Last Night’s TV – My Supermodel Baby

by Lynn Connolly

my supermodel baby

Oh my… which, were I not being paid to espouse a full and frank opinion, would be ‘nuff said.

I’m still not sure whether this programme was shocking or just a rather sad reflection of out media obsessed society where anything less than perfection just won’t do. I’m erring more on the side of thinking it’s a sad reflection actually…

If you missed it, the title pretty much gives away the content; it was all about parents who want their babies to be models. And it’s not only rather cut-throat, it’s a guaranteed mental scar for the parents whose babies are rejected.

Take for example one dad from Huddersfield, Matthew, whose triplets had been rejected several times for modelling jobs, and he was getting ever more angered by that fact. Fortunately, in the end, Littlewoods employed his children for their latest catalogue, about which Matthew pronounced himself “happy.” And given the build up of tension – which was almost palpable – it was quite a relief that he was.

There were however infinitely more likeable parents, such as baby Frankie’s two mothers, lesbian couple Jamie and Kelly. They, by comparison, really were far more interested in their baby than how well their baby fared in the whole supermodel world.

It’s quite a scary thing that even with babies, ‘image’ is the all important watchword, but I must say, I had to laugh when casting director Mark commented, “The key to all this is keeping it very, very natural. What you don’t want is an artificial image.”

And then we saw how the image was photoshopped beyond anything that could be considered ‘natural’. The babies have their skin texture altered, their eyes made more shiny, any unpleasant stuff like drool or nasal ickyness airbrushed out… the photo ended up about as natural as a doll.

But that’s apparently what ‘we’ want; doll-like looking babies gracing the covers of parenting mags. The collective we, it seems, would be put off buying these mags if there was a baby who was crying or teething or who had a cold on the front of them. In other words, a ‘real’ looking baby would mean less revenue for the publication house. Yikes.

There were though some rather amusing parallels between the world of adult models and this, Jaclyn Parry’s film about baby models. We hear a lot about models like Naomi Campbell having a flid and refusing to do something if she doesn’t get the crate of turtles in her dressing room she asked for or something, or Kate Moss shows up ‘tired and emotional’ to a shoot, and we saw how the vagaries of mood can be make or break for babies too…

For example, baby Eva was niggly and tired and therefore cried a really, really lot – flashback to my days of parenting babies, uuggh – so as she wasn’t up for posing cutely for the camera, baby Madeleine got the gig instead.

Hey, it’s a baby eat baby world out there…

Overall, this wasn’t just another on-god-how-desperate-are-these-parents type film, it was actually something more of an examination of how we’re all rather subconsciously vulnerable to perpetuating myths and setting ourselves up for a fall when our babies don’t look as cute and cuddly as the babies on the front of mags.

There were of course many elements of egocentric and vicarious ambition on the part of some of the parents, but the subtext of this film, for me anyway, was that even when it comes to our children, like pretty much everything else in our lives, many of us are chasing an impossible dream. And that’s kinda sad…

Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.