Nicolette “Harden Up”

2000-nicolette-harden-upAlong with label mates Deep Obsession, Nicolette was another part of the Christopher Banks dance pop universe. Her debut single was a cover of “Blue Day” (video currently missing), and “Harden Up” was her first original single.

The song is an angry tirade (“I’m in a bad bad mood!”) about a man who done her wrong and the video starts off with Nicolette working out her anger in a kickboxing class. She’s joined by a group of people who actually look like the sort of people you’d expect to see in a kickboxing class. Everyone’s wearing ordinary gym gear, rather than any kind of fancy music video threads. There’s lots of formation kickboxing, and Nicolette does a few Sporty Spice kicks at the camera.

We leave the gym and get a series of fun “Harden Up” lessons, where Nicolette uses some self-defence techniques on four man-pests, including a guy in a rabbit costume who’s bothering her in bed. If some of the moves look impressively smooth, that’s because Nicolette’s day job was as a stuntwoman, famously playing the stunt double of Gabrielle in Xena.

Back in the kickboxing class, there’s an alarming sequence of three ladies rhythmically kicking three guys in the balls. Whoa.

The crazy thing about this video is that the while the gym class ‘nad attack is a fantasy, the four self-defence lessons actually use real techniques. Even though Nicolette is fending off comedy sex pests and love rats, the techniques she’s using are based on tricks that would work in real life. The song might tell the rogue lover to “harden up”, but the video is also encouraging women to harden up their self-defence skills. But don’t go attacking a nerdy workmate just because he spilled a drink on you.

Best bit: Nicolette’s perfect rockabilly chick look, pre-empting the mid ’00s revival.

Next… a national pastime.

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