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How Bobby Brazier charmed Britain: ‘He has a sparkle just like his mum’

Bobby Brazier gained fame before he was even born. His parents, the well-known TV personalities Jade Goody and Jeff Brazier, announced his upcoming birth in an interview with OK! magazine. At just one month old, Bobby made his first appearance on a magazine cover. He would later make occasional appearances with his younger brother Freddie on his mother’s Sky reality show. Now, watching the 20-year-old on Strictly Come Dancing feels like witnessing a star in the making. His cheerful demeanor and childlike enthusiasm, paired with his striking looks and lanky, youthful limbs, are a delightful sight.

Brazier’s rapid rise to fame on Strictly has been impressive. He joined the cast of EastEnders in the latter part of last year as Freddie Slater, and in September, he won a National Television Award for his performance. In the same month, he joined the popular dance competition. By October, he was featured on the cover of Grazia magazine and was described by sources in the Daily Mail as the BBC’s new hope for attracting younger viewers. Lucie Cave, author, presenter, and editor-in-chief of Heat magazine, praises Brazier’s talent and personality, stating that he inherited the best qualities from both of his parents – his father’s grounded and calm nature and his mother’s charming and innocent demeanor. Despite his fame, Brazier remains humble and pure, a rarity among young stars.

Up until now, his experience with being well-known has been less damaging compared to his mother’s. Goody rose to fame as the first reality TV sensation in Britain after her appearance on the third season of Channel 4’s Big Brother in 2002. According to Cave, she was unapologetically boisterous, amusing, and a “spark plug and a dominant force”. However, she was also a controversial figure and faced criticism for her involvement in the racist bullying of Indian actor Shilpa Shetty during their time together on Celebrity Big Brother in 2007. She later apologized and by the time of her death, public opinion had mostly forgiven her.

Jade Goody with her sons Bobby (left) and Freddie in 2006.

She had a challenging life, as her mother struggled with drug addiction and her father was incarcerated and ultimately passed away from a drug overdose. However, she turned this adversity into a tale of triumph. At 27 years old, she was diagnosed with cervical cancer, which came as a shock since she had been a contestant on the Indian version of Big Brother the year before. Her death was a tragic and unexpected conclusion to her “journey” on the reality show.

Her final months, like her life, were well-documented. Some accounts were shockingly intrusive, but Goody was usually involved. According to Cave, who was Goody’s biographer and knew her personally, her only desire was for her sons to have a good upbringing and never lack anything. She worked hard to save all the money she earned so that they could receive the education she never had. Even until her passing, her motivation for selling her story was to provide for her family. Though it is uncertain if she received good advice, her intentions were evident – she was completely devoted to ensuring everything she did was for her sons.

In 2009, Goody passed away, leaving Bobby and Freddie in the care of Jeff, who gained fame from appearing on the 2001 show Shipwrecked. After their split, Jeff’s mother helped raise the children, and later, his wife Kate Dwyer. Jeff continued to work as a TV presenter and also became a life coach and mental health advocate, incorporating spiritual beliefs that have also influenced his son. In a recent interview with the Face, Bobby shared that he starts his mornings with spiritual readings, breathing exercises, and meditation. In a September interview, Bobby mentioned that not much has changed, as he still incorporates meditation into his daily life. He also expressed how sometimes he can get caught up in his public persona “Bobby Brazier,” but ultimately he is aware of his true self.

Doing the jive with his professional dance partner, Dianne Buswell, on BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing.

Brazier’s charm is in part due to his natural and unpretentious demeanor, even when discussing his unconventional interests. This quality is reminiscent of his mother’s era of fame, which focused more on genuine innocence rather than calculated image-building like many current rising stars. According to journalist Jacques Peretti, author of “Edge of Reality: Journeys Through the Rabbit Hole of Reality Television,” this is what makes him appealing to others: “He embodies the same naivety that made his mother so beloved.” Cave also agrees, stating, “Jade was always open and honest, never pretending to be someone she wasn’t. She had a childlike curiosity, always asking questions to understand the world.”

According to public relations expert Mark Borkowski, the key to success for celebrities is being genuine. Borkowski explains that those who stay true to themselves are more likely to do well. He uses the example of a celebrity’s mother, stating that regardless of any criticisms, she stayed true to who she was and faced consequences as a result. As for Brazier, Borkowski notes that he possesses a natural talent for communication, which is not the case for everyone. Some people have to work hard to develop this skill, but when they come across as inauthentic, it can negatively impact their image. Borkowski points out that this is often seen in the world of politics and entertainment. However, Brazier stands out as an individual who is honest and genuine, making him relatable to others. Borkowski describes him as slightly awkward yet optimistic, and believes that his honesty is what makes him successful.

On the runway at Dolce & Gabbana for Milan fashion week 2020.

According to Borkowski, popular programs like Strictly undergo a thorough selection process, and Brazier has a broad fan base. He has been developing his Instagram presence since he first entered the modeling industry at 16. While having a conversation with his father at a coffee shop, he caught the eye of someone and discussed his school suspension. He then left his schooling and pursued opportunities with well-known fashion brands like Dolce & Gabbana.

Younger viewers of Strictly may not be familiar with Goody and might just appreciate his lively and energetic nature. However, for those of us who remember his mother and notice the resemblance, there is a sense of nostalgia. Peretti expresses that it almost feels like a satisfying conclusion for her. “I know it may sound odd, but when you consider the story of Jade, Jeff, and their children, and then see this charming young man, it gives a feeling of everything being okay and that real-life stories don’t always have to have negative outcomes.”

The individual known as Goody, along with other early reality stars, were individuals from working-class backgrounds who were used by television networks to mock their perceived lack of intelligence, close-mindedness, and biases. However, in reality, these individuals were the opposite and Goody specifically became a beloved figure in the nation. Along with other reality stars like Kerry Katona and Katie Price, they had to learn how to navigate the industry and use it to their advantage.

According to Peretti, during the initial seasons of Big Brother, social mobility was on the decline. Despite the show’s portrayal of a merit-based system where everyone, regardless of social standing, had an equal chance of success, this was simply an illusion. Even someone like Jade, who may not have come from a privileged background, could still succeed in the Big Brother house. However, now we see the children of these early reality stars benefiting from their parents’ fame and using it to launch their own careers. Peretti argues that this is completely valid, given that our society is still heavily influenced by class divisions. So why should we view the children of reality stars any differently than someone like Prince William, who also benefits from his famous family name? Ultimately, there is no difference.

Brazier brandishes his Rising Star award at the National Television Awards earlier this year.

According to Ruth Deller, a media and communications expert at Sheffield Hallam University, Brazier’s charm, optimistic attitude, and modesty are promising traits for his future career. Deller believes that his friendly and playful personality, along with his likeability, will help him succeed, unlike other famous children who may appear talentless or entitled.

Brazier’s relatability has a touch of class to it. Despite being privileged with a private education, he hasn’t distanced himself from those of us who read about his mother in tabloids and magazines. He has mentioned feeling out of place at his independent school due to his Essex accent and the fact that his parents did not come from a generationally wealthy background like many of his peers.

Brazier was not shielded from the challenges of growing up without his mother despite his privilege, but his father’s parenting style, which prioritizes emotional availability and mental health, has been commended. This was acknowledged by Bobby in his NTA acceptance speech. Peretti describes it as “progressive fatherhood”.

Over two decades have passed since the emergence of popular reality shows, and it is probable that we will witness a rise in the number of children from reality star families seeking their own fame. According to Deller, reality stars who openly share their personal lives differ from other celebrities in that their personal brand is intertwined with their actual life, and if they have children, those children become a part of their brand.

Peretti says that it’s a continuous story, but he also acknowledges that there is a sense of sincerity in Brazier. On Strictly, he brings joy and no one can deny him his own happiness. No matter how long or successful his career may be, we can’t help but feel sad that his mother isn’t here to witness it. Cave believes that Bobby is truly special and has a certain sparkle that makes him unique, just like his mother.

Source: theguardian.com