In this week's issue of Grazia we celebrate Victoria Beckham's upcoming 40th birthday, with a 10-page VB special. In a Grazia exclusive we reveal what happened when shy teenager Victoria Adams called up photographer Holt for one of her first-ever photo shoots...
She'd go on to become a Spice Girl, one half of Brand Beckham and an internationally acclaimed designer – yet this set of never-before-seen pictures captures the then unknown Victoria Adams finding her way in the world.
The images were taken in March 1993, in the West London home of photographer Holt, who worked with many stage-school graduates at the time. The 19-year-old Victoria, then a graduate of Laine Theatre Arts School in Epsom, telephoned to arrange a day-long session to shoot the same kind of portfolio as many of her classmates.
She turned up with accessories – sunglasses and a belted mac. ‘She had clearly made a study of it,’ recalls Holt. ‘She arrived bang on time, and the moment we took the lens cap off, she was ready. This was before digital cameras, when every frame had to count – she was very aware of that.'
‘Victoria had an innate sense of how to project herself for the camera. It came from her dance training – it makes you very aware of what you look like in a mirror. She instinctively knew what looked good,’ the photographer adds. But besides having an ‘eye for proportion’ and knowing what suited her, there was no other hint that Victoria would become the fashion star she is now.
At the time, she told Holt her ambition was to be in the musical Cats. She was doing endless rounds of gruelling audition calls. ‘She didn’t want to be famous, she just wanted to do a job she loved,’ he recalls. ‘She wasn’t a show-off and certainly didn’t fancy herself – her attitude was that she didn’t think she was the most talented or gifted or beautiful person, but that if she worked hard, it’d give her an edge.’
Twenty-one years on, Holt says, ‘She had a quiet maturity beyond her years. From my time with her that day, I know that there is one simple reason for her success: focus and hard work.’
See Victoria Beckham's transition from Spice Girl to bona fide fashion icon in the gallery below...
- Kathryn Knight