In 2010 a documentary aired as part of BBC3’s Adult Season which focused on fourteen year old Georgia Howes, who in some respects was more mature than her mother who she argued with about her future on a regular basis.
There’s nothing particularly strange about this until you realise that Georgia’s mother is glamour model Alicia Douvall, a woman who has made a living sleeping with famous men and then selling the stories to the tabloids. In this follow-up we see Georgia now at college aged 16, the same age that Alicia was when she gave birth to her, and more assured of what she wants to do academically with the rest of her life. Things change once again though when Alicia falls pregnant on Georgia’s 16th birthday and in the opening scenes of this documentary we find the pair preparing for the birth by changing the layout of the flat to the extent that Georgia will have her own room for the first time in her life, as her mother needs more room for the baby.
Just as with Georgia, Alicia doesn’t want to have any contact with the baby’s father and instead wants to try and do a better job as a mother now she’s a little bit older but maybe not wiser. Personally I don’t think that Alicia starts her baby’s life very well, after christening her second daughter Papaya Coco Kiri Douvall.
Papaya starts her life in front of the cameras by appearing in her photo shoot with her mother and sister who are obviously preparing her for a life that will involve cameras pointed in her face constantly. The dramas between Alicia and Georgia start after the former realises that she needs to correct facial surgery that went wrong, that makes her unable to smile, by jetting off to Boston with her two girls which in turn will mean that her eldest will have to rush coursework for her photography A-Level. I felt this story was a continuation of the one in the first documentary, as Alicia still fails to grasp the importance of Georgia’s studies, especially now she’s on the road to university, not realising that the rush to correct her surgery will affect her daughter’s final grade. The good thing is since last we met them, Alicia has now given up on trying to get Georgia to have surgery and follow in her glamour model footsteps instead realising that she’ll have more of a chance in life if she does get some qualifications. The trip to Boston sees Georgia having to be the sole carer of Papaya for the first time, as her mother goes under the knife and when she returns she also wants her elder daughter to dote on her. Despite Georgia’s stress she feels that her mum may be serious this time when she says she no longer wants to have any more surgery, having gone under the knife more than 100 times in the last fifteen years, though by the look on her face when Douvall first makes this statement makes me think that her daughter may not be totally convinced.
As Georgia is approaching adulthood it seems that Alicia is more protective of her daughter than ever, possibly because she’s worried that she’ll go the same way as she did and end up pregnant… though it seems she’s more afraid of her drinking or doing drugs. She refers to Georgia as her ‘best friend’ and tells us that she wants to hang on to ‘her baby’ for as long as possible though it seems that Georgia now craves her independence, so she is frustrated at the fact that she is never allowed to stay over at her friend’s house. I feel the documentary is letting us make up our own mind to what extent Alicia is protecting Georgia and for me she does have her best intentions at heart but at the same time she is basing what she thinks her daughter will do on what she was like at that age and we’ve already established that Georgia is a lot more mature than her mother in certain ways.
Alicia relents to an extent and allows Georgia to have her friends over but in her own classy style decides to through a ‘pimps and whores’ party complete with pass the parcel and magicians. Seeing a group of Georgia’s nerdy friends lifts some of Alicia’s fears as she realises that they aren’t the party-obsessed people that she believed her daughter was hanging around with, so we are then given the impression that she lets her daughter have more independence. She also gives her blessing for Georgia to go on her first date, with a spotty youth named Toby, and eventually lets her grow-up completely when she gives her a car for her seventeenth birthday.
Glamour Model Mum, Baby and Me was a good follow-up to a documentary that I really enjoyed the first time around and I felt it was worth catching up with Alicia and Georgia. To me it certainly seemed that Alicia had grown up a bit more, possibly due to her becoming a mother once again, by letting Georgia follow her own path without being influence so much by her mother. This time the story was more of a relatable one namely that a mother is struggling to come to terms with the fact that her daughter is growing up especially seeing as the two of them have been so close for so long however now Papaya has come along I suppose Alicia has someone else to dote on. Overall I felt the documentary was well-produced initially I was a little dubious about the pair being interviewed however over time the interviews stopped and the two central figures were allowed to tell their own stories. The only thing I was a little uncomfortable with was that the cameras followed Georgia and Toby on their date while I think it would’ve added to the story if we’d simply seen Alicia waiting for her daughter to come to tell her what had happened. I’m glad that BBC3 continued the story of the Douvalls because I feel that these programmes are what the channel does best and I hope they produce another documentary in about a year’s time which sees how Alicia reacts when Georgia inevitably leaves home for university.
Did you watch Glamour Model Mum, Baby and Me? What did you think of Alicia Douvall’s parenting style? Leave your comments below.