herald

Saturday 20 December 2014

Girls, stop bitching about our stars... these women work hard for a living

Claudine Keane. Waist like a fairy. Eyes like a fawn. And the brain of a stockbroker.

What a package. As promising and with as much potential as the Ireland soccer captain's CV. No wonder they're a frontline force.

I was in a waiting room this week, watching two women pour over a magazine spread of her. One said to the other: "But look, I bet those aren't real, and neither are those and ... "

They swapped bitching sticks until one of them was called into see the dentist. I hope she got a root canal treatment.

The other one put the spread down and puffed out a big green smoke cloud of jealousy before getting her fangs into another successful Irish female -- Sile Seoige. She stored up the venom until her friend came back, with a swab of cotton wool in her mouth and a dazed expression.

"That one only got the job because she had a sister ... "

It doesn't matter that Sile was well established as television presenter in her own right, before teaming up with Grainne, it doesn't matter that she does a good job and has her own screen identity.

What really matters to these kind of women is that they are not doing it. They're just flicking over glossy pages deciding who to assassinate this time. And fair enough, I do it all the time with the hopeless reality show has- beens who appear on the middle and end pages of such magazines; going to the premiere of a new beans advert wearing couture bum fluff and expensive boob jobs. Famous only for having flossed their teeth in public and lost their temper on camera with another narcissist.

But where there's talent and where women, and particularly Irish women, get ahead, you have to put away the gossip cannon and start clapping.

Not these two. You could taste the bitterness of their own lives. And then I remembered, it's almost Halloween. So the witches are circling this week's full moon.

Gifted

Now Claudine Keane and Sile Seoige have no interest in what two carpers have to say about their good fortune and the hard work that went into making it. I just get distressed when I see successful, talented, beautiful women being given down the banks by those who fail to invest emotionally in their own lives, and see those that have grafted and are gifted visibly improving theirs.

Anyone who's got half an ounce of sense knows that these kind of women are swans -- beautiful and composed on the surface and pedalling like mad underneath.

I know what goes into being one of these women, not in person, but in observance. I had lunch with a friend of mine who was eating a brownie and feasting in the fact she could. She works in film and television, with actors and presenters and she finds them very self-obsessed and very boring.

"They just talk all the time about what they eat. An ounce put on is a job lost. And they're very sure that very soon they're going to be very famous. More famous than God. I think it's because they have to audition at least once a week. When they walk into a room, before they even open their mouths, they're told: 'Too fat, too short, too dark, too blonde, too this, too that.'

It takes a monumental ego to deal with that kind of visible rejection. Of course, you're going to turn in on yourself and tell yourself you're the best thing since the invention of the brownie. There's a lot of hard work and self discipline goes into being that unemployed."

Then she had the last of her cake, with cream on it, and went back to a working life watching a handful of egotists swimming in their fishbowl, gaping for the cameras they can't do without.

It's nice to be one of the world's incognitos, but it's easy to see why so many seek a public life in entertainment. If you make it to the stage of being papped, then the impression is you've also got enough money to stay looking that beautiful and being that successful. The truth is less cushy. I know so-called 'top' models whose earnings would be outstripped by minimum wage workers.

OK, they're working fewer hours, but they're not getting as many of them. Unless you're at the top of the tree, the chances are you're making a fee, the agency you're with takes their cut and you're left with enough to feed yourself and a cat. But only a small one.

Reality

Still, there are some like Claudine Keane and the Seoiges who make it big because they thought big and they worked hard, not only on their image, but in reality.

It gave me great pleasure to pass the Jealous Sisters in the waiting room. My dentist told me I needed nothing done. They were waiting for a few minutes so the cotton swab could be left behind. In case their image was ruined for the cameras outside? I don't think so. They were back to picking over Claudine Keane.

"What does he see in her?" One asked the other.

"A first class degree in economics," I said.

Last I saw of them they were doing a very good impression of gaping fish.

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