Pop icon and Pour Moi ambassador Melanie Brown MBE, aka Mel B, reveals the secrets behind her fitness and wellness transformation, and tells us why every woman needs to own their confidence.

Mel B knows a thing or two about confidence. Back in the 90s, the record-breaking-popstar-turned-TV-personality-turned-domestic-violence-campaigner was the epitome of female empowerment alongside her Spice Girls bandmates, inspiring an entire generation of women to support other women and celebrate their individualities without apology.

So, when lingerie brand Pour Moi began the search for an ambassador to front their new Own Your Confidence campaign – and help it spread the message that all women deserve to feel confident no matter their shape or size – it seemed a no-brainer to put Mel B at the very top of their “most wanted” list.

However, while Mel acknowledges she’s never been healthier – or in better physical shape – she reveals she wanted to spend a bit more time working on her mindset before stepping in front of the camera following years of turmoil.

‘I was meant to do my first Pour Moi shoot last year, but I was like, “You know what? I’m not quite ready. I’m not where I want to be mentally, and emotionally,” she says. ‘So, I did certain things and put other things into place to help me get there, because I didn’t want a quick fix. Now, I’ve got myself to a place where I feel comfortable and confident, and it’s a realistic place for me to stay at.’

Mel B on reaching a positive place

While Mel admits to making some major changes to her fitness and wellness regime over the past year, she describes the process of rebuilding her self-confidence as a journey that began when she left her now ex-husband, seven years ago. ‘I didn’t realise that my confidence was just part of me until somebody took it away from me,’ says Mel. ‘But I’ve been working really hard to build it back up over the past seven years to the point where I can say, “Yes, I’m now ready to do something like this campaign”.’

When you come out of an abusive relationship*, people just seem to think, “You’re fine now, you don’t
have to deal with him anymore”. Well, that’s not the truth. You still have to deal with that voice of such negativity, and such humiliation and shame telling you that you are fat and ugly and disgusting.

‘Rebuilding my confidence is a journey I’m going to have to be on for the rest of my life,’ she continues. ‘It’s not easy and it takes hard work, but it’s also really fulfilling when I have times and days going out with my friends where I think, “Yes, I feel really good”, not just from what I’m wearing but from what I’m feeding my body and my brain. And yeah, I want to scream it from the roof tops!’

mel b for pour moi

‘Rebuilding my confidence is a journey I’m going to have to be on for the rest of my life.’ | Mel wears St Tropez Padded Balcony Bra (32B-38F), £28, and St Tropez Purple Shorty Deep Brief (8-20), £16, all available at pourmoi.co.uk

Girl power

Once a devotee of high-octane cardio classes such as Barry’s Bootcamp and Soul Cycle, Mel’s fitness tastes have also undergone a bit of a transformation. ‘I now do weight training, which is something I’ve never done before because the idea of it always terrified me!’ she laughs.

‘Back in the day, I would go, “No way! I don’t want to be walking around with my muscles bulging out!”. It just wasn’t how I wanted to look. But what a lot of women don’t realise is that, after the age of 35, you need to incorporate weights into your workouts to avoid the risk of getting osteoporosis once you head into menopause. I’m only finding that out now at the age of 48; it’s something that can be prevented and I think we should all be told about it by our doctors.’

Mel says it “makes sense” for her to lift heavy weights three times a week for around 30-45 minutes using minimal reps, and she does this in her hallway with loud music blaring out. ‘I feel so good after weight training, and my body’s changed shape a little bit, too,’ she tells us. ‘I’ve got areas that are firmer and more pumped up, and flatter and more toned than I ever could have achieved doing aerobics classes or swimming or running, so I’ve found what works for me. But of course, it’s not “one size fits all”. Everybody has to find their own thing.’

Mel B on fitness and strength training

To complement her thrice-weekly weight training sessions, Mel reveals she does one “massive, high-intensity workout on a Sunday” and the rest is ice baths, saunas, maybe 20-minutes on her Peloton bike, plus dog walks. “I’ve got two rottweilers, and part of my weekly low-impact cardio routine involves taking them out on a long forest walk, so I get three benefits in one: I get to be in nature, which is good because you get to breathe in the oxygen from the trees, I get a workout, and I get to spend time with my dogs.’

We ask Mel whether exercise is now as much for her mental health as it is for her physical health, to which she replies: ‘Oh, 100 per cent! Walking in nature with my dogs and incorporating things into my lifestyle that make sense – from being around trees and away from traffic, to hearing the birds sing – helps my brain to take a rain check from stress and work, or thinking about making a shopping list or being angry with myself because I didn’t complete my to-do list for the day,’ she admits.

‘I’m way more relaxed, which means I’m way more efficient. I was diagnosed with ADHD, ADD, dyslexia, dyspraxia – a bunch of things! – a few years ago, but exercise helps me to focus on one thing instead of 500 things and not finish any of them. That, in combination with the ice baths, helps me stay so mentally focused.

When I’m submerged, I can’t think of anything apart from taking four counts of breath in and four counts of breath out. That’s all I can think of for three minutes. I’m completely free from any worries, and that gives my brain a break. When I’m done with it, I’m full of life and full of energy, and I can be a better mother, a better fiancé, better everything!’

mel B and daughter phoenix modelling for pour moi owning my confidence campaign

‘It’s important to own your confidence, and not be embarrassed about it or criticised for it or told your ego’s too big.’ Mel wears Energy Strive Non-Wired Non-Padded Lined Full Cup Sports Bra (34D-38H), £34, and Energy Side Pocket Cycling Short (8-18), £24. Daughter Phoenix wears the same Energy Strive bra and Energy Panelled Full Length Sports Leggings (8-18), £34, all pourmoi.co.uk

Full support

As a proud patron of Women’s Aid alongside her eldest daughter Phoenix, 24 (shown modelling alongside Mel B, above), Mel was awarded an MBE for her services to charitable causes and vulnerable women in 2022 and still visits her local shelter regularly for therapy, or to ‘hang out with other women at the shelter because they’ve been through the same thing I’ve been through.’ However, the fact that Pour Moi is making a donation to Women’s Aid as part of the Own Your Confidence campaign is only part of the reason Mel decided to get involved.

‘You know, I went into this campaign thinking I knew my bra size, but it turns out I’ve been wearing the wrong size for years, and so has my daughter!’ she adds. ‘We got measured up and now everything feels so much more comfortable and supported and lifted as a result. I’ve learnt that a great-fitting bra can give you a new-found confidence, especially when you don’t want to worry about everyone looking at your boobs bouncing up and down when you’re working out!’

Mel’s main hope for the campaign, however, is that it “screams confidence” to other women so they can feel empowered, inspired and uplifted, too. ‘It’s important to own your confidence, and not be
embarrassed about it or criticised for it or told your ego’s too big,’ says Mel, assertively.

‘Now, I’m just owning my own body and owning my own confidence from the inside and out, and one of the things I like most about Pour Moi is it designs all its bras, swimming costumes and activewear from the inside out. The insides have support, which you don’t see on the outside, which is very much how I present myself anyway. I make sure I’m filling my body with good nutrients, and I exercise and take care of my mindset so I’m always on point from the inside, and then that reflects on the outside. How can you not feel great on the outside when you’re feeding your body so much positivity and goodness?’

Own Your Confidence with Pour Moi’s lingerie, clothing, nightwear and sportswear. To shop Mel’s favourite confidence-boosting pieces head to pourmoi.co.uk/own-your-confidence.

Words: Joanna Ebsworth Photography: Jay Mawson for Pour Moi. Lead image: Mel wears Energy
Infinite Double Strap Lightly Padded Convertible Sports Bra (32B-38G), £34, and Energy Full Length Sports Leggings (8-18), £34, all pourmoi.co.uk * Note: Mel’s ex denies the abuse allegations