Bake Off winner Candice Brown knows that kindness is the only way to knockout internet trolls
Instead, she was reduced to tears when trying on her dress for the big day after vile trolls inflicted hideous attacks on her looks, making her feel worthless.
Candice was left worried she would not fit into the dress and that she would look ugly walking down the aisle. Paparazzi photos of Candice in her bikini while on holiday in Las Vegas provoked a barrage of body-shaming comments that were not only disgraceful but completely unfounded.
I think Candice looked terrific, but when she read online that she was fat, needed to lose weight and was “as vile on the outside as on the inside”, it is no wonder she felt crushed. Candice is a bright, feisty, funny woman and a proper grown-up, and she was horrified at how badly the negative comments affected her self-confidence.
She was especially distraught at claims she looked pregnant and at criticism she was drinking while expecting. I think this is particularly mean because no one knows whether a couple are having fertility problems, or perhaps have even suffered a loss, or maybe just trying to work out whether they want to be parents. It is intrusive, insensitive and down-right nasty.
Candice chose to talk to me about her hurt because she wants all the negativity to stop and is especially concerned about the effects of trolling on young men and women.
We know that some young people have felt suicidal and have gone on to take their own lives, because of online bullying. It is disgusting, cowardly behaviour and there needs to be effective ways to root out and punish those responsible. There also has to be a sea change in our culture to make such behaviour unacceptable. Maybe we are at a turning point
I genuinely would not want to be a 22-year-old beginning my career in the media in this present climate. I was allowed to make my early mistakes and gaffes on air back in the Eighties and Nineties when there was no social media to rip you to shreds and make you feel as though the soul was being sucked out of your body.
I’ve had my share of criticism, like anyone who happens to be on TV, but I am old enough to cope with it now, even though it still stings and has reduced me to tears. While toxic trolls are undoubtedly an online cancer, I am glad to say that I have seen a glimmer of hope.
I am genuinely heartened by some remarkable women who have declared that enough is enough and it is about time we all started being kinder to one another. Candice was brave enough to talk about her feelings and to call for more action against social media bullying.
Loose Woman panelist Stacey Solomon recently named and shamed a woman’s weekly magazine that put her on the front cover with headlines accusing her of being “boring, desperate and cheap”. They crossed a line. There was a tremendous backlash and I do hope the mag’s dwindling sales suffer even more of a downturn as a result.
Then there is the effervescent Susan Calman. She has just released the book Sunny Side Up, which is bursting with post-Strictly Come Dancing positivity and urges us to be kinder to one another as well as to ourselves.
This week also saw the publication of Always Smiling by Georgia “Toff” Toffolo, the Queen of the Jungle with the megawatt grin, which is all about being positive, happy and kind. These are just some examples of the forces for good trying to triumph over the dark side.
I might be naive but I do believe there are more Princess Leias in the world than Darth Vaders and maybe we are at a turning point that means no more bullied brides will cry when trying on their wedding dresses.
Prosecco is leaving the building
It has to be something apt, in which case “Prosecco” would be a contender, but probably wouldn’t cut it with the security services. Then again, neither does “Lavender”, the code name for the steely Home Secretary so brilliantly portrayed by Keeley Hawes.
With all that romping with her Bodyguard (the glorious Richard Madden) it should surely be renamed “Sizzling Sex Pot”.
Who's there to stop Katie losing it all
IF ever a woman was in need of a good friend to give her sound advice, it is Katie Price.
I just cannot understand why no one who cares about her has warned her to stop behaving like a randy teenager on holiday, and to quit posing half-naked in the surf for pneumatic topless photos. She also has to stop hitting out at her ex-husbands in public, no matter how hurt she feels.
In her defence, Katie has gone through some really bad times recently. Her mum is extremely ill, Katie was cheated on and betrayed, and she is in financial dire straights.
The once all-conquering Pricey with a reputation for being a shrewd businesswoman has seen her empire collapse around her ears, and the days when she could command thousands of pounds for a photoshoot would appear to be over.
She’s made a lot of mistakes over the years, especially the amount of surgery she has inflicted upon her face and body, but even her harshest critics have to admit that she is a good mother who always put her kids first.
I’ve seen for myself the admirable way she looks after her children, especially her severely disabled eldest son Harvey. So I simply cannot understand how she has missed such important milestones in the lives of her other children this week.
While she has been posing for raunchy photos daughter Bunny had her first day at “big” school. Katie’s estranged husband Kieran Hayler (who is no angel) posted a photo on Instagram of three-year-old Bunny and her older brother Jett, five. Katie also missed out on seeing her son Junior, 13, start drama school, and Princess, 11, begin secondary school.
It was their dad, her ex-husband Peter Andre, and his wife Emily who were there to take proud photos of both children in their uniforms and to drop them off at the school gates. There’s still genuine affection for Pricey and she could turn things around.
But she needs support and sound advice from people who have her best interests at heart – and she needs to listen to them.
Crazy Rich Asians
Crazy Rich Asians is a hugely enjoyable love story that will make you laugh, cry and want to get on the first flight to Singapore.
The film, which has been a massive hit in the US, gives us a glimpse of the super-rich lifestyle of some impossibly glamorous Singapore Chinese billionaires.
It also introduces us to breakout star Henry Golding born in Malaysia and brought up here in the UK.
Henry, who worked as a travel reporter and documentary film maker, plays the romantic lead – and you would never know this is his first ever acting role.
He is going to be a massive star. He has good looks, charm, charisma and a real twinkle in his eye.
The movie is silly, funny, emotional and has one of the most OTT wedding scenes ever committed to celluloid – which might just set a trend for brides walking on water.
If you want to be charmed and entertained in equal measure, give it a go next week.
Time to wise up to death
BBC presenter Rachael Bland knew she was dying and had time to say goodbye to her family and friends, but that still won’t make the pain and loss any easier for those left behind.
Her blog and podcast were inspirational and one of the recent contributors was actor Greg Wise, whose sister Clare also died of cancer.
Greg and Clare, above were so close that with the blessing of his wife, actress Emma Thompson, he moved into his sister’s flat for the last three months of her life, taking care of her and writing her blog when she was too frail and ill to do it herself.
The blog has now been turned into the remarkable book, Not That Kind Of Love, and Greg, like Rachael, believes we need to be more open and honest about death.
We are way too guilty of sticking our fingers in our ears and yelling “la la la” when it comes to confronting our own mortality and that of those we hold dearest – and that needs to change.
I’m astounded his wife Marina stayed with him for a quarter of a century.
She’s a walking saint to have put up with him for so long and it’s yet another reason for him never to be allowed to get his feet under the table at No10.
Shazza's on the money
SHARON OSBOURNE knew exactly what she was doing when she verbally attacked Simon Cowell on a US shock jock radio show.
By saying he’s “a pain in the ar*e” who would do anything “to get that f****** fat face on TV” and that she wanted to drown him, Sharon guaranteed headlines on both sides of the Atlantic, ensuring everyone was talking about the X Factor, and its creator.
Instead of sacking her, Simon will probably give her a raise.
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