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Interview with Former Pop Singer and Now Famous Fashion Designer Victoria Beckham.

Aired May 18, 2012 - 05:30:00   ET



ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: (voiceover): She's an international style icon and a darling of the fashion elite. Dressing up Tinsel Town stars and even rubbing shoulders with fashion royalty. Debuting with this line of her eponymous label in 2008.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The designer brand of the year goes to Victoria Beckham.

COREN (voiceover): She even beat out Stella McCartney and Tom Ford to win "Best Designer Brand" at the 2011 British Fashion Awards. Now, Victoria Beckham is releasing her latest ready to wear line in Hong Kong. But it wasn't her keen eye for style that pushed her into the spotlight.


COREN (voiceover): It was her role as "Posh Spice" in the 90s British pop phenomenon, "The Spice Girls", that would see her shoot to international fame. The group even reaching number one on the music charts in more than 30 countries with their 1996 hit, "Wannabe".

Her high-profile marriage to the British superstar footballer, David Beckham, has also kept Victoria firmly in the public eye, making her one- half of the world's most watched couple.

This week, "Talk Asia" is in Hong Kong with Victoria Beckham.

COREN: You're a wife, you're a mother, fashion designer, celebrity, model, you do a bit of TV hosting, you're a best-selling author.

BECKHAM: Crikey, you make me sound quite good.


COREN: Victoria Beckham, welcome to "Talk Asia".

BECKHAM: Thank you very much.

COREN: You have been in the public eye for almost 20 years and, throughout that time -

BECKHAM: I'm so old.


COREN: No, you're not.


COREN: You're not.

BECKHAM: I was a mere child when I started.

COREN: I know. You were 18. 18.


COREN: Your life has undergone this amazing transformation.


COREN: How do you think you have changed over that time?

BECKHAM: Yes, I mean, I have changed so much. You know, I think that, like most women say - you know, I didn't really become me until I was over 30. And I've learned so much. I mean, I've had two careers, which is incredible. You know, I'm very respectful of my past and what I've done with the Spice Girls. And I've learned an enormous amount from that.

And now I'm doing what I've always wanted to do. You know, fashion is my passion. And I've experienced so many things in the last 20 years, if you like. And, finally, I feel that I'm doing something that I'm not - you know, maybe I'm quite good at in my own way. I mean, I've got a long, long way to go. You know, I've only just started. But I feel that I'm competing in an arena where I have something to really offer.

COREN: You say that you think you are good. You are exceptionally good. And the critics say it -- the customers say it. We are going to talk about your fashion, but I want to ask you about the public persona. Because you are one of the most photographed women in the world. Sometimes you smile for the cameras. But, you know, the public persona is very different to the woman sitting in front of me right now.

BECKHAM: Yes, yes.

COREN: Why is that?

BECKHAM: Do you know, I don't know. I mean, I gave up worrying about what people thought a long, long time ago, you know. I don't know. I am - everybody says I'm very different to what they think and I suppose that I created, you know, this character, if you like. And maybe that's my armor - maybe that's - I don't know, maybe that's how I protect myself. I don't know.

COREN: Well, you've just come from China and, on your way to Beijing, you were on a flight. And took a photo, playing airhostess. And you posted it on Twitter.

BECKHAM: Yes, yes.

COREN: You also took some photos, you know, with the apron on in Starbucks, serving coffee.


COREN: That's obviously you showing a different side of yourself.

BECKHAM: Yes. Do you know, I think using the, you know, Twitter and Facebook - I think it's great. It really does enable me to get directly to my fans and have fun. And when I was on the airplane, I mean, don't forget, we have flown about 14 hours to get to that point. With a baby. You know, we were all really, really tired. And the things that you do to amuse yourself when you're tired - yes, I just thought it was funny.

COREN: And it was funny. It was funny. And I thought the hostee who was sending herself up - I thought that was -

BECKHAM: Yes, she was great. She was great.

COREN: She was great. Let me ask you, Victoria, do you care what people say? What people think of you?

BECKHAM: No. No, I mean, I gave up a long, long time worrying and concerning myself over that. You know, I care what people say about what I do professionally - I care about what my customer says. You know, that's what I do care about. Because why do I do what I do? I do what I do because I love women. I want to empower women. I want women to feel good. I want them to feel beautiful. And so, I care about what my customer thinks, because I want to give her what she wants. But, generally speaking, I don't focus too much on anything negative. I'm a really positive person, I really am. So no, not really.

COREN: Is it true that you read all the reviews about your clothes?

BECKHAM: Yes, I do. I read - I do, I read all of the reviews. You know, I was nervous when I first went into the fashion industry, because I was very aware of people's preconceptions. But I really focused on what I was doing - the product spoke for itself. It's all about quality. I remember Marc Jacobs saying to me when I'd first started, and before he'd even seen what I was doing - he said to me, "Make sure the quality's good, then people can always say they don't like it, but no one can say it's rubbish". And the quality is something that has become very much signature to me and my brand. I do give my customer the very best.

COREN: Well, as a designer, you are now fashion royalty. You debuted back in 2008 at the New York Fashion Week with your eponymous label. And, since then, it has become this amazing success. How does that feel?

BECKHAM: Do you know, it feels great. I mean, when I've had a successful collection, the first thing I think is, "That's great, it means I can do another collection". That's the first thing that I think. I always want to better myself. I don't consider myself - sorry, I don't consider other designers competition, you know. For me, my competition is me from the season before.

I'm very ambitious. I always want to better myself. I never sit back and say, "Wow, look at what I've achieved". And, to be honest, I kind of wish that I could do that, because I should do that. But I always just want to better myself. And what's next? How can I improve? How can I make myself better? I am a perfectionist, but in the nicest sense of the word.


BECKHAM: I'd like to thank the British fashion industry for your support. Thank you very much. I'd like to thank my team - you all know who you are - for everything that you do, thank you. Your focus, your creativity - thank you. I couldn't do it without you.


COREN: Well, last year, you won designer of the year at the British Fashion Awards.


COREN: Beating the likes of Stella McCartney and Tom Ford. Did you think, then, "I've made it"?

BECKHAM: Do you know, I didn't. I mean, I was - it meant so much to me, it really did. Because who'd have thought. I was just so overwhelmed, and still am, really. I mean, to even be in a category competing with Tom Ford and Christopher Bailey and Stella is huge. I mean, that's really, really big. And I was proud of myself, I was proud of my team.

You know, we're a really small team and everybody worked really hard and is passionate about what they do. And I just felt really proud that the first thing I thought, after I'd got over the initial shock and the crying on stage, the first thing I thought of is, "What am I going to do next?"

You know, I'm really tough on myself, I really am. Like I said, I don't care about what other people think so much, but for me, I'm really tough on myself.

COREN: Where do you get your inspiration from?

BECKHAM: You know, it can be from anywhere. I mean, I travel a lot. Last season, for the ready to wear, my husband inspired me with the beanie hats, for example. You know, there was a baseball theme that ran throughout the collection - that was Romeo running into the kitchen when I was there in a baseball shirt and I thought, "Hey, that looks really great, I want to use that collar detail". So I can get inspired from everywhere, really. But my family life definitely inspires what I do a lot.

COREN: Well, you're certainly not short of admirers. Celebrities like Beyonce, Julia Roberts, Gwyneth Paltrow, Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, just to name a few, wear your designs. How do you feel when you see these women in your dresses?

BECKHAM: I think it's really, really exciting for me - that I'm dressing some of the most beautiful, powerful, influential women in the world. I have to pinch myself when I see anybody wearing a dress, you know. And it's not just one type of woman, either. It's women, different shapes and sizes and different ages as well.

I mean, for me, one of the most exciting points of my career was dressing Oprah, for example. A woman that - I mean, I met Oprah and I didn't know whether to shake her hand or curtsey. I mean, literally. And the fact that had the opportunity to dress Oprah, who is definitely a more curvaceous woman - so that's what feels really exciting for me is the fact that I'm designing dresses that are for women, whatever age and whatever shape and size. You know, I just want to make women feel, like I said, empowered and beautiful.

COREN: What did Oprah say about the dress that you got her to wear?

BECKHAM: She said that it was beautiful.

COREN: And I guess that's the ultimate compliment, isn't it?

BECKHAM: It really is. I mean, she just blew me away, she really did.


COREN (voiceover): Coming up, Victoria gives us the low down on her latest line. Plus -

BECKHAM: I'm never going sit here and say, "Poor me, I'm being followed by photographers". Are you kidding me? I'm the luckiest woman in the world.

COREN (voiceover): Victoria opens up about living life in the public eye.



COREN: You've started your second line - Victoria, Victoria Beckham - what's the reason behind this?

BECKHAM: You know, I wanted to design a designer collection that was a little bit more affordable. So, this isn't a diffusion line, you know. It's still designs - I haven't compromised with design, with detail, with fabrics. I'm still producing in Europe, but I can offer it to my customer and I can - production-wise, I can actually produce a lot more, so I can reach more customers and I can do it at a slightly cheaper price point, which is great. I think that's really exciting. It's the other side to my wardrobe.

You know, it's - I say this Victoria line, for me, is channeling my inner girl. You know, it's very girly, it's very feminine, it's fun, it shows sense of humor, it shows personality, working with conversational prints, which is something, for example, that I don't do in the ready-to- wear. That, you know, can't help but make you smile. I use lots of very energizing colors - it's very upbeat. And there's personality and it's fun and girly, but it's also very sheik and sophisticated at the same time. So, it's definitely the other side to my wardrobe.

COREN: I read that you're very hands-on with the process and that you try on each design.


COREN: Is that true?

BECKHAM: Yes, I design things that I want to wear myself, whether it's a handbag, a pair of sunglasses, or one of the dresses - absolutely everything I design because I want to wear it.

COREN: And I presume that this is a Victoria Beckham design?

BECKHAM: It is, it is.

COREN: A beautiful dress.

BECKHAM: Thanks very much.

COREN: Other than the dresses that you wear, who are your favorite designers?

BECKHAM: I mean, there are so many designers that I admire, that I respect, and also that I learn an enormous amount from. And a lot of designers that I'm fortunate, now, to be able to call friends. I mean, I'd say, whose clothes do I wear? Prada, NuNu (ph), Lanvin, Jill Sander - I mean, there's so many incredible designers out there.

COREN: You mentioned your husband a little bit earlier, and that you gained inspiration from him. And I guess that we should speak of that - David Beckham. What is it like being married to a man who is regularly voted as one of the world's sexiest?

BECKHAM: Yes. Do you know, he's - I mean, David has a really good heart. I mean, yes, he's very, very handsome. But he's an amazing husband. He's a really incredible father as well. I mean, he's so good with the kids. He's so hands-on. You know, I think that we really complement each other for sure. And he's very supportive of what I do. And, being a working mom, you know, it means that I do travel. I am away from home, and he's really, really supportive.

COREN: Because in, you know, every single photo, you always have the children hanging off you.


COREN: You and David. I mean, you are obviously both very family oriented.


COREN: Your children are very important to you.

BECKHAM: Do you know, the kids mean everything to us, you know. And our marriage as well. For certain, you know, the kids and each other is the top of our priority for sure. And we're lucky that we can work everything around the children - everything that we do professionally, which is great.

COREN: You are one of the most recognized couples in the world. You will have the paparazzi follow you, if they can, you know, everywhere you go. Does that get tiring after a while?

BECKHAM: Do you know, I mean, I can't bear it when people complain about that sort of thing. It is what it is. It kind of - it comes with the job, if you like. And we're used to it. And we have a private life. So I kind of don't pay too much attention to that side of it, really.

COREN: Do you miss your anonymity, though?

BECKHAM: I mean, it's been like this for such a long time. You know, we're a really private family and, you know, our kids are happy and, like with all parents, that's what really matters - are the children happy? And we're happy. I don't focus on anything negative at all. We consider ourselves, and we are, so lucky. I'm never going to sit here and say, "Poor me, I'm being followed by photographers". Are you kidding me? I'm the luckiest woman in the world and I appreciate absolutely everything.

COREN: You are fiercely protective of your brood. And, after three boys, you finally had your little girl, Harper. How has that changed your life?

BECKHAM: She's great. I mean, she's a really happy, content baby. She's an easy baby. The boys were definitely a little bit more tricky. You know, the boys are great with her, David's great with her. Yes. All the kids are so close, it's great.

COREN: Does it change the dynamics of the household? Having another girl?

BECKHAM: Oh, for sure, for sure. You know, because as the boys get bigger, the testosterone gets stronger and stronger and stronger. So, it definitely balances things out. And we have a female dog as well. We have a bulldog that's a female, so we're a little bit more balanced, now.

COREN: Evening out the numbers.


COREN: She traveled out here with you?

BECKHAM: Yes. She's everywhere with me. I mean, the boys - I'd love to bring the boys. I want to come back to Hong Kong with the boys, actually, because I really want them to see it. But the kids can't - the boys can't travel as much with me because they're at school and, obviously, their education is very, very important. And myself and David are very strict when it comes to that sort of thing.


COREN (voiceover): Coming up, Victoria talks about the possibility of expanding her family.

COREN: I always think that David would want the football team.

BECKHAM: Yes, well, you know, well, we'll see - never say never.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're not allowed to drive with this license here, in California, in the United States.

BECKHAM: I'm just practicing.


BECKHAM: I'm just practicing, because I'm going to be taking my test.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Practicing? Does your passenger have a license?

BECKHAM: Yes, he does.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My advice to you is, go down to the DMV, get that taken care of , alright?

BECKHAM: Thank you.

BECKHAM: I still don't know what I did wrong. I didn't know whether to pose or get arrested.


COREN: You've made several documentaries. "The Real Beckhams", which was documenting your move from London to Madrid. And then, "Victoria Beckham - Coming to America". Tell me, why do you invite the public into your life?

BECKHAM: I don't invite the public into my life at all. I mean, those documentaries are quite old, to be honest. I mean, goodness me, you know, "Coming to America", I think I did that before I came to America. So that's about six years ago. And then the documentary before then, that you referenced, we were living in Manchester, so I think we just had Brooklyn, who's 13.

So, that was a long, long time ago. And I think that people got a little bit of an insight into our lives, but not too much. I mean, it was right at the time. I don't regret anything. I think it was good at the time. It wouldn't be right now - it wouldn't be relevant now. You know, what I'm doing is very different - working in a fashion industry. Excited to be here in Asia, you know, reaching out to my Asian Market. You know, I love being here. I think that the Asian women are at the forefront of fashion. They really understand it. So, that's what I focus on now.

COREN: This is a big and growing market for you, isn't it?

BECKHAM: Yes, it is. And a really important one, as well. You know, what I do, really, is not just focus on the U.S. or England. I mean, there are lots of territories that are really big for me. And Asia's very exciting. I mean, I'm just scratching the surface, at the moment. You know, working very closely with Joyce and Lane Crawford, my retail partners here, that have supported me right from the start.

But there's lots I want to do. You know, people say am I going to have my own store? I would love to. That's what I'm working on at the moment. That would probably be in London, but in the not-too-distant future. You know, maybe it will be Hong Kong. Who knows?

Also, working on e-commerce at the moment as well. I just want to take baby steps, build this business at a steady pace. I don't want to rush. I don't want to run before I can walk, and just build it in the right way.

COREN: I mean, personally, I think, you know, the women who I've spoken to - my friends - are like, "How does she look the way that she looks?" I mean, health and fitness is obviously a big part of your life. And image is very important as well as, you know, to what you do. How do you do it?

BECKHAM: You know, I just - I think it's important to be healthy. I try and eat healthily, I work out when I can. You know, I'd like to work out more, but, you know, when you've got a lot of children, that's quite difficult. And I'm really - I'm happy. I think it's important to laugh a lot, to enjoy your life. So I just try and be as healthy as I can.

COREN: Everyone I've spoken to said, "You must ask how did she get her body back after Harper?"

BECKHAM: I just worked out. I mean, again, very, very healthily. Run a bit, you know, in the gym. And, I mean, I'm running around after four kids. That tends to kind of keep your metabolism going, to be honest with you.

COREN: I'll bet it does.


COREN: Will there be a fifth baby?

BECKHAM: Who knows? I don't know. We'll see. I mean, I want to enjoy the four that I've got, you know. They're such amazing kids and I do genuinely feel so blessed with the kids and with David and we're really enjoying the four that we've got. If I had a fifth, the next question would be, "When's the sixth?" It's like, "Come on".

COREN: Well, I would think that David would want the football team.

BECKHAM: Yes, yes, yes. Well, you know, we'll see. Never say never. But at the moment, I mean, Harper's only nine months. But we're just enjoying the kids and, yes.

COREN: Victoria, what's a normal day in the life of the Beckham household?

BECKHAM: Goodness, a normal day - well, I'm normally up most of the night. And then, you know, we take the kids to school and I then spend a few hours working. So obviously, the time difference between London - this is if I'm not traveling. I work, David goes to work, and then we pick up the kids. And we hang out as a family.

COREN: A lot of people want to know, how do you juggle it all? You're a wife, you're a mother, fashion designer, celebrity, model - and the recent spread in Harper's Bazaar is truly beautiful - you do a bit of TV hosting, you're a bestselling author.

BECKHAM: Crikey, you make me sound quite good.

COREN: Well, because you are.

BECKHAM: I'm busy, but, you know, there's lots of working moms out there. I don't think it's any different for me than to anybody else who is, you know, looking after children and a husband and working at the same time. I think it's about being focused and everything I do revolves around David and the kids. I have a great team of people around me - a small team, but a great team. And I've got a supportive husband.

COREN: Now, there was an opportunity for you to move to Paris as a family. David was offered a deal with Saint-Germain Club. I guess I would have suited both you and David, but you decided to stay in Los Angeles, which is where you've been for the past five years. What was the reason behind that?

BECKHAM: Do you know, I just - I think it's the best place for the children. You know, the kids have their friends, they go to great schools, they're doing really well at school. And, like I said, everything revolved around the kids. Yes, it would have been great for my career. I think that, you know, it would have been good for David as well, though David obviously loves playing football in America and he's very passionate about working with the Galaxy. So, I think it could have been tempting for us, but our home is America and our children are happy.

COREN: What do you love about living in the United States.

BECKHAM: I mean, it's a great place. You know, it really is. I love the attitude. I think it's a very positive place to live. The people are lovely. I mean, L.A. is great for us. The weather's great and, like I said, the schools for the kids are really great. And they have their friends - they're really sociable boys.

COREN: Do you see yourself moving back to the U.K.?

BECKHAM: I mean, I'd never say never, but at the moment, L.A. is home and we're happy.

COREN: Thank you so much.

BECKHAM: Thank you.

COREN: An absolute pleasure to meet you.

BECKHAM: Thank you.

COREN: Congratulations.

BECKHAM: Thank you very much.