Belfast Telegraph

Farewell Whitney, but hello to an ever racier Madonna

By Frances Burscough

It's that time of the year again when we look back for the sake of Auld Lang Syne — whoever he was. So, as is customary, here's a retrospective glance at the wonderful or weird women of 2012, as reported on this page by yours truly ...


With a mum like Madonna, Lourdes Ciccone was never going to work in a call centre was she? So it was no surprise to discover in January that the teenager made the first step towards a movie career by joining the Manhattan Professional Children’s School of Drama.

So I was predicting it won't be long before her first big starring role.

Let’s just hope that Lourdes didn’t inherit her mother’s acting ability. Or, to be more specific, her lack of it.


Whitney Houston was found dead in her hotel room, surrounded by prescription drugs. What a tragic end to a tragically beautiful woman.

But at the end of the day it was also a story about colossal fame and how it can either make you or break you. Whitney was a fragile spirit, whose near-perfect façade first cracked, then completely shattered under the pressure.


Oh, hoorah and jolly hockey sticks! The Royals were once again out in force for another season of one-day events and that, to me, meant just one thing — lots of silly hats to poke fun at!

Now it will take a lot to push Princess Beatrice (she of the infamous toilet seat hat) off the top spot of most ludicrous and laughable, but Sophie Countess of Wessex — the one married to Prince Edward — stepped out with her in-laws including the Queen wearing a hat that looked like the by-product of a collision between a feral pigeon and a satellite dish.


Crystal Renn, used to be the gorgeous, voluptuous brunette model who took the international fashion world by storm as a fully-fledged, fully formed size 16 ‘Plus’ model. But in this month, Crystal unveiled a shocking new look: bleached and cropped hair, shaved eyebrows and a scrawny, size zero frame, completely devoid of all her famous curves.

Sure, she looked cool. But still, what a terrible shame that the poster girl for normal healthy women is now literally like a ghost of her former self.


Carla Bruni, the former supermodel, mother to a one-year-old girl and now the former First Lady of France, raised eyebrows when she stepped out with her husband Nicolas Sarkozy for the Presidential handover ceremony. Instead of looking her usual impeccable self, she appeared very unglamorous in an ill-fitting navy blue trouser suit that looked like it had come from the cut price bargain rail, unwashed hair and the bare minimum of make-up.


Madonna turned 53, so she celebrated by taking to the stage and frollicking in fishnets and a kinky corset/lederhösen combo surrounded by young men in bondage gear and, frankly, looking every inch like mutton dressed as mutton.

I couldn’t help wondering if this really is the image of middle age we want to project to our children?

I decided that yes, it is. Madonna has proved it's obviously far more fun to grow old disgracefully.


It was always going to happen, wasn't it? As soon as we heard that Victoria Beckham had a baby girl, it was a foregone conclusion that the child would be like a living fashion doll.

So it was no surprise that in the same week the little lady turned one Harper Seven Beckham was also offered an exclusive modelling contract for kidswear, but her parents snubbed the invitation. I'm guessing that if that if baby is to promote anyone’s fashion label, it will be Victoria Beckham’s own.


And so the Twilight Saga continued. The top story in all the glossies and gossip columns this month was the tawdry fall-out between Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart after she cheated on him with the dishy movie director Rupert Sanders ... who happens to be married to beautiful supermodel-turned-actress Liberty Ross. By mid-August, the news was that Colonel Sanders was still wearing his ring and Liberty had ostentatiously taken her's off; Kristen had gone into hiding. This was a real-life soap-opera far better than anything the studios could ever dream up.


When rappers JayZ and Kanye West performed together at the Made in America festival last September, the eyes of the world were firmly fixed on their respective mega-famous partners. Apparently there was “no love lost” between Beyonce (wife of JayZ) and Kim Kardashian who'd started dating Kanye.

Surely two girls with such obvious similarities should get on like a house on fire — they each have made a fortune out of their prolific posteriors.

Instead of scowling across a crowded stage, I suggested that Bootilicious Beyonce and Curvy Kim should have had a ‘Butt-off’ contest where the crowd got to vote on the best backside.


Two of my all-time favourite girls were both rocking the red carpets in October. Dita Von Teese and Gwyneth Paltrow remain the epitome of grown-up graceful glamour and smouldering yet serene sexiness. Dita had just turned 40 and yet looked timeless with her glossy raven hair, porcelein skin and scarlet lips, wearing a black velvet figure-hugging dress. Meanwhile, across town another famous 40-year-old, angelic Gwynnie, looked positively radiant in a cut-away LBD with her gleaming gold tresses scraped up into a high ponytail.

They should team up for a new fantasy film: Snow White and Rose Red, the Later Years.


Kim Kardashian: the woman was in the papers so often in November that I started to think she actually employs her own paparazzi to follow her wherever she goes.

In one week alone I spotted her in a certain tabloid on five different days. And now that her sisters Kourtney and Khloe had joined the gravy train of fame too, it seemed likely we'd be seeing even more of them. Guess what? I was right!


What do you get when you cross one of the world's most dynamic rock stars with one of the world's most sought-after supermodels? The answer was, of course, Georgia May Jagger.

Indeed, there was only one other model I could think of with a comparable fame factor, but that was her sister Lizzie. With such impeccable coolness credentials, both the blonde and the brunette Jagger girls were always destined to have a stellar future ahead of them.

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