From the land of bad parenting, this latest entry:
The marketing of Marissa Leigh, age 16, is a job that employs 12 people. The Scottsdale princess has a manager and a publicist, of course. She has a voice coach and a makeup artist and a hairstylist willing to jet off whenev, wherev.Then there’s the Web master. The photographer, who also shoots Lindsay Lohan. The guy who listens to Marissa humming on a tape recorder, and then puts the music on paper. And sure, she has an acting coach. Actually, two.
Her mother is the goddess of her schedule, her wardrobe, her bathroom remodel. And, of course, Daddy, whose job it is to pay.
More than anything, more than another Chanel bag or even the latest Louis Vuitton, Marissa wants to be a star. She can sing, act, do accents, even: cockney, Irish and Italian.
But to date, Marissa’s biggest role was Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz for Scottsdale community theater. Oh, and two weeks ago, her pink explosion of a birthday party was featured on MTV’s My Super Sweet 16, which was fab exposure, her parents say. (She didn’t get one car, she got two. She wanted a pink dress. She wore three, and had her poodles dyed to match.)
She has yet to get her big break, but that certainly isn’t for want of trying. Making Marissa famous is practically her mom’s full-time job, and why not?
In this day of manufactured reality-TV celebrity, when the country is gripped by American Idolatry and Il Divo-tion, what’s the matter with trying to nudge along fame?
Marissa’s parents can’t buy her a movie deal or a TV pilot starring opposite Jesse McCartney, but they can make sure she’s got the right outfit if anyone ever calls.
“That’s how this business is,” says K.K. Dubowy, Marissa’s mom, who was a professional dancer at 11. “A lot of it’s luck, a lot of it’s talent, a lot of it is being in right place in the right time.
“Her daddy and I can’t get her through that door. We can maybe introduce her to people that are going to open doors for her, but she’s going to have to get through the door with her talent.”
So bring on the summers in LA, the flights back and forth to auditions, the résumés, the head shots and all the costs involved. Miss Marissa – the baby of the family, the only little girl – has a dream.
“Despite how it might appear,” adds Dubowy – despite the fact that they paid $50,000 to rent a house for their daughter’s birthday party and let this information be broadcast on national television – “she really does know how lucky she is.”
“She’s spoiled,” Dubowy says, “but hopefully, it’s a grounded spoiled.”
Again, like I talked about this morning, we live in a world with mixed up priorities– but what are these parents doing?!