J17, May 1998
Walk on the Wild Side

So, Louise, d'you reckon it's a good time to be a girl?
 It's a brilliant time, because girls have such a choice - they can do anything they want with their lives. It used to be "You're a woman, so you have to be a secretary and help the blokes". You either had a career or a family, never both. But, now woman can do their own thing and leave the kids at home.

Do woman get a raw deal?
 Woman have to prove themselves more than men when they're doing a job. But if you really want it and you work hard for it, the opportunities are there.

What exactly doe girl power mean to you?
 It shouldn't be about trying to be someone you're not. It's about making yourself happy and doing what you want to do, but not being pushed by anyone else. I suppose it's an inner strength, it's not what you wear or what you say or do. You can have girl power and wear mini-skirts and bra tops and you can have girl power and wear big, baggy pants and T-shirts. Girl power is what's inside you.

Do you feel like a girl or a woman at the moment?
 It's weird, 'cause since I called my album 'Woman In Me', people keep asking me if I feel like a woman and I think, "No, not really". Some days I feel like I've been through everything and back a hundred times, and some days when I wake up I feel 15. I think girls grow up a lot quicker looks-wise, but they're also far more independent and streetwise. Today woman in their forties and fifties look so young and have real spirit of mind.

Did you have strong female role models when you were growing up?
 My mum always mothered me - she was very, very supportive. In some ways, when I looked at my mum, it make me think I wanted to do something different and not just have a family. I'm not being nasty about my mum - I love her more than anything - I just knew I wanted to do something else.

17 readers voted you one of their top girl heroes in our "Your So-Called Life" survey.
 That really pleases me cause the younger market's very important. When young people enjoy what you're doing, they let you know about it. It's cool to think that girls can look to me and be inspired to get out there and do what they wanna do.

Do you think girls see you as one of them?
 I don't think I come across as untouchable. When you have a career like mine, there can be a lot of hype and not everything you read and hear about me is true. I'm pretty much down to earth and I just get on with it. I'm not on a trip anywhere.

Are you a girl's girl?
 Yeah. I'm not into impressing and old geezers - sorry boys!

What about all those pouting pics of you in the men's mags?
 I've done the sexier thing and it's fun, but it's not really me. It's flattering to get attention from a bloke and it can give you a boost, but that's as far as it goes for me. basically I'm lazy and I just can't be bothered to get up and make myself look glam every morning.

Would you say you were a city chick or a country gal?
 I was brought up in Lewisham in London and then I moved out to Surrey, so I'm a bit of both. I'm back in London now, though.

So would moving to the country, surrounded by fields, be your worst nightmare?
 At the moment, yes. Maybe it would be OK way in the future if I had children, but I wouldn't live in the middle of nowhere. I'd have to be near some shops for a start!

What's the best thing about living in London?
 I don't know if it's 'cause London's my home and I travel a lot, but I think it's a great city. I love the buzz and the way it's always a busy place, with loads going on. I'm so patriotic - I'm, like, the most patriotic person in England.

What's your favorite part?
 I love Hyde Park - it's beautiful, it's like the country in the city, but there's no mud or smells!

What's the most rock 'n' roll thing you've ever done?
 When we first started in Eternal we'd do gigs away from home, then stay up and visit as many places as possible. Half the time I just wanted to go home and I'd think, "Oh God, I'm knackered, but I'm gonna do it, I'm gonna do an all-nighter!"

So there was no letting off fire extinguishers and banging on other people's doors at night?
 That's what my dancers do! They actually get into trouble when we stay in hotels and, because the hotel managers know that they're with me, they always knock on my door to complain.

There's no way you'd be able to keep up with Liam (Gallagher), then?
 Let's just say Liam would leave me standing!

 "I love shopping when I'm just out with my girlfriends on a Saturday morning. It's more fun if I'm not after anything in particular. It can be a bit of a hassle if I'm after something specific because I never find what I'm looking for."

Demi Moore
 "There's something very womanly about her and she's got a bit of everything - she's attractive, pretty and sexy, even though all her features might not be absolutely perfect. I think she's beautiful."