Review: The Girl in the Band by Belinda Chapple

One of the first reality television programmes in Australia was Popstars and, as many would know, the girl band that the television programme created, Bardot, was exceptionally popular and sadly short-lived. The Girl in the Band is the memoir of Belinda Chapple, one of the five young women who out of the thousands of talented hopefuls gained a spot in the band. For Chapple the band, and the show, was not what she hoped it would be. She soon found herself exhausted, struggling with body image and earning just thirty-five dollars a day. 

The Girl in the Band is an interesting glimpse into the entertainment industry. Chapple details her experiences, with false starts, all kinds of unusual gigs and then an opportunity of a lifetime that soon turned sour for her. The memoir showcases the fickle, ruthless nature of the industry and how big dreams can so easily be shattered. There is a bit of behind the scenes gossip, though fortunately the author refrains from being mean or cruel, even though from her perspective she was very much stabbed in the back by one of her bandmates.

This one is very short, though it makes for interesting reading. On a personal level I remember not only when the series aired, but there was a lot of talk in the time leading up to it. I recall a top rating local radio station talking about how the Adelaide auditions for the show were happening that day, and how Jackie O, who at the time was co-host of the Hot 30 Countdown was somehow involved. In other words, something big was happening. Then the show aired and it became a huge phenomenon. I was at an age where I felt like I was a bit too cool for it, yet still wanted to know everything that was going on--I didn't own the album, but I knew all of the songs, and I just "happened" to be passing and found myself in the crowd when they performed at Marion Shopping Centre. I always thought of Belinda Chapple as the band member with the amazing smile. My heart breaks knowing what I do now, that it wasn't a great experience for her. Chapple speaks honestly about her experiences. I found the writing itself to be very sanitised and light--in many ways it feels like an extended article from a magazine like That's Life

An interesting glimpse into the career of someone who was at the forefront of reality television. 



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