It’s been 20 years since Belinda Chapple, Sophie Monk, Sally Polihronas, Katie Underwood and Tiffani Wood formed Bardot and released the #1 hit Poison.
Listen to the full interview below
The show launched in 1999, with Bardot’s first release in 2000.
“A lot happens in 20 years,” former Bardot member Belinda Chapple told 7NEWS.com.au.
“It is such a long time ago, but the memories are pretty strong. It was such an incredible time and the fans were just amazing and we had a lot of them,” she said.
The band only lasted two years, spawning two albums and six top-10 hits.
But their legacy continues 20 years on, with a new generation of fans discovering Bardot’s music as it was made available for streaming.
“The surprising thing for me was actually the new Bardot fans, and I’ll call them neo-Bardot fans,” Katie Underwood told 7NEWS.com.au.
“It seems that this group of people in their 20s have rediscovered both Popstars and Bardot, sort of decades after the fact, and are just as excited now about it because, actually, it’s fresh for them,” she said.
Back in 1999, Popstars became the first large-scale talent show to document the evolution of a vocal group, from first auditions to debut single.
The judges back then were radio host Jackie O, Warner Music boss Chris Moss and talent manager Michael Napthali.
There was no glossy set, no celebrity mentors and no audience voting – it was just three judges whittling down thousands of wannabe popstars to the most talented to form a girl group.
“I’d never auditioned for anything before, so the entire process was totally alien, but, I think that served me well,” Underwood said.
“I just kind of went into it and thought, ‘well I’ve got nothing to lose’.
“It was just kind of strange and interesting, and I guess I’m always inclined to give anything a go at least once.”
Chapple had previously auditioned for another Australian girl group.
“I did audition for Girlfriend, which was signed to BMG (Records), and that was even more of a grueling audition, but it wasn’t filmed,” Chapple said.
“But the process was just surreal because of the cameras and the sheer number of girls who turned up to audition around the country.”
The final band members selected were Belinda Chapple, Sophie Monk, Sally Polihronas, Katie Underwood and Chantelle Barry.
But accusations of theft saw Barry replaced with Tiffani Wood just weeks into recording their debut album.
Poison soon went to #1 on the ARIA charts, and the five members of Bardot were officially thrust into the spotlight.
“I think I definitely suffered a little bit, especially afterwards with, a little bit of a delayed anxiety – it was just all a lot,” Chapple said.
“Every now and then I would get sad,” Underwood said.
“I remember missing my family and friends quite a lot, not being from Sydney and suddenly moving there with no possibility of seeing, or even having the time to speak to anyone that I knew,” she said.
“I think that was probably the thing that I found the hardest – I think that’s part of the reason I was happy to step out of the fame game for quite some time, because there are lots of parts of that game – and it is a game – that I just didn’t enjoy.”
In 2001, Underwood shocked fans by walking away from the band.
“I think anybody will say that we can only ever make the best decision that we think at the time,” she said.
“To go back and say, ‘could I have done differently?’ ‘Had I stayed for the second album, would it have been better?’ ‘Would I have been happier?’ ‘Would Bardot have been more or less successful? It’s all just speculation, so I don’t regret the move that I made, because I thought I was doing the best thing for me at that time.
“Beyond that, I don’t know, there’s managers, I probably wouldn’t have hired again, there’s record labels I might not have signed with again, you know, there’s lots of things…
“Any musician will tell you that they’ve all made mistakes along the way, but we learn from them, so I don’t regret any of it.
She didn’t completely walk away from music though, working with Disco Montego on the hit singles Beautiful and Magic, and releasing her solo single Danger.
But the four remaining band members pressed on with their second album, Play It Like That.
“Even though, obviously when she (Katie) left it was sad, we were just so busy,” Chapple said.
“Obviously I always adored Katie, so there was a missing part of the band, but there’s still four girls, sort of going on, doing what we did.”
Just a year later, the rest of the band parted ways and Bardot was no more.
Where are they now?
While Underwood isn’t in the pop charts, she has been keeping herself extremely busy.
“I had children, so that took me like off every radar known to man for at least five years,” she said.
“I re-trained as a massage therapist and then moved into meditation teaching. And now, I’ve now become prolific in a totally new musical genre, which is making meditation music and mantra music.
“So I’m currently sitting in the studio, recording my fifth independent, full-length album of mantra, meditation music.”
Chapple has spent the last few years in Singapore working as an interior designer.
“Interior design was something that I always wanted to do and I had always put it off,” she said.
“Starting something brand new is always scary, but I went back and studied and started my own interior design business about four years ago.
“So that’s what I do these days and I love it.”
As she revealed to The Morning Show earlier this year, Tiffani Wood is now a mother of six kids – with five of them under the age of six.
She’s also running a singing school.
Earlier this year, Sophie Monk requested not to be tagged or featured in any Bardot reunion posts.
The release of Bardot’s greatest hits will come as a shock to many, but it’s the fans that have been asking for it.
“We have a friend from the industry, Joe Dadic, and it was all his idea basically … he made it happen and that’s why we’re releasing it,” Chapple told 7NEWS.com.au.
“We were like ‘what a great idea’, so I helped him with the design and that kind of thing.”
“We’re really, really happy with how it turned out and the fans are really enjoying it, and that’s the main thing,” Chapple said.
“I think in an age where things are so mass-produced, it’s quite a rare delight to get something that is really exclusive and really unique and really special,” Underwood said.
“This is definitely that, and I think in the absence of an official Bardot reunion, I think it’s a really wonderful way to have celebrated our 20th anniversary year and really give something back to the fans.”
Rumours of a Bardot reunion, even without Sophie and Sally continue to swirl.
“Between COVID travel bans, family commitments and our businesses, I don’t know it would have happened anyway,” Chapple said.
Even though there are no current plans for a reunion, both say it’s never off the cards.
“Look, never say never … but no, nothing, nothing on the cards,” said Chapple.
“Maybe we’ll pitch for a 25th anniversary year”
“I think there was a willingness there, but logistics let us down,” Underwood said.
“So who knows…maybe we’ll pitch for a 25th anniversary year.”
Until then, you can pre-order Bardot’s limited edition Greatest Hits on pink and blue vinyl from GOATnation.
Listen to the full interview: