Why are they famous?: Vanessa Feltz

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Indy Lifestyle Online
MAIN CLAIM: Agony-aunt, talk-show hostess and bossy-boots Big Breakfast presenter; neurotic yet well-meaning mama to the nation's daytime- TV audience. Now Vanessa Feltz's elder daughter's barmitzvah - her coming- out ceremony - is featured in Hello! magazine in an astonishing display of pink frippery, meringue-style millinery and decorative themes favouring the flounce, the ruffle and the furbelow. Vanessa spent almost a year planning the event in which two Olympic torches provided a blazing welcome for 140 guests.

APPEARANCE: Miss Piggy meets Julia Neuberger. Dani Behr, twenty years and five kids on. Pantomime Dame meets Health Minister meets manageress of Euston drag outfitters. Clare Rayner's comely cousin.

AGE OF WISDOM: A mere 36 last month, La Feltz looks and acts like a 50- year-old who's still in touch with the hurt, screaming, look-at-me little girl inside her. However, no one is more willing than she to indulge in royal self-parody, in searing honesty and blazing no-nonsense good humour. "If viewers are thinner than I am they love me and if they're as fat, they're thrilled because I've become a TV presenter!" says the woman who's done more for larger ladies than calorie- counting ever will. "Apparently, I'm the acme of high camp," says the icon who admits to living in "splendid suburban Finchley in a house with columns".

HOME TRUTHS: After Cambridge, Vanessa became a stand-up comic. She adored her late mother, and has a very solid marriage to orthopaedic surgeon Michael Kurer, with whom she has daughters Allegra, 12, and Saskia, nine. Jewish customs are strictly observed. Vanessa previously lived in a tiny workman's cottage but things have changed. Her current dwelling sports a ballroom as well as fabled columns.

SCREEN QUEEN: Vanessa burst on to our screens as if from nowhere a few years ago, and has since carved out a niche that is half-Oprah Winfrey and half-Paula Yates. "The sight of me, with all my numerous poundages, at 7.15am wearing a full evening dress covered in sequins and feather boas, is one of life's tonics - even for me!" says the iconic diva with a twist. On the Feltz coiffure: "It's like public hair." Be careful how you say that, Vanessa.

FAME PROSPECTS: Vanessa is an instant institution, an indomitable, irritating, endearing phenomenon, uncategorisable, but simply there. And there she'll stay. She should think about looking for a castle in North London, and start polishing her cult status.

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