emotional reason why she ultimately chose not to participate in Emma Bunton (Baby Spice), Geri Horner (Ginger Spice) and Melanie Brown's (Scary Spice) three-piece reunion group, GEM.

In an essay entitled "Fame," Melanie reminisces of the state of celebrity culture in the '90s—days where being famous came with a "little bit of mystery and intrigue" and achieving fame was wholly dependent on one's talent and drive ("Wanting to be famous just to be famous without talent? How does that even work?" she asks.)

"Those were the glory days of the modern celebrity world I adored," she writes. "There was glamour, excitement and you looked at your idols in a completely different way."

Fame was, of course, indeed achieved, and twenty years following the Spice Girls' pop breakthrough with "Wannabe" in 1996, Melanie says she finally finds herself "at peace with the reality of achieving [her] childhood ambition," despite having some admittedly changed perceptions.

"[Back then] I wanted the Madonna 'can’t jog in the park without people running alongside me' situation. Thousands of screaming fans outside my hotel. The Michael Jackson being mobbed at the airport type fame. You know, people shaking and crying because they just met you and BOY did I get it," she reveals of her self-realized teenage dreams for stardom.

"But my relationship with fame has changed over the years and at times of personal struggle...when you’d rather nobody knew who you were I’d have to remind myself that without fame from the band it would be far more difficult for me to do the thing that I love," Melanie adds. "...I’m a singer and songwriter. Not a celebrity. The two are very different things. You can earn a fortune being a 'celebrity' depending on how much dignity you want to keep in tact."

In the early days of the Spice Girls, she recounts, "nobody had the internet" and the band was only ever written about in the tabloids.

"Looking back it all seems quite charming—but it wasn’t. I guess my relationship with the media took some time to settle. Misquotes, poisonous gossip and you’re forever questioned and judged. Thankfully, it felt like they were writing about a stranger most of the time."

Today, however, things are quite different.

On the state of the Spice Girls in 2016, Melanie talks about the "blessing and the curse" of being part of a culturally iconic and beloved group, as well as the heart-wrenching decision to not participate in a 20th anniversary reunion this year despite the pleas of fans and bandmates alike.

"The fascination with the band never seems to go away. It’s a blessing and a curse all at the same time," she reveals. "Daily I’m asked 'are the girls getting back together?' Then it’s when? How? Why? When we reunited in 2007 the questions stopped momentarily. We had done it—the fans were happy and we were happy. But the minute that tour ended it started again... I will be a Spice Girl until I die. But the continuous speculation on whether we will re-form to celebrate 20 years of 'Wannabe' has been particularly exhausting....Why can’t we just be remembered for our incredible achievements in the nineties?" she ponders.

"Earlier this year after several face-to-face meetings with the girls I made the difficult decision not to be part of a proposed reunion with Emma, Geri and Melanie. Victoria had already bowed out understandably..." the singer, whose new album Version of Me is due out October, added. "The hardest part for me was letting people down: the girls, the fans, civilization?! Unfortunately something didn’t feel quite right and I had to follow my gut."

While Melanie claims she would love to "play huge arena across the world [and] sing brilliantly bonkers pop songs and relive [the band's] former glory," she admits that reuniting as a whole unit to perform at the 2012 London Olympics was the peak of her experience with the Spice Girls—and without Posh Spice in the mix, she doesn't feel another reunion is necessary or graceful.

"Didn’t we reach a peak with the Olympics? There’s a lot to be said for bowing out on a high note," she says, adding, "For me the absolute pinnacle of my Spice existence was being watched by a billion people around the globe belting out 'Spice Up Your Life' on top of a black cab at the 2012 London Olympics. Anything less than the full line-up just didn’t feel like we’d be doing justice to the band or the fans."

Read the full piece at Love.

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