Jobs for the girls

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The Independent Online
The news this week has been dominated by three nice middle-class girls called Lisa, Liz and Di. Bright, ambitious, a few years apart in age, they could have been friends. Instead, they offer a lesson in the perils of female celebrity.

Here comes fresh-faced Lisa, wife of the disgraced former Barings trader Nick Leeson. When he fell to Earth, Lisa got on with her life, sensibly moved in with her parents in Kent, got a job as a part-time waitress. Now Lisa has become the world's first celebrity flight attendant, employed by the people at Virgin Atlantic. And why not? She likes to waitress, she needs to travel. Now she's a waitress in the sky.

Good for you, Lisa. But how long will it last? Because you know how people talk:

"Hello, my name is Lisa and I'll be looking after you on today's flight to Singapore."

"Singapore? I'm on my way to Washington!"

"Don't worry, sir, we're flying the other way today."

"But I've got a vital meeting at 3pm. Will we make it in time?"

"Of course we will, sir! We're just stopping off in Germany for a few weeks." (Smiles brightly.) "Please make sure your seat is in an upright position."

"What about the safety talk?"

"Oh we don't bother with than any more, sir. Virgin trusts its staff implicitly." (Smiles brightly.) "Can I get you something to drink?"

"Oh God ... get me a large whisky."

"I'm sorry, sir. We only have water available today. I think you'll find it goes very well with the dry bread."

"Just give me a pair of earphones, will you?"

"Certainly, sir. Our film programme today is Wall Street followed by Escape from Alcatraz." (Smiles brightly.)

Just kidding! As the people at Virgin said this week, Lisa's appointment was "based on her own merits, personality, and skills".

Next, teetering ever so slightly in her sparkly shoes, comes lovely Liz Hurley, girlfriend of the disgraced film star Hugh Grant. When he fell to Earth, Liz got on with her life, having just taken a job as an icon for the people at Estee Lauder. Look, here she is in Vogue, advertising Perfectionist Lightweight Creme Makeup: "Luminous, polished, refined." And why not? Liz is luminous, polished, refined.

Good for you, Liz. But how long will it last? Because you know how people talk:

"Elizabeth? Waft in, please. What's all this about you having an affair. It's all over the Sun."

"Jeez Estee, it was years ago."

"Yeah, but who the hell is Tom Sizemore?"

"He's an actor, like my boyfriend. Except better."

"My dear Elizabeth, Hugh Grant happens to be a class act. Luminous, polished, refined."

"Class act? You call oral sex with a hooker a class act?"

Just kidding! As the people at Estee Lauder said when Lizzie's appointment was announced: "Her relationship with anyone else has nothing to do with our choice as spokeswoman."

Finally let's give a big welcome to Princess Di, wife of disgraced heir to the throne Prince Charles. When he fell to Earth, Di got on with her life, as mother, charity worker, ambassador for Britain. Good for you, Di. But how long will it last? Because you know how people talk:

"What are we going to do about this cellulite problem, your Highness? The Express called it "poison deposits, like slime at the bottom of the river".

"Oh, Max, you know as well as I that there's no such thing as cellulite. Women who aren't bulimic and who don't go to the gym every day have wobbly thighs. It's a patriarchal conspiracy."

"But your Highness, you do go to the gym every day."

"Do I? Erm, that's because I used to be a princess and princesses have to be perfect. But I've been in therapy, and I'm a person in my own right now. Almost."

The moral? If you're going to be famous, get there on your own merits. Otherwise, you're only as good as the man who got you there in the first place.