ALIVE Cover Story: Fergie
The Black Eyed Peas multi-talented frontwoman gets vocal about her solo projects, her sexy marriage and her fashion-focused St. Louis connection.
While some fans favor “Fergalicious,” most know her simply as Fergie, and no longer preface her name with her expertise, as was common in 2002. At the time, the singer was still teetering on household-name-status as the newest member of The Black Eyed Peas. An entertainer since starring on “Kids, Incorporated” at age 9, Fergie (born Stacy Ferguson) had spent a decade in on-the-brink pop group Wild Orchid before established Peas members Will.i.am, Apl.de.ap and Taboo came knocking.
Today, an intricate ingredient in the Peas’ total “phunk,” Fergie owns her name like she owns the stage. In fact, it seems there isn’t an audience she can’t win over. In 2006, she braved her first solo album, “The Dutchess,” which resulted in five top-five singles and sales that have exceeded six million copies. And just last year, she held her own as an actress alongside Hollywood’s most revered thespians in Academy Award-nominated “Nine.”
Currently on the North American leg of a sold-out 100-date concert tour, The E.N.D. World Tour, which stopped in STL last month, Fergie recently took a break from “one-handed flips” to chat with me about her several in-the-works projects, including her next Fergie and Fergalicious footwear collections with St. Louis-based Brown Shoe. Although I had already known her to be a burgeoning (at minimal) triple threat, she made it clear that she had out-powered any negativity in her life (including the allegations of her husband’s infidelity that plagued the tabloids last fall) and was excitedly focused on her promising road ahead. All hail The Dutchess.
ALIVE: With St. Louis a recent stop on your “The E.N.D. World Tour,” what do you bet STL fans are still talking about?
Fergie: Taboo’s motorcycle ride [was] a pretty cool part of the show, and—at one point—Will.I.Am [turned] the arena into one big dance club.
ALIVE: So, what’s it like being the only girl member of The Black Eyed Peas?
Fergie: Being the only girl in The Black Eyed Peas is like traveling with a giant fraternity. It’s also like having the big brothers I had always wanted when I was younger.
ALIVE: Had you ever rapped before joining the group?
Fergie: Yes, but only in the privacy of my own home because I was embarrassed to do it publicly. I have always loved hip-hop, though—and have always been a fan of JJ Fad, Roxanne Shante, Queen Latifah and Salt-N-Pepa.
ALIVE: Can you identify your “made it” moment?
Fergie: It was when [The Black Eyed Peas] got to perform in Brazil on New Year’s Eve in 1997. We were in front of one million people on Ipanema Beach; it was a sea of people.
ALIVE: How did your bandmates react to your making a solo album [“The Dutchess,” 2006]?
Fergie: The Peas were very supportive because they knew it was a dream of mine, and I had always been clear about that.
ALIVE: Your other “solo” projects include collaborations with such artists as Slash, Justin Timberlake and Heart. Who’s next?
Fergie: All of the artists I have collaborated with have been special and different in many ways. There are a lot people I would still like to work with, especially in the rock world—but I would have to have the time to commit.
ALIVE: In what ways would you say you’ve changed since you were in [girl group] Wild Orchid [1990-2001]?
Fergie: In Wild Orchid, I wanted every note to be perfect, where as now I find beauty in the imperfection in songs. And my style is constantly evolving; I get bored easily with the same styles.
ALIVE: Speaking of style, your Fergie and Fergalicious footwear brands will be featured on the Saint Louis Fashion Week runways this month [September 7-11]. Tell me about your involvement in the creative process.
Fergie: As I travel, I take pictures of different shoes, fabrics and art pieces and send them [to Brown] via email so they know the current ideas that are inspiring me. They then send me back ideas on how they’ll translate my ideas into a shoe.
ALIVE: Why did you decide to collaborate with St. Louis-based Brown Shoe?
Fergie: Brown Shoe is a very solid company that’s been around for years; I knew them as Buster Brown as a child.
ALIVE: Who are your Fergie and Fergalicious footwear customers?
Fergie: My customers are like [The Black Eyed Peas’] fans; there is no age, no nationality, no sexual preference [you can pinpoint]. It’s a girl who is confident and who can look at shoes and know which is best for her.
ALIVE: In addition, you’ve launched a new fragrance with Avon. Tell me about “Outspoken.”
Fergie: It’s a sensual, fruity, floral fragrance with notes of absolute tuberose, iced berries and black leather to give it a rock ‘n’ roll twist. It’s “Outspoken” because I wanted to stress confidence and not being afraid to say or do what you feel.
ALIVE: Your fans are definitely following your acting career as well. What was it like playing Saraghina in “Nine.”
Fergie: Saraghina was a fun character to play. She was all about living life to the fullest.
ALIVE: Your body has always been amazing, even with the 17 extra pounds for “Nine.” What are you currently doing to stay so fit?
Fergie: My workouts vary between exercising with my trainer at home, with the Don-A-Matrix [training program] and, on the road, with our security director Pascal Duvier. Or I will do P90X or Insanity DVD workouts in my hotel room. Also, when I’m in America, I have Diet Designs deliver food to my hotel, which helps me maintain healthy eating.
Alive: I’ve seen pap shots of you jogging with your husband [actor Josh Duhamel], too. Both with busy careers, what’s your secret for making it work?
Fergie: The secret for making it work is honesty, lots of sex and making sure we don’t go more than two weeks without seeing each other. And, did I mention iChat?
Multi-talented superstar Fergie
Shoes from Fergie’s line of footwear “Fergie”
Fergie performing with the Black Eyed Peas
Shoes from Fergie’s line of footwear “Fergie”
Shoes from Fergie’s line of footwear “Fergalicious”
Photo credit: Photos Courtesy Of Brown Shoe