Byline: Barbara Davies
MOST people find it hard to believe that Amy Lewis is 13. At first glance, it's not hard to see why. The excessively coiffed hair, the spray tan, the false eyelashes, the make-up, the talon-like acrylic nails, all speak of someone far older.
Amy, of course, is rather pleased with this state of affairs. Her idol is glamour model and reality TV star Jordan (real name Katie Price) a pneumatic-chested mother-of-three who, as we shall see, has developed a grip on the minds of the nation's young teenage girls.
'She is both gorgeous and very bright,' enthuses Amy, the daughter of a construction worker and a hairdresser from Hucknall in Nottinghamshire.
'She has used her looks to make a lot of money and that's what I want to do, too. She is my role model and lots of my friends aspire to be like her.' Worryingly, Amy's outlook is far from unusual and, most alarming of all, is becoming increasingly prevalent among middle-class girls, children who have traditionally aspired to a university education and a respectable career.
Charity administrator's daughter Natalie Halls is just 14, but as she says of Jordan: 'She's really pretty, she's got a handsome husband, three kids, loads of houses and money that's why I want to be like her.
'She's got the perfect life a career in modelling and on TV, plus books and other things. And she's always in magazines looking pretty.' And 13-year-old Maria Daly, who has wanted to be like Jordan since she was ten years old, adds: 'Jordan's strong and keeps going until she gets what she wants. That's what I'm going to be like.' A depressing state of affairs, even more so when Maria's mother, Sharon, a 46-year-old nurse from Birmingham, chips in: 'I actually believe that Jordan is a really good role model for my daughter and I'd love Maria to be a model. Jordan is one of the most straight-talking celebrities in the world..
'She's got lots of different careers and she's a working mum. She works especially hard with her son Harvey, who is disabled.' So how did it come to this? That an entire generation of intelligent young women, watched happily by their mothers, are modelling themselves on a woman who has made a career out of a pair of inflated breasts, a ruthlessly stagemanaged career in soft porn and a tumultuous and highly sexual relationship with her husband, singer Peter Andre not to mention her forays into the literary world.
Social commentators say that self-made multimillionaire Katie Price, who has successfully marketed herself as a brand, is viewed by many young women as a feminist icon.
There is little doubt that this dual role is sending out dangerously mixed messages.
The same, too, applies to Price's forays into authorship. She writes for very young girls, with her Perfect Ponies books as well as for an older market. The fact that all her books, which are ghost-written, are best-sellers, does not detract from their questionable literary quality.
Take, for example, this extract from her novel, Crystal: 'Crystal didn't care that he might think she was easy or a slag.
She just wanted him and it felt so right.' Or from her latest novel, Angel Uncovered, which is published today: 'She kissed him hard, digging her nails into his back. "Go on," she said, "**** me. Then you'll have what you want and I can go to sleep." ' These, it is safe to say, are exactly the kinds of book which are going to be devoured by teenagers who have also pored over her two best-selling autobiographies.
Any mother with an ounce of sense might be expected to steer her daughter firmly away from such questionable influences. But not so the mothers of Amy, Natalie and Maria who, one might think, as educated women would know better.
Amy Lewis's parents are divorced and she lives with her brother Liam, 21, and her 45-year-old father Stephen, but her mother, 37-year-old hairdresser Mary Montgomery, is happily saving up to pay for a breast enlargement for her daughter, who proudly announces she is already a 32DD. …