Belfast Telegraph

Samantha's rise to fame shows curse of self-confidence

By Christina Patterson

Andy Warhol would have been amused. Andy Warhol, who hardly ever smiled, at least in photos, surely would have when he heard about a woman called Samantha Brick.

He might even have laughed when he heard the tale of how a woman almost no one had heard of became famous, not just for 15 minutes, but for nearly two weeks.

And not for anything she'd done, or even for being beautiful, but for thinking she was beautiful when quite a lot of people thought she wasn't.

Samantha Brick's article about how she could hardly go to a restaurant, or bar, without strangers handing her bouquets of flowers, or sending over bottles of champagne seemed to cause a bigger fuss in the media than last year's earthquake in Japan.

And, last week, Samantha Brick and the Daily Mail tried to make sure the fuss continued for a while longer. Why, she asked, does her "cup runneth over with self-confidence"? The answer was simple. The answer was Daddy.

"Ever since the day I came into this world," she said, "my dad has showered me with love and affection. His love has been the key to my being able to love myself."

Samantha Brick seems to think that her father's praise was a precious gift. She seems to have forgotten that the article which made her famous was actually a lament. And that what she'd said was that she'd suffered because half the population didn't like her. She doesn't seem to have realised that, although she said they didn't like her because of her looks, she has now made it clear that the real reason was her confidence.

Samantha Brick seems to think that being very, very confident is something that will make your life better.

It must be very nice to have parents who tell you you're beautiful and clever and brilliant at everything you do - even, and especially, if you aren't.

But it must be quite strange to turn up for your first day at school and discover that everyone else thinks they're special, too. And it must be a shock when the people who teach you, who allocate places at university and offer interviews for jobs don't just take your parents' word about your brilliance.

If you're very confident and tilt your head in a way that makes people think you're a 'temptress', then maybe you'll get flowers and champagne. And if you speak in an interview as if you're absolutely sure what you're talking about, even when you aren't, then maybe you'll beat someone else to a job.

If what you want, in other words, is attention from strangers, and jobs you're not really qualified to do, then confidence might well make your life better. What it won't do is make people like you, or help you do a job well.

If you want people to like you, and if you want to shine at what you do, then what you need isn't confidence, but doubt. You need to know that you aren't more special than anyone else. And you need to know that to do something well, you need to be constantly trying to do it better.

"Fear," said actress Charlotte Rampling, in an interview last week, "is a great motor." The "greatest things", she said, "are done through adrenalin".

Charlotte Rampling is famous because she's very good at what she does. She's also, by the way, very beautiful.

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