How Jordan has turned the other cheek
She's routinely given a bashing by the Press but former Page 3 girl Jordan has confounded her critics and made a whopping £30m
Published 31/03/2008 | 00:00
Say what you like about former glamour model Jordan — and no doubt you have — but there's no denying that the savvy celeb has built an enormous and lucrative empire out of her two biggest assets: her names.
These days, the 29-year-old perma-tanned, monster-chested multimedia titan goes by the monikers of Jordan and Katie Price, with plans to adopt her married name Katie Andre when she renews her vows with husband Peter later this year.
This dual identity has proved to be an ingenious corporate ploy, allowing the ex-Page 3 model to constantly reinvent herself — and amass a personal fortune of £30m — as a model, author, singer, designer and television star.
With the fourth series of her reality show, Katie and Peter: The Next Chapter, having just started on ITV2, now is as good a time as any to ponder just what lies at the heart of Jordan-Price-Andre's appeal.
In the past, the answer to that question was a no-brainer. Price was considered a bimbo sex bomb, who, having started as a glamour model aged 17, underwent cosmetic surgery to enhance her chest size from a 32B to a gigantic double G.
That's not the case anymore, however, and if the cynics believed Price was all boob and no brain, they have been proven wrong in the last four years.
Price underwent breast reduction surgery last year (with another operation planned for June), which some saw as her way of proving that her massive chest was not the sole source of her powers.
These days, she retains the name Jordan to maintain a more discreet link to her wild Page 3 persona, and as a marketing brand to peddle her new line of lingerie for larger women (the smallest bra size is DD).
Simultaneously, she has also reverted to her birth name, Katie Price, under which she has written her memoirs and children's books; recorded albums; launched her own brand of perfume (her Stunning scent was a bestseller); designed bed linen and jewellery; and made fitness DVDs.
If she were to be subject to the censor's ratings, Jordan would be over-18; Katie Price would be PG. Her life and career can also be viewed from two perspectives: before and after I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here! the reality TV show that redeemed her career in 2004.
She may have gone into that Australian jungle as Jordan, washed-up tabloid train wreck, but she emerged as Katie Price, vulnerable survivor with a hot new romance with Aussie pop star Peter Andre.
At the height of her topless fame in the late Nineties and early Noughties, the Brighton-born Jordan kept many a tabloid rag in business with an endless bout of heavy partying, explicit sexual confessions, a derided Eurovision appearance (decked out in a skintight pink catsuit while pregnant), and disastrous relationships with men like Dane Bowers (whose baby she aborted), Teddy Sheringham and, most famously, Dwight Yorke.
Jordan gave birth to her and Yorke's son Harvey in 2002, but the child was born with severe health problems.
Today, the five-year-old is partially blind, autistic, weighs eight stone, and is reported to be suffering from Prader-Willi Syndrome, meaning he can never feel full, no matter how much he eats.
At the same time that Harvey was born, Price was diagnosed with leiomyosarcoma on her finger, a rare form of cancer that attacks smooth muscle tissue, that she swiftly received treatment for. At this point, it appeared that Jordan's career was finished. But when she agreed to go on I'm A Celebrity ... everything changed.
Viewers saw through her front (as it were), and found a funny and insecure woman, and they rooted for her love affair with fellow contestant Andre.
When she emerged from the jungle, Jordan changed her management and name, married Andre in a spectacularly tacky and chav-tastic wedding, had two more kids (one of which is named Princess Tiaamii), and set about making loads of money in various fields, despite not having any real talent in any of them.
Of course, if one wants to know more about all of the ups and downs in Price's life, they are all covered in great detail in Price's three — three! — autobiographies, the latest of which, Jordan: Pushed To The Limit, is currently in the top five of the UK bestseller list.
Her first memoir, Being Jordan, sold one million copies.
Her teen novel, Crystal, sold more than all of last year's Booker nominees combined, and just this week Price was shortlisted as Best Kids Author at the British Book Awards for her Perfect Ponies: My Pony Care Book. This last achievement, in particular, rankled with the literary establishment, seeing as all her books are ghostwritten for her by Rebecca Farnsworth.
But critics' carping can't ignore the harsh reality that Price's name sells. Perhaps her popularity and appeal can be explained by her willingness to lay bare all the intimate details of her life in an era when prurient celebrity obsession has reached such a nadir that Price's recently removed boob implants could feasibly fetch up to £1m on eBay.
Fans tuning into the latest instalment of her and Andre's reality show this week know what to expect.
The show really is fly-on-wall, so much so that in a previous series, the cameras even captured Price and Andre receiving the news that she had suffered a miscarriage.
And in case anyone was under the illusion that Jordan/Price has peaked, and is content with her bulging fortune, think again. She recently stated that she hopes to pass the billionaire mark.
"Well, you've got to have ambitions, don't you?" she has said.
"I don't even think Paul McCartney has got a billion, so there you go."
Katie and Peter: The Next Chapter, Thursday, 9pm, ITV2