Fifth spice girl emerges to tell all
In the mid 1990s, the Spice Girls took the music world by storm with their insanely catchy dance-influenced pop songs that could appeal to nearly every demographic. Here in their adopted homeland of the United States, Scary, Baby, Posh, Ginger, and Sporty Spice became household names that revolutionized pop music forever. However, what most people don’t know is that there was a sixth spice girl. To every Beatles, there is a Pete Best. To every Rolling Stones, there is an Ian Stewart. The proverbial one to miss the boat right as it sailed into infamy, cursed to be lost in the dull, dank water of obscurity, forever begging the eternal, unknowable question of “What if…?” The Spice Girls’ lost lamb is Pumpkin Spice. Born Josie Benjamin Atwater III, Pumpkin Spice was one of the group’s founding members when they were still playing bad karaoke bars and biker clubs. However, as the tide of fame swelled underneath their wings, Pumpkin, who was always recognized as the leader of the group, found herself ousted by an internal coup lead by Posh Spice, who would be remembered as the Beyoncé of the group. Today, we sit down with Pumpkin to see how the rest of her life has panned out.
SD: So, Josie…
PS: Please, I prefer to be called Pumpkin if you don’t mind. I had it legally changed in 1999.
SD: Wait, weren’t you kicked out of the Spice Girls in 1994?
PS: I was.
SD: Uh…Ok. So, Pumpkin, what have you been up to recently?
PS: Well, I just released a big hit album called “Pumpkin Pie” that just went platinum in Trinidad and Tobago, maybe you’ve heard of it?
SD: No, can’t say that I have.
PS: Well, it just got nominated for a Grammy!
SD: Oh, really? Which one?
PS: Umm…. Well… Most Pointless Comeback Album of the Year.
SD: Well, that’s something!
PS: That’s what my manager, Ricky, says.
SD: Isn’t Ricky your boyfriend’s name?
PS: That’s just…a coincidence.
SD: So, why is it exactly that you were kicked out of the Spice Girls?
PS: Well, it was all Vicky. That bitch. She wanted control over the group, or well…Symbolic control as the record company and manager had virtual control over all our images and our music. She wanted to be the hottest one!
SD: So, she kicked you out?
PS: Well, we had a model off. You see that’s where you pose the best you can for a number of publicity photographers, and whoever wins becomes the top dog. It’s a brutal physical and mental competition that requires every ounce of one’s energy. I lost because I slipped on the stage and broke my heels and nails and started to cry. I think she greased the floor and cheated, but no one would listen to me.
SD: So, she became a massive celebrity, while you wallowed in obscurity.
PS: Exactly! I tried to make a comeback! But, no one would give me the time. I recorded some albums, but none of them took off. All the critics tore me apart.
SD: So, what have you been doing since then?
PS: Well, you see, I owned the trademark to the name “Pumpkin Spice.” So, when Starbucks wanted to start selling those Pumpkin Spice Lattes, they had to come to me and get the rights. For every one sold, I get about 4 cents.
SD: Well, at least that worked out!
PS: But, have you tried those things? Truly dreadful, it’s like drinking pumpkin semen!
SD: Well, thank you for your time!
PS: Wait, is the interview over?
SD: Yeah, this is just a small “Whatever happened to…” column.
PS: That’s it?
SD: Pretty much. I mean I only have like 600 words with this assignment.
PS: Please, give me more time. I’ll do anything!
(She grabs my legs and starts to scream.)
PS: This is all I have left! Anything. Just anything! I need the attention.
SD: No! Get off! What are you doing?
(She grabs my recorder and starts to talk into it.)
PS: I’m an interesting person! I have so many thoughts and insights to provide like what if the moon is just a projection, or what if Obama is actually a Martian!
SD: Let go of my recorder!
PS: If I shave my head, will you pay attention? How about if I jump in front of that car? Will I be famous again?
SD: No! That’d just be…No! Oh my god! Someone call an ambulance!
Dedicated to the memory of Pumpkin Spice (1974-2016).
Hale Douthit is a third-year Writing for Film, TV and Emerging Media major who made a curated playlist of Pumpkin Spice’s solo work. You can reach them at email@example.com.