WHY ARE THEY FAMOUS? NO 13: TARA PALMER-TOMKINSON

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The Independent Culture
Main Claim: Absolutely f--- all (see Tamara Beckwith). Original reason for appearances in Hello! - erm, her parents know Prince Charles. That seems to be it. Combine with huge lashings of self-obsession, an eye for a photo opportunity, and the current media fixation with WAlFs (Why Am I Famous?), and hey presto! An unremarkable Sloane becomes a celebrity. Tara is arguably the plainest of the Milk Maids (girls who milk every occasion for publicity), but the best connected. While Tamara causes paroxysms of irritation, Tara merely inspires mildly nauseated bemusement.

Appearance: Someone's pest of a younger brother. Shouty girl from the Lower Fourth. Large- jawed hockey captain.

It Factor: Tara is featured on the cover of this month's Tatler as an "It Girl". There has been much of a to-do. An It Girl personifies the spirit of the moment. The others - Caprice Bourret, Normandie Keith, Christina Estrada et al - have looks, and La Beckwith owns a healthy sense of irony. "I never used to think much about being an "It" Girl," says Tara, "but I am reminded of it every time I go into a newsagent and see Tatler." Yes, dear.

15 Minutes: Tara is the true personification of Famous for being Famous. "I need to escape from all the attention - the paparazzi make life very difficult sometimes," she says. So why did she court them in the first place? Trouble from a stalker is also adding to her problems.

Holly Golightly: Tara often mentions her favourite book, Breakfast At Tiffany's. Ah, that novel about a charismatic good-time girl of waif-like body and delicate beauty? Enough said.

Beauty vs Brains: As a good Milk Maid, Tara whinges about being taken seriously. Like Tamara, she wants us to know she has brains as well as beauty. Beauty? "I went round all the modelling agencies when I left school and none of them wanted to know," she says. Well quelle surprise. Tara's mother was a model, and sister Santa (the one that's not a publicity junkie) is actually quite beautiful.

Column Inches: Tara's social diary in the Sunday Times makes Mariella Frostrup's one-time attempt seem Proustian. All drinks, dresses and exclamation marks, Tara's column was commissioned after she became Famous For Being Famous. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy. Watch out for a book contract.

Fame Prospects: Tara has yet to discover her talent. She could be a top PR, but she'd have to show interest in her clients. The Milk Maids will have another season or two, then it's off to the shires, the husbands and the dogs. But fun while it lasted, eh?

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