Fergie Says Early Criticism From Black Eyed Peas Fans Made Her 'Hungrier'

'A lot of people said it was my fault that they were taken out of the underground,' she recalls of joining the group.

Being the lone girl in the [artist id="30064"]Black Eyed Peas[/artist] wasn't the biggest obstacle [artist id="1234831"]Fergie[/artist] had to overcome when she joined the band back in 2003; it was convincing the fans that she belonged there that really posed a problem for the singer.

"When I first joined, there were a lot of people who didn't know what to make of me, and they'd been a fan of Black Eyed Peas being an underground hip-hop band," she said in the Women in Music issue of Elle. "Then I come in, and the first song we released when I was in the band was 'Where Is the Love?' with Justin Timberlake. So when that hit all the crossover markets, a lot of people said it was my fault that they were taken out of the underground."

Instead of letting the harsh words get to her, she used it as motivation, and as the group's subsequent success shows, it worked. "I had to read a lot of criticism," she said. "But it only made me hungrier."

Fergie, who admits to trashing her bandmates' hotel rooms while on tour, has always had a tomboy spirit. And it's only since becoming a Pea that she's learned to embrace her femininity.

"When I first joined the Peas, I didn't ever want to wear a skirt. I was in a kind of hard-edge point in my life, rough around the edges, collecting unemployment and living at my mom's," she said. "I wasn't in a girly mood at all. But finally, when 'Hey Mama' came around, the guys persuaded me to wear a skirt."

She added that "once I did, it was kind of fun and flirty, and I started exploring that part of my personality again."

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