Be careful what you wish for ‘cause you just might get it! And get it you did. After a 10 year hiatus, the Pussycat Dolls are rising for the ashes of Noughties pop.
I’m sitting in a hangar in East London. It’s probably big enough to house a private jet, but aside from about 10 team members, it’s pretty much deserted. On the couches at the opposite side of the space sit five fresh-faced women in deep discussion. Every so often they throw back their heads in fits of laughter. Their roaring excitement is loud enough to echo through the giant space, bouncing off the walls and back towards us. This is one of the first times that The Pussycat Dolls have been seen together in the past decade, and it’s an endearing moment.
In that moment, it seems odd to me that The Pussycat Dolls have been plagued by rumours of band rifts and behind-the-scenes arguments. There’s no obvious signs of tension or forced friendship, it just genuinely seems like a group of women who all have a mutual respect for one another and a shared mission; to settle some unfinished pop business – and that they will.
At the end of last year, the quintet solidified their return with that X Factor performance, which saw them perform a medley of their much-loved hits and a special preview of their new single ‘React’. Since airing it has amassed an impressive 17 million hits on YouTube and made headlines around the world. It also ensured that ‘React’ firmly finds itself in the PCD Hall of Fame as one of their most binge-worthy tracks yet (or so we think, anyway!).
To celebrate their comeback, HUNGER teamed up with VERO to produce an acoustic version of their comeback track, alongside an exclusive interview.
Firstly, what have you been doing to stay entertained in isolation?
Nicole: I’m so used to a go-go-go lifestyle that it’s taken me a minute to accept the situation and be content with it. I’m honestly enjoying taking this time to just ‘be’. Reflecting, reading, meditating and finding new and innovative ways to work out! I’ve also been watching Tiger King. I have a lot of opinions.
Jessica: I’ve been cooking a lot and trying new recipes that I find from my cookbooks or recipes I find online. Playing piano and writing songs. My husband and I are rewatching shows that we love, especially Game of Thrones. I’ve been doing yoga online and meditations using the Insight Timer app. Also, spending time with our two amazing dogs Axl and Pantera.
You were prepped for a big year with the comeback tour. How does it feel to have to postpone in these circumstances?
Nicole: I’m trying to look at the positive in this situation, and ultimately it means that we have a little more time to put together something amazing to take out on the road and show the world. I’m just praying that the world is tuned into the advice and guidelines from the World Health Organisations and governments to ensure that this virus claims as few lives as possible and allows us to celebrate life again soon.
Jessica: I’m sad we won’t be performing next month but I know it’s for all of our safety. We need to listen to the health experts and just stay home! I’m excited for the new dates and before we know it those dates will be here and we can all celebrate.
On a positive note, what is it like being back together?
Kimberley: I’m just so grateful that this [reunion] is actually happening because it’s been years in the making. It feels powerful, it feels exciting, there’s a real determination to battle our unfinished business and create the best work that we ever have.
Carmit: We are different women, we have a lot more life experience to share and offer. Different messages. It is always female empowerment and self-empowerment. Kim and I had this conversation about being compassionate to our bodies which are not the same after kids, it’s a big difference and getting back into these outfits. We should be proud of our bodies, we work hard on them. It’s definitely a new place.
How has the industry changed since you were last here as a Doll?
Ashley: Oh honey, we gave our first tweet in 2009, I was like ‘I’m going to the radio station’, I mean we’re in such a digital influencer world now. It’s changed a lot. The music industry has changed. The entertainment industry has changed. Everything is an on-demand, digital world! We know the game but we’re also learning new tricks.
Carmit: Yes, definitely social media. We were just on the cusp of when it was coming out. It’s an additional job. It’s a commitment. It used to be where there was mystery behind the artist, it’s not like that anymore. People want to know what colour your toilet paper is. It took me a while to get into that space because after the Dolls I had my daughter and I took a break from the industry. I really focused on my home life. I’m very grateful that I’ve had those chapters in my life. It’s always thought that the man can go off and do their thing and the woman can take care of the kids but we do it all. We are super women and we can do all of it, and we will.
Embracing sexiness seems an integral part of Doll Domination. Why is this so important to you as a group?
Ashley: Someone told me that within the stage of me as a woman that I shouldn’t be sexy and I’m like ‘fuck off’. Magic Mike comes on and everyone loves it but women do it and we’re called prostitutes. I want to embrace the fact that I’m a woman getting to go back out with my girls as that sometimes doesn’t happen. We have nothing to prove we just want to go out there and have some fun again. I want to be sexy when I’m like 90!
Jessica: I think it’s not only embracing your sexiness that’s important but also embracing your self confidence. Truly owning who you are and feeling comfortable in your own skin. Nothing is sexier than confidence. I think embracing confidence is a vital part of being a Pussycat Doll.
Nicole: To echo what Jess said, the sexiness definitely comes from a place of confidence. The intention behind everything we do is to inspire other women, but ultimately anyone who resonates with what we do. There is something incredibly powerful about owning your space and being unapologetically you. Female empowerment isn’t criticising and tearing each other down, it’s encouraging females to find themselves and own it. It’s about the intention opposed to the attention.
Indulge us, what do you talk about in the Pussycat Dolls group chat?
Nicole: The other day it was Tiger King, it can be anything from funny memes and videos to food recommendations and fun creative ideas.
Jessica: We talk about life and support each other with love. There’s a lot of funny memes and videos we laugh about. It’s a fun group chat!
The Pussycat Dolls live session is part of a new music series by the ethical social network Vero, Rankin and Hunger Magazine.
Go to vero.co to sign up and follow @hungermagazine for more exclusive content.
3 April 2020