Jade Goody isn't really known over here. But in Europe, she is the equivalent of Paris Hilton, albeit the working class version.
I have to say in all honesty, I never liked how she portrayed herself or how she was portrayed.
Appearing on Big Brother several years ago, she was a stand-out. She was loud, brash, abrasive and uneducated. She seemed to revel in her trashiness and lack of manners, and was forthcoming about her childhood, being raised by drug addicts and her incessant need for fame.
Reality shows in Britain are huge. Bigger than here in the States and their regular contestants become bona fide stars. Britain is comparatively small, but their tabloids and celebrity magazines are tenfold to the amount here in the U.S. The public simply cannot get enough. The reality "stars" become tabloid fodder, seen going to the hottest clubs, attending red carpet events. launching perfumes, books and clothing lines. It's almost dizzying, heading back to Ireland or England and gazing at the new faces of reality TV and the massive fame they garner.
Jade Goody won Big Brother and became a household name within days. She ended up with her own reality show, her own perfume line and was constantly in the tabloids, her various romances, make ups and break ups making headlines, as did her plastic surgeries. She also had her own column in a celebrity magazine where she made observations about stars, and took pot shots at celebrities she didn't like.
Her star fell when she entered Celebrity Big Brother and made racist comments against an Indian "Bollywood" actress and the country turned against her instantly. She was seen bullying the actress, making fun of her ethnicity and culture. Jade went from famous to infamous in a few short hours.
Relations between the United Kingdom and India actually became strained. Such is the power of reality television over there!
Jade tried to regain public support by going on Big Brother India a few years later. Live on camera, she received a call from the United Kingdom that told her she has cervical cancer and that it was spreading rapidly.
Most people felt it was a stunt and called her a publicity hound, and worse. Her reputation seemed every more sullied.
But it turned out to be true. Not only that, but her cervical cancer has spread and she is now weeks from dying. Doctors have informed her that she is terminal and there is no further treatment available. She has two boys under the age of five.
She has now launched another reality show - documenting her death. Some support her, calling her show an attempt to both support her sons after her death, and to bring attention to early testing for cervical cancer.
Others shake their heads and complain that her hunger for fame has not even been quenched by a death sentence.
While I can't backtrack and suddenly say I find Jade Goody to be the poster child for class and elegance - I'm not sure how I feel about her new reality show.
Her childhood was desperately sad and she has no education. She has no other means to make money for her children so if this is the only way to ensure their future, who are we to criticize? And if she encourages even one woman to get a pap test, then that's one woman less who may face cervical cancer.
On the other hand, she has made a lot of money and it's likely her children will be fairly secure, regardless. She will be married this weekend to her on/off again boyfriend who was just released from jail. A glossy magazine is paying her more than $1 million. Maybe, as many editorials have suggested, she should pick up her dignity and go home to spend her last days with her children, in a dignified and private matter.
Several media outlets have already paid her for "end-of-life" story. Prime Minister Gordon Brown spoke about her in his monthly address. One way or the other, she has captivated a nation.
Are you aware of this story? What do you think of it? Will this bring cervical cancer the attention it needs in Britain and elsewhere or is this a rather shameful grab at publicity and we, as the public, should avert our eyes?
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