Singer, songwriter, actress and former Spice Girl Melanie C has had an amazing career spanning two decades. With the Spice Girls she toured the world and sold over 100 million records, and as a solo artist, a further 12 million. Melanie spoke to us exclusively about Christmas and her hopes for 2016.
What is it about Christmas that makes you feel happiest?
I think that’s changed over the years. When I was younger there was the excitement about Santa and all the presents. Now I’ve got a daughter and it’s about making a special day for her and, of course, being with my family. You get so many more demands in your life so Christmas is an opportunity to get together and see members of the family you don’t usually see in the year.
What makes you feel safe?
It’s about having loved ones around you. It’s knowing that people are there to look after you, to have the security of a home which was something, as a child, I never had to question. Obviously it’s not that way for so many.
Was there anything you were scared of as a child?
To be honest, my memories were that life was an adventure and I didn’t have any fears. I didn’t have a privileged background and both my parents worked hard to make ends meet but I was safe, well fed and happy. I never worried about anything.
What are you scared of now?
The world and how it’s changed. The internet being such a huge part of our lives and the things that children are exposed to scares me. Bullying is so much greater now too and happens everywhere and at every age.
What are the things you worry about now?
My little girl is almost seven and is exposed to so much more. There have always been horrors in the world but it seems like they are happening more and more.
What one event or news story from 2015 sticks in your mind and did this make you reflect on your own life at all?
The two major events that stick in my mind are the earthquake in Nepal with so many children and families affected, made homeless and orphaned, and the ongoing refugee crisis. When wars are being fought there are completely innocent people, who aren’t even engaged in these battles - they are the ones who suffer the most. We are so scared by all of this, but it’s a natural reaction to help, especially vulnerable children.
What do you hope 2016 brings?
In an ideal world wouldn’t it be wonderful to end conflict and find new ways to negotiate, compromise and live side by side. War doesn’t solve anything and even more children will be homeless. We need to find new tactics to solve things.
If you could give a message to children around the world facing serious hardship right now what would it be?
I’m sure they often feel very alone but I want them to know that there are people who are strangers thousands of miles away who do care and, thanks to organisations like ActionAid, they will benefit from their help.
As Christmas fast approaches you too can let vulnerable and homeless children know that you care by donating to ActionAid and help to change lives for good.
Photo credits: Marjolein Thijse, Melanie C, Anna Pantelia/ActionAid, Karin Schermbrucker/ActionAid