Ask Melanie Brown, aka "Scary Spice," where it hurts, and you get a laundry list: "My feet, my trunk, my arms, my lats and my stack. I could go on and on."
Rehearsing for Dancing with the Stars is not for sissies. And this Spice Girl would be the first to tell you that the scariest thing about her now is what's coming out of her mouth. "It's a lot of swearing," says Brown, 32, who is paired with someone who doesn't scare easily, Maksim Chmerkovskiy (who last partnered with boxer Laila Ali). "He says I look down a lot and I turn my feet out instead of turning them in. He also says I stick my bum out. He's a really good teacher, even though we shout at each other a lot."
"Mel B. has a huge personality," says Dancing executive producer Conrad Green, who is always in the market for over-the-top characters. "I don't think she'll take criticism quietly."
She doesn't do anything quietly, whether it's tearing up the stage as a Spice Girl (the group is launching a worldwide reunion tour in December) or going after actor Eddie Murphy for child support for her second child, Angel, who was born in April. Wait a minute. Scratch that. She did do one thing very quietly: She got married to film producer Stephen Belafonte in June.
"I've spent a lot of years kind of underground," says Brown, "just relaxing and being with my family. And I was trying to think of a way that I could work and have my family with me. That would be the ideal job. So they'll be with me through Dancing, and when we go on tour, my kids will come with me."
Brown checked in with her spicy comrades before signing up for the show. "I asked them if this would be a good thing and they're all so excited," she says. "Especially Emma, because she did the show in England." (Emma Bunton/Baby Spice was a contestant on the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing, the forerunner to Dancing with the Stars.) Bunton was the last woman standing and came in third. "She said, 'Oh, my god, it changes the way you look at dancers. You'll be so much more fit. And you'll learn to dance, which is brilliant.'"
Is Brown hoping to scare the other contestants off the dance floor? "At the end of the day, it's a competition," she says. "But if I look at it like that, I'll have an anxiety attack."
Maybe not so scary after all.
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