TV Hits, December 1994

In The Hot Seat

Eternal's Vernie & Kéllé

Are they really best mates? How loyal are they to their fans? And would they leave the group if they were offered mega solo deals? Kéllé and Vernie take the Hot Seat test.

Has success gone to your heads?
Kéllé: No! I've got nothing to be big-headed about 'cause I know I've got a long way to go and a lot of work ahead. I'm not the kind of person to get big headed but, if one of us does, there's always three others to say, 'Sort your life out'!
Vernie: It's only been a year since we had our first hit so it's not like we can't remember what it's like to be up 'n' coming. We've been so busy that we haven't had time to get egos anyway.

C'mon, you must have changed a bit!?
Kéllé: Well, yeah there have been times. Like I said to our stylist the other day 'I can't wear that waistcoat again, I wore it on a TV show'. He just went, 'Excuse me, there are hundreds of starving people in the world and you're worried about wearing a waistcoat twice?' I was like, 'Oh my God, yeah!'
Vernie: The only thing that I'd say had changed in me is that I have less time to see friends - we never have days off and, when we do, we're always in the wrong place to enjoy them.

Would you go solo if you were offered a mega-buck deal?
Kéllé: No, I'm not interested in going solo at all. We're a group and that's the way we like things to be. Acting would be the thing I'd want to do but that'd be something I would do after Eternal has finished, not before. Serious acting, I'm not a comedy actress. I'd like to do serious movie acting or a Boomerang sort of thing.
Vernie: At the moment I have no intention of leaving the group, I'm happy where I am. But this is a career, not only for me but for the other girls, and I think that if something like that did happen the others would just move along. It'd have to be a very good deal though - not so much the money, more the quality of the deal.

Are you jealous of groups like En Vogue and Salt 'n' Pepa?
Kéllé: When we got together we didn't think 'We wanna be like En Vogue,' or, 'We wanna be like Salt 'n' Pepa,' - we didn't have that image in our minds. We just wanted to be accepted for being us.
Vernie: I really don't like it when people compare us to other groups. If you look at the other groups they present themslves in a much more sexy way but we prefer to let the music come first. We never look at other groups and try to be like them though.

Are you embarrassed about anything you've done with Eternal?
Kéllé: Plenty! But I really didn't like the way I had my hair for Stay. It was gross and I hated it! I'm happy with it now but then it was quite long, down to the centre of my back in a middle parting. It was so gross.
Vernie: I'm not embarrassed about anything we've done musically but I like our image a lot more now! I think the colours in the Stay video are awful and we'd have done it differently now but it worked, so we can't complain.

Would you stop to sign an autograph if it meant you missed a train?
Kéllé: Well I'd say, 'If you run with me, I'll sign it while I'm running!' Or, 'Get on the train with me then we can sit down and chat!' That would be fine because our fans are really nice people. They're not pests, they don't get on our nerves. They're more like, 'Oh hi, how'ya doin'? We like your music!' We don't get anyone trying to rip our clothes off!
Vernie: If I had to catch the train for a very important work reason, I would have to catch it, just the same way everybody has to make sure they keep their job.

Who's the group's leader?
Kéllé: There's a leader in everything. I mean, when it comes to vocals it's definitely Vernie because she's very musical and did all the vocal arrangements on the album. I'm the leader when it comes to dancing because I was a dance instructor, so the other girls respect my judgement in that area. We're all leaders in our own fields.
Vernie: Easther's the organiser! She can tell us what we're doing in three weeks time and the rest of us don't even know what we're doing tomorrow.

Have you ever met a famous person you didn't like?
Kéllé: Of course I have, but not tell you, ha ha ha! Usually what I find is, the bigger the star, the nicer the person. The ones that have just become famous are the worst because it shoots straight to their heads.
Vernie: The type of people that we meet seem to be mostly soul musicians - like Boyz II Men - and they're really nice.

Is it hard being black in showbiz?
Kéllé: Well, yes - we live in a racist society. But people hear the music and love that first, then they see the image and think, 'They're doing something positive!'
Vernie: In Europe people stick to their own kind - usually white - that's obvious in the magazines. It's just that black actors and musicians don't get the same opportunities as white people here in Britain.