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There has been a wave of patriotic fervour in my apartment complex recently - and as a Brit, yours truly has found herself the butt of such unprecedented bitchiness that Aaron Spelling might want to send a writer round to take notes.

Dawn is one of our resident wannabes. She spends her days round the pool, and her nights at the Bar Marmont, hoping to be picked out by one of the film industry lounge lizards who might give her a leg over, sorry, up, on the career ladder.

But times must be hard, because she has been looking for work of a more lucrative nature than her one day as an extra, which is all her acting career has amounted to so far.

She has been trying to get work as a nanny and found that even in this field she's had more rejections than ... well ... than a Hollywood wannabe.

These days it seems the only thing celebrities like more than having babies, is having somebody to take care of them.

And no matter how much attention Louise Woodward got, that somebody still simply has to be British or Australian. American girls, as Dawn discovered, do not have the same kudos.

Not that the British girls have achieved their exalted status without reason. Not only are they generally talented in the potty training department, but they also have a reputation for being very amenable to the demands of celebrity life - long, irregular hours, punctuated by travel at a moment's notice.

In short, they are more practical and easier to get along with than American girls - and every star wants one.

In fact they want several. As I learned from Dawn, who returned home disillusioned and seeking redress via the immigration department, multiple nannies are also the order of the day - one nanny per child.

Demi Moore and Bruce Willis set the trend, hiring three nannies to look after their three daughters - and a fourth to cover the other nannies' days off. Jack Nicholson and Rebecca Broussard solved their day-off problem by sharing a swing-shift nanny with Warren Beatty and Annette Bening. And Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, who have two kids, employ two nannies full time, but they actually work only one at a time.

At the top of the nanny hierarchy girls can earn $40,000 or more a year, plus room and board. Perks include invitations to to all the industry parties and premieres.

And Robin Williams' former nanny did even better. Marsha Garces married her boss.

No wonder Dawn is envious.

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