NEW YORK — Her voice is certifiably diva strength, but Fergie, sole female member of the fabulously over-the-top hip-hop group the Black Eyed Peas, will have to forgo the diva-like behavior, at least for now. After all, she’s traveling on a tour bus with 12 guys.

“Sometimes, if the venue allows it, I’ll get a separate dressing room, so that I can change freely without having to kick everybody out,” says Fergie, who joined the band last April. “But usually, I’ll have to change in the bathroom.” The guys, of course, tease her about having too much luggage and taking too long to get dressed. But Fergie hasn’t let a lack of accommodations or any amount of ribbing stop her from coming up with some seriously fun looks. And her stage style, which started out big and baggy, is getting sexier by the day.

This story first appeared in the November 20, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“When I first joined the band, I didn’t want to be this little feminine thing that didn’t fit in,” she says. “As I got more comfortable with my place in the group, I started being able to add a little bit more feminine flair.” These days she mixes in D&G and Roberto Cavalli with her Volcom skater basics, low-riding Dickies, hoodies and hip-hop gear, then tops it all off with a load of gold jewelry.

Still, the other members of Black Eyed Peas, including, who launched his own clothing line, clothing, last year, don’t worry about being upstaged by Fergie’s fashion. Their own performance regalia is just as flashy as anything she can muster. “We’re all very fashion conscious and like to get very creative with what we wear,” she says, calling from the rowdy tour bus. “We put thought into it and we don’t want to look like everybody else.”

Fergie, 28, grew up outside of Los Angeles and was a child actor on the TV show, “Kids Incorporated,” where she learned plenty from the stylist before becoming a singer. As a teenager, however, she admits she made some severe fashion mistakes. “Everybody who likes to take risks with what they’re wearing goes through that,” she says. “I had the whole Eighties kinky perm and, like, 5-inch-high bangs. My mom said I would regret it, but I teased them higher because she said that.”

Though she put her solo career on hold while recording the “Elephunk” album with the Black Eyed Peas and touring with the group in Europe, where they’re Justin Timberlake’s opening act, after the band’s U.S. tour, the Peas will help Fergie record her own album.

But for now she’s enjoying her time with the boys on the bus. “I’ve definitely lost weight,” she says. “When we have shows every night, I can eat a little more, and when I’m in shape I show off a bit.

“When I joined the band, I didn’t want it to be like, ‘Oh, who’s the hot chick in the band?’” she adds. “Now that people know who I am, I can show a bit more skin.”

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