Wednesday 9 September 2009

“Some girls think their ticket to Heat magazine is to s**g a footballer”

Football Pundette talks to WAG Jadene Bircham and finds out why her life is more about her children than Christian Dior.

When you hear the term ‘WAG’ what do you think of? Hair extensions, false nails and fancy cars? Spending sprees in Harvey Nichols? Freeloading glamour girls?

The most famous WAG’s have carved out careers of their own; Coleen Rooney has a multitude of various projects and endorsements that earn her millions. But would she have this without her famous footballer husband, Wayne? Cheryl Cole and Victoria Beckham are different in the sense that they were both already in bands before they met their respective partners, Ashley and David. They were already recognised in their own right for their own professions as singers in girl bands but still gain notoriety for being part of huge celebrity marriages. As part of a WAG couple, the power to earn money is phenomenal and the spotlight within the media very much shines on them.

WAG’s have become a national obsession and tend to dominate the headlines of red-top newspapers for doing...what exactly? They have become famous for no particular reason. Their notoriously vacuous existence tends to consist of shopping and watching their men at the football matches, with perhaps a glamorous photo shoot for a magazine thrown in every now and again. Yet the nation is fascinated with them.
But sometimes, there is a break to the stereotype. Enter Jadene Bircham. Jadene, 36, is married to retired footballer Marc Bircham and they have three children together. Jadene had a successful career before she met Marc, having been a successful model. She appeared on Chris Evans’ Channel Four programme, ‘Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush’, as his glamorous assistant and, more recently, has been seen on ITV2 show ‘WAGs’ Boutique’.

“My ambition when I was younger was to do a job that I was happy in. I never once thought about money or status, I always just wanted to be happy. I didn’t select any kind of career other than to be happy. It used to drive my teachers up the wall as it wasn’t the answer they wanted to hear.

“I fell into modelling by luck; at the age of 13 I was scouted by Models One and at the age of 15 I had left school and was working full time all over the world.”

Jadene continued to work when she met and subsequently married Marc Bircham. Some WAGs have Chanel gifts showered upon them but fun and feisty Jadene is keen to stress that she funds any designer habit she may have.

“If I didn’t have my independence my marriage would never work. Before I met Marc I earned a lot of money anyway so I don’t really see a change if I’m honest. I have always worked throughout our marriage and brought in money myself.

“I am a WAG, I’m not snobbish and I have nothing to prove to anyone. I get a little embarrassed when I’m out and people shout WAG at me, but my husband plays football, how can I not accept it?

“Football has taken over my life completely. I have two sons who both do football and between them and my husband there is football training nearly twice a night every day and night of the week. It is a huge, huge influence as it’s my children’s and husbands lives.”

WAGs have become role models for young women, who reject the idea of having their own career for a supposed life of glamour. We are in the day and age of easy fame and these young and easily-influenced women who grace glossy magazine covers seem to view footballers as an easy route to notoriety. But Jadene is living proof that being a WAG is more than just false eyelashes and fake tan. She is a devoted wife, mother and shrewd businesswoman, having ran her own media company for years. She is also an ambassador for the Willow Foundation. It’s no wonder that Jadene gets frustrated with the amount of wannabes that use footballers for a free ride.

“There are far too many wannabes in this world. If it’s not WAGs it’s pop stars or Hollyoaks stars. I think the problem is that reality shows are so huge and give people instant status that everyone wants fame. Just some girls think that by shagging a footballer that’s her ticket to Heat Magazine.

“The public are a funny lot: girls want to be you, yet they resent the fact you are married to a footballer. But all in all they are okay. The media have their icons like Posh and Coleen so we are all labelled like them which is tough. But I work in media so I know how the job is, so I really couldn’t give a f**k.”

But having married, had children and enjoyed a successful career, is there anything else that the former model would like to achieve?

“I have loads of ambitions, but at the moment they are for my family. My eldest son is 11 and has just started secondary school, he needs guidance for his career and path in life and my other two children need me. If I can give them the right path in life then all my ambitions are done- other than that I would love to own my own wine bar!”

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