I wasn’t going to do this.  But I can’t resist–it really upset me.

Last night, right before hitting the hay, the husband and I watched part of a Family Guy episode on BBC Three. Afterwards, another programme came on, and like a car wreck, I had to take a look. It was called ‘Glamour Models, My Mum and Me’, and was part of BBC Three’s Adult Season’s ‘My Mum and Me’ series. Enough to grab anyone’s interest, huh?

Alicia and Georgia Douvall, copyright BBC Three

I thought to myself, this isn’t going to be like what I think it will be like.

It was. It totally was.

Then I thought this has to be a put on, this isn’t real.

But it was, apparently (I’m going to be saying ‘apparently a lot–get used to it). It WAS.

Basically, glamour model/sometimes reality TV star Alicia Douvall wants her 14-year old daughter to be a glamour model too. More than that, she wants young Georgia to get a boob job as soon as she hits 16, because Alicia believes it worked out well for Britney Spears. Also, Alicia’s career advice is ‘do topless’, because apparently it is guaranteed to get anyone more work and make them a celebrity instantly–Alicia names Jordan (Katie Price) as a good example of this.

Alicia Douvall made a name for herself following that advice, as well as selling ‘kiss-and-tell’ stories to the tabloids concerning her relationships with various celebrities. In an interview dated to last year, Alicia admits that her desire for plastic surgery has become an addiction. Indeed, Douvall has been diagnosed with body dysmorphic disorder (BDD).

“I’ve had 15 boob jobs. I’ve changed my eyes and nose, had facelifts. My philosophy is ‘if it can be changed, it will be’. It’s got to the stage where doctors in Britain refuse to treat me any more, so I’ve been flying to the US for surgery and lying about my medical history.”

It seems like, based on this limited view of their lives, that Alicia wants her daughter to feel the same way about herself.

Georgia has realised she really likes acting, and school. She states at the beginning of the episode that she would like to be an actress or an architect…or a glamour model. The latter seems to be more from her mother’s pressuring. However, the press had a field day 2 years ago when Georgia’s name was changed to ‘Destiny’, the name Alicia said she originally chose, but her own mother said was a lap dancer’s name. In this same round of press, Georgia apparently states that she wants to have surgery and be a glamour model. Now, at 14, she’s rethinking that.

Later scenes show Alicia, doing what I can only describe as ‘tarting up’ her daughter and teaching her how to pose for the camera. When Georgia shows her mother her chemistry book, Alicia states that it’s not worth Georgia’s time as its useless and ‘commonsense’.

Alicia needs to get her boob job fixed, and decides to go to America. Taking Georgia with her, she gets turned down by a bunch of plastic surgeons in LA (Alicia’s supposedly had over 100 surgeries) and ends up at a surgeon’s office in Tennessee. The 3-week trip reduces Georgia to tears because she’s missing so much school and is worried she won’t be able to catch up–something her mother neither cares about or believes important.

In the end, I’m not saying Alicia Douvall is a bad mother. That’s harsh, and not something that should EVER be said lightly or jokingly. It was the comments that pricked me, the idea she had that her daughter didn’t need much else because she was pretty. From what I’ve read, Alicia had a tough life growing up, and has since wanted to change her look because of that. The low self-esteem has now turned into ‘Fake it, til you make it’. While Georgia seems sensible now, this was only a window into their everyday lives, and an edited one at that. She’s only 14, and may change her mind again. As long as its her mind that’s making the decision, because whatever she wants to be–architect, actress, or glamour model–it should be her choice, not her mother’s.

UPDATE: This blog entry is actually given as a ‘buzz’ reference on the BBC website!

5 responses »

  1. Wow, I thought America had cornered the “horrifying exploitation of children” market — we have many, many shows about children’s beauty pageants — but I guess I was wrong. In some ways this is no different than the students I had whose parents had told them they were going to be lawyers, doctors, whatever, or those teen Olympic athletes who go on to write books about how it wasn’t really their idea to practice obsessively and now they’re bitter because they missed out on being actual teenagers.

    Basically, being a kid means you don’t have autonomy, and parents are going to make some decisions for you; it’s just a question of how many/which ones. But trying to push a kid into going topless and having plastic surgery really wigs me out. I’m not sure I’d hold off on the “bad mother” thing.

    • athenapearl says:

      I agree with the vice-versa scenario. I think this is also an extreme version of things one learns from their mother, or mother-figure anyway. I think what your mother teaches you, good or bad, takes root and effects your life. I worry that this girl is going to have low self-esteem and a lack of self-worth because she’s being told that her only attribute is being pretty. That her only goal should be to be pretty…and top-less. Even if she rebels against that attitude and way of life, it will still stick with her that that’s what her mother wanted for her.

  2. i always seek career advice from my parents and from industry professionals…

  3. vanity leads to more plastic surgery procedures. people are becoming more conscious about their appearance ~;-

  4. Ollie says:

    Not the best role model around, although it looks like her child will not follow the same path.

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