20 July 2008

Module behaviour

Which Sydney model has the stage-mother from hell? The chatter at brunch today was electric with tales of the pushy mom who’s riding roughshod over everyone in her daughter’s path towards – well, what?

Already chewing her way through agents, the model daughter had literary ambitions and engaged a writer who cooked up a concept, wrote two chapters and came up with a perfect title. Mommie Dearest was thrilled – until she found a better deal and took the whole package (complete with international rights) elsewhere. The writer’s “contract” amounted to a pittance for signing away all her rights and the threat, direct from Mommie’s lips, that if she went for anything more “we will destroy you”. Charming.

Like all great stage-mothers, Mommie is the über-agent for her charge, managing an ever-changing team of specialists in modelling, publishing, merchandising, film and PR. One of the agents, discarded for “not getting her face on TV enough” despite another agent’s instructions to “protect her from TV”, tells tales of hysterical midnight calls and threats of legal action.

One agent, still working for the model but cognizant of her own reputation, takes potential clients aside to warn them about the mother in advance.

The consensus has it that the module herself is undoubtedly pretty, but that there’s not much more than sweetly perfumed air circulating between her ears. She is also socially retarded; incapable of being engaged rather than looked at admiringly, she just stands there blankly while you talk. 

Photographers report working overtime to coax genuine-looking emotions from her and that even her natural smile looks rehearsed. One tells a story about asking her to smile, only to have her look at her mother, who demonstrated and had her expression exactly reproduced on her daughter's face.

Could the rumour be true? Mommie's suffocating presence serves the practical purpose of protecting the family secret: her gorgeous daughter, who's raking in the cash, has Asperger syndrome.

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