Former SPICE GIRL Emma Bunton is defending her sexy new image, after a pop rival called her "desperate".

The blonde pop babe's feud began when Kerry McFadden, wife of Westlife's BRYAN and former girlband member, denounced 27-year-old Emma's new look as an obvious attempt to claw her way back into the charts.

Good-natured Bunton refused to hit out at former glamour model Kerry, but says, "Who's Kerry McFadden anyway? She used to be in Atomic Kitten, but that's it.

"Well, she's entitled to her opinion, but my new look feels like a natural progression. It's all about growing up."

She adds, "My new image is sexy, but not sexual. People tend to forget I'm 27 - I'm a woman now and it's natural for me to be a bit raunchier. I don't think I'd ever do full nudity, I just wouldn't be comfortable, but fair play to women that are."

A friend of the singer's explains, "It's a bit of a double standard.

"I think Emma's annoyed that Kerry can openly admit she did those topless pictures, because they got her where she is today."

26/05/2003 16:54