While there was some speculation that Gwen Stefani’s 2005 hit song “Hollaback Girl” was all about Courtney Love, who slammed the Love. Angel. Music. Baby, singer, producer Pharrell Williams had someone else in mind: supermodel Naomi Campbell. “You told somebody who, was like, trying to speak to you or whatever you were like ‘I’m sorry I have a name, like, I’m not no hollaback girl’ and I thought that was so amazing and that ended up being the chorus to Hollaback Girl,” Williams told Campbell on her YouTube series, No Filter, on Tuesday, March 2. Campbell responded: “I don’t know who I was talking to, I guess they deserved it.”
When the song was released, Stefani earned her first number one song, and shared the song was the perfect way for her to assert control over her narrative. “I was being bullied by someone and was being called a cheerleader, which was a bad thing!” Stefani remembered in a 2019 Billboard interview celebrating the 15th anniversary of her first solo album, Love. Angel. Music. Baby. “Growing up, that was not cool. I thought I was the opposite of that. I told Pharrell we should write a song about that.”
Now, Stefani never said Love publicly by name as the culprit but Billboard points to an interview Love did with Seventeen magazine in 2004, where Love had said the following: “Being famous is just like being in high school. But I’m not interested in being the cheerleader. I’m not interested in being Gwen Stefani. She’s the cheerleader, and I’m out in the smoker shed. And plenty of you are out there in the smoker shed too. When it comes to rock ‘n’ roll, it’s just like high school.” Well, okay then.
Can you keep up? Courtney Love inspired the actual song and music video (check it out below) and Naomi Campbell, according to Pharrell Williams, inspired the chorus. Yeah, this sh*t is bananas — B.A.N.A.N.A.S.