There are no words.
At just 11, is Brogan the most SPOILT child in Britain?
By Helen Weathers
Last updated at 9:21 AM on 10th August 2009
Given that Brogan Mackay was born with not so much a silver spoon as a £25 Burberry designer dummy in her mouth, it is perhaps no surprise that she is growing up with rather expensive tastes.
In 11 short years she has graduated from £180 white Gucci loafers, bought by her mother, Alison, before Brogan could even toddle, to £475 Jimmy Choo sandals, and now has a wardrobe stuffed with designer outfits and handbags to match.
Her bedroom is strewn with Chanel and Prada handbags. A Gucci bag lies tossed to one side, and is that the latest Louis Vuitton lurking beneath a sequined cushion? Indeed it is, for Brogan likes to start each school year with a new ‘It’ bag.
If there was a GCSE in designer labels, Brogan would be on course for a triple-starred A.
And when she tires of all her designer clobber, she can amuse herself with her £550 flatscreen TV, iPhone and £1,300 worth of top brand computer equipment so she can keep up-to-date with the very latest trends and showbiz gossip about her favourite idols.
It will not surprise you to learn that her role models are such luminaries as Paris Hilton, Katie Price and sexually provocative pop star Lady GaGa, whose choice of outfit often consists of knickers and little else. Brogan, remember, is just 11, and has just finished primary school.
On top of all these designer purchases is the cost of Brogan’s make-up, nail extensions, hair highlights and the fake tanning sessions - paid for by the bank of Mum and Dad.
The total amount her parents have lavished on her over the past 11 years is in excess of £150,000 - enough to put towards a much bigger home than the three-bedroom flat in Glasgow where Alison, 28, a part-time pharmacy dispenser and hairdresser lives with Brogan’s father Stephen, 28, a supervisor at a plumbers’ merchants, and their younger daughter, Carys, aged five.
‘When I think of all the money we have spent on Brogan over the years, even I can’t believe it. Her first outfit as a newborn was Baby Dior,’ says Alison, who appears to equate love with lavishing consumer goods on her firstborn.
‘She is spoilt, probably the most spoilt child in Britain. She has everything she needs but I just can’t stop.
Whenever I see anything nice I think “Oh, Brogan would like that.” ’
While Brogan is clad in designer labels, Alison says she can only afford to dress herself and the rest of the family in High Street brands.
Her younger daughter, Carys, Alison says, is a very easy-going child with no interest in designer clothes and is happy with whatever she is given.
‘I can’t go into a shop without buying Brogan something. She enjoys being pampered because it makes her feel grown up.
She’s always been obsessed with her looks and I’m happy to work extra hours to buy her new clothes. It makes me proud.’
She adds: ‘It’s not that I don’t spend money on Carys - I like both my girls to look nice and people are always commenting about how lovely their clothes are - it’s just that Brogan really cares about her appearance and she was an only child until she was six, so we got used to spending all our money on her.
‘Brogan will say to me “Mum, you’re not going out hairdressing again tonight are you?”, and I’ll reply “Where do you think all the money comes from to pay for your things?”
‘Stephen doesn’t mind and just says “Oh let her have it.” We have no savings, but he believes in living for the day.
‘She has 35 pairs of designer shoes and because her feet are still growing, sometimes she only wears them once before they’re too small. When I see the bin-liners full of shoes, ready to take to the charity shop, I do think “What a waste.”’
And if that was not worrying enough, Mum and Dad have also provided Brogan with her very own credit card, which they keep topped up with between £200 and £400 a month, so she can carry on learning about the value of money, by spending their hard-earned cash in their absence.
Half of Alison and Stephen’s £30,000 joint income goes on Brogan, and for her 11th birthday they splashed out by spending £2,000 on a stretch limo in which Brogan and ten of her friends - all dressed in pink - drove around Glasgow sipping nonalcoholic champagne.
Brogan’s birthday present was a pedigree West Highland Terrier, which goes by the name ‘Barbie’. Small dogs are all the rage amongst the famous-for-simply-being-famous celebs, such as idol Paris Hilton.
Oh, and did we forget to mention Brogan has her very own ironing lady, who takes away all those designer clothes and returns them, every week, perfectly pressed?
Mum Alison pays for that, too, while pressing her own and Stephen’s clothes.
Can’t Brogan iron her own things? ‘I’m frightened to let her near the iron in case she burns herself,’ says Alison, who in her rather warped parental landscape, can’t see that all this needless, expensive pampering might be far more damaging.
Most mothers try to insulate their daughters from the pernicious influence of society’s obsession with celebrity lifestyle, fame and body image. But Alison appears to have bought into it wholesale.
‘Some other mothers don’t approve. When friends from school come to play, their mothers will say “My daughter didn’t have a clue about designer labels until she saw all Brogan’s things, now she wants them too”,’ says Alison.
‘But that’s why Brogan is seen as the coolest girl in school and at parents’ evenings teachers are always telling us that she is the ringleader in any group. All the girls look up to her.’
What a comforting thought for other mothers trying to instill in their children values which have nothing to do with consumerism.
It has reached the stage where Brogan, brought up with an ingrained sense of entitlement, will throw a tantrum when she does not get exactly what she wants, even though, in other respects, there is an ordinary, caring, innocent little girl desperate to get out.
‘Brogan is an altar girl and every Sunday she’s at chapel and sometimes when she sees me going out at night to cut hair again to pay for things, she’ll say “I’m sorry Mum” and will offer to do the hoovering or wash the dishes,’ says Alison.
‘She still plays with Barbies and plays make-believe games with her little sister. Her favourite game is playing with her baby dolls.’
But even Brogan’s dolls cost £400 a pop. And it’s only the best for Brogan’s dolls, which boast their own Silver Cross pram.
Perhaps the answer to this very modern take on the ‘poor little rich girl’ tale lies in the fact that Alison and Stephen were just 17 years old when they accidentally became parents. Alison says she was spoilt herself by her parents, Beth and Kenneth McLean, a builder.
‘I’ve always loved shopping, so has my mum. It’s always been spend, spend, spend with us,’ says Alison, who admits to wanting to live out her dreams through Brogan, by giving her everything she would otherwise be buying for herself. In other words, Brogan is the ultimate ‘mini-me’.
‘When Brogan was born, all the nurses were laughing at her designer Baby Dior clothes and Burberry dummies.
‘They’d never seen anything like it and wanted to take her round to show all the other mothers,’ says Alison, who boasts that she and Brogan are more like sisters than mother and daughter, going off for tanning sessions together.
‘I just wanted the best for her and when I walked into a shop and saw something lovely I just had to have it for her. When she started nursery, the staff used to say to me “Brogan’s clothes are getting ruined, can you bring her in some old clothes?” But she didn’t have any, they were all designer, and she’d regularly come home with them spattered in paint.’
Alison first started colouring Brogan’s hair when she was three - pink wash-out highlights to match her pink designer Moschino dress, for a party at the nursery. And with matching nail extensions, of course.
‘Then, when she was about six, her blonde hair started to go a bit dull, so I put in some permanent highlights to brighten it up and it looked lovely. She liked it so much she kept asking to go lighter and lighter,’ says Alison.
‘Now she’s into Lady GaGa she wants to look just like her, with long hair and a white blonde fringe. She likes dressing up in the same outfits too, leotards and hotpants, but she’s not allowed out in clothes like that.’
With her designer outfits, highlighted hair, high heels and make-up, Brogan is regularly mistaken for an 18-year-old, while Alison - who hardly ever wears make-up - is the one asked for identification when she tries to buy a 15-rated DVD.
But perhaps the most disturbing aspect of allowing Brogan to become so totally immersed in a celebrity culture is that the latest thing she craves is a boob job.
She has told her mother she would like to become a glamour model and is already pestering her for surgery.
‘I keep telling her she’s only 11 and that her figure will develop when she’s older and there’s plenty of time,’ says Alison.
However, considering how Alison has caved in to almost every one of Brogan’s demands, one doubts her ability to say ‘no’ to her daughter.
‘I’d love her to become famous, because that’s all she talks about, but it does worry me that she’s now talking about glamour modelling,’ says Alison. ‘She doesn’t really understand the sleazy side of it all because she’s only 11. All she sees is the money, the fame, the nice lifestyle and the parties.
‘I don’t want her to become a glamour model, but I’ve told her I can’t stop her doing what she wants to do when she’s older.
‘I say to her “What about becoming a teacher?” and she’ll just roll her eyes.
‘My youngest says “Mum, I want to be a hairdresser just like you”, but Brogan insists she’ll never be just a hairdresser.’
Perhaps Alison only has herself to blame. Surely she is responsible for allowing Brogan to be mesmerised by these flashy, seductive, overly sexualised images on television and in magazines at such a young age?
And what happens if Brogan doesn’t make it as a model? How, as an adult, is she going to fund the WAG lifestyle inhabited by the Cheryl Coles of this world?
‘I try to tell her that money doesn’t grown on trees. A friend of hers recently got a job doing a paper round and I suggested to Brogan she might like to do the same, but she just said “No chance.”
‘She wants to be a model, nothing else. She wants to be a somebody. She wants the lifestyle.’
And if she doesn’t make it, you know who’s going to be paying for it, in more ways than one.
These people are RUINING their child. Hell, probably have already ruined her beyond repair. I don't feel sorry for them, because they've done it to themselves. But I feel sorry for their daughters. Both of them.
Also, designer pacifiers? REALLY? They're just gonna get covered in baby spit! What the hell's the point??