Rivalry among women is more predominant than society is willing to admit.
Even the best of friends compete to outshine one another. I remember Marlene Dietrich, when she was living on Avenue Montaigne in Paris, always made sure that any companion or friend who accompanied her to an event was less attractive than herself so that she would remain the focus of attention. It is part of the capriciousness of the female species, embedded in their genes.
The latest incident which has gripped the headlines last week was the case of Rebecca Adlington, the Olympic gold medal winner, getting all weepy and losing her self-confidence at the sight of bikini-clad beauty queen Amy Willerton in the Australian jungle.
Adlington, twenty-four, has two gold medals to her credit as well as seventeen other major awards and is Britain’s most successful swimmer ever. Now retired, she has great stamina and oodles of talent and an athlete’s tireless work ethic. She is popular, a good conversationalist and is fortunate to be engaged to a debonair fellow swimmer, Harry Needs.
Her body has a healthy look and a perfect swimmer’s form that many a woman would love to have. However, it didn’t take her long to lose her normal poise in the rough and uncomfortable surroundings in the jungle pit of I’m a Celebrity – and knuckle-under in wallflower anguish.
Experts believe that Rebecca could suffer psychological damage as they accuse the ITV show’s makers of ‘deliberately manipulating’ Ms Adlington to increase viewer ratings. The athlete covered herself in a one-piece swimsuit last Friday, a day after she broke down confessing she has struggled with abusive comments about her looks for years.
The outburst was triggered by the sight of Amy Willerton wearing revealing bikinis to soap herself under a waterfall built into the programme’s set. Ms Adlington became tearful during an interview as she discussed her own body hang-ups which came to the fore in the shadow of Amy’s curvaceous body.
Willerton, twenty-one, is a very pretty girl who happened to grace my office when she accompanied a good friend of mine when he came to visit about six or seven weeks ago. I found her a bubbly sort of person, nicely spoken, intelligent and no doubt good at other essential things. She has a sexual kind of magnetism which overwhelms naturally without being contrived. I liked her a lot.
As for tearful Rebecca, may I suggest she ignores the comparison the media is highlighting and be proud and grateful for her own achievements which are pretty remarkable; not in the field of modelling, but in other venues that made her an iconic athlete. She of all people must know that rivalry in all things boosts the level of excellence.