? : HOW ARE THEY FAMOUS?

1996 was the year in which Famous For Being Famous became a truly valid reason for being really rather Famous. The various luminaries featured in the year's Why Are They Famous? spot did not get there by accident. There are some nifty routes to fame. Fifteen minutes never lasted so long ...

Main Method: Doing nothing. Achievement gets in the way of self-promotion. Tamara Beckwith, Tania Bryer, Mandy Smith, Sheryl Gazza and Paula Yates have no fixed profession in the mind of the public, but they do have very blonde hair.

Appearance: Blonde.

PR: Good fame junkies take on a PR to promote their lack of activity. Thus, if you want to interview Tamara about nothing in particular, you can contact her via her publicist. Max Clifford is the C2s' shop steward, ensuring the man on the street's viewpoint is heard by all who read The Sun. Mandy Allwood got a spanking new house out of her deal. Squabbling families, dubious sexual alliances, unstable pregnancies, you name it, Max can promote it. Publicist Liz Brewer does the Poshingtons and wannabe Poshingtons. Her clients have included Mona Bauwens (um, famous for having given MP David Mellor a holiday), and Ivana Trump (famous for having married and divorced someone named Trump).

Strip Show: Micro celebs are wearing ... less and less. Mostly nighties, in fact. Taking it one step further, Joan Collins's daughter Tara Newley, currently desperately seeking fame, Tamara Beckwith, plus several people we've never heard of, stripped off for this month's Tatler. They were protesting about the wearing of fur. Oh, right.

I do, I do: If you want to be really famous, get married. Who'd heard of "super" model Rachel Hunter before she married Rod Stewart?

I do, I do, Part II: If you haven't been in the papers for a few weeks, renew your vows on your perfectly good marriage, and Hello! will come along and treat it all perfectly seriously. See the above mentioned Rod and Rachel, after only five years. See also David "Baywatch" Hasselhoff, and novelist Barbara Taylor Bradford. In Hello!-speak this is a "Reaffirming of Vows" ceremony, and you're allowed to dress up just like the first time.

Animal Magic: Pose with animals, trees or vegetables. Remember Parents For Safe Food, a group campaigning against the spraying of apples, starring Pamela Stephenson? See also: actresses and poor people; models and tribal people.

Fame Prospects: You have to be a particularly vigorous, if not ruthless, self-publicist to keep up this kind of fame. We're talking soap opera here, after all. Problem is, most FFBFs are women. Could it be that men are valued for what they do, and women for what they look like? Could there be girlies who are churlishly taking advantage of disadvantage by getting off their kit and doing sod all else? Sort it out, sisters. 1997 will be the year of the rocket scientist.

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