In a tiny dressing room at Rockefeller Center, Mel B decompresses after co-hosting "The Today Show" while a stylist curls her hair.
As a judge on NBC's "America's Got Talent," she stands her ground against Howard Stern. As Scary Spice of the Spice Girls, she was in one of the world's most popular bands and commanded huge stages. And she aced "Dancing with the Stars" as a finalist.
But reading from a teleprompter and worrying about flubbing a name had her genuinely nervous. And a half-hour with Mel B gives the impression that she is genuine: one of those rare people who simply says what she is thinking and doesn't hunt for a politically correct answer or check with her publicist before speaking.
"I'm just inappropriate," she tells Zap2it. "You never know what will come out of my mouth."
She swings her beige Louboutins, visibly relaxing. In a little while, she'll head home to Los Angeles to her husband and children.
Within a few weeks, she would return to Manhattan for "America's Got Talent" live shows. So far, Mel B was impressed with the magic acts and danger acts, particularly with a 45-year-old unicyclist who could flip glass balls with her feet.
Having also been a judge on Australia's "The X Factor," she's admittedly also "a little disillusioned with those who think they are better than they are," she says. "Why are you wasting our time? On audition day, they get 90 seconds, and some absolutely fall apart."
She's not dismissive or mean to hopefuls, and she remains very much a performer. "I just got out of my bad music contract," she says. "I wasn't allowed to do my own music for six years. I just got in the music studio over the weekend. I just want a hot R&B single or a sassy single to represent."
As far as singing, would she participate in another reunion of the Spice Girls?
"I always say 'yes.'"
The five women remain close. "Everybody is all over the place," she says, which makes it complicated to synchronize schedules.
"We did it last year for the Olympics," she says of the flashy closing ceremony number where they rode on top of taxis while singing their hit, "Wannabe."
She can also count Broadway on her list of world stages, having played Mimi in "Rent," but she has no desire to return. "Broadway is hard work," she says. "It is tough when you can't put your kids to bed. Broadway is full on."
However, she recently finished shooting a Lifetime Christmas movie and loved that. "I play this evil b****," she says, laughing.
She wrote a book and tried being a fashion entrepreneur with Catty Couture, a line of body-hugging animal-print designs, but "I didn't like how it was going, so I pulled it."
Given all of that, at 38 what goals are unmet?
"I want to get my music out there," she says. "And my own talk show - that would be nice."
Her youngest is a toddler, at 1, then she has a 6-year-old, a 9-year-old stepdaughter and a 14-year-old.
"She's a tomboy, and I want her to stay that way," she says. "I was a single parent with Phoenix the first seven years of her life."
Like most moms, she is happy to talk about her girls, and with the oldest one entering the danger zone for so many kids, Mel B has no compunction about saying she has her daughter's passwords and keeps tabs on her.
"I am on top of her. I can call her whenever. I am super-nosy, and I am not going to change. I am going to get more nosier!"
Photo/Video credit: NBC