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'Mum wanted me to be a topless model too'
Mum topless model
From her one-night stands with footballers to the plastic surgery obsession that almost killed her, former glamour girl Alicia Douvall is not exactly a model mother.
Add to this the fact she wanted her teen daughter to follow in her footsteps as a topless model, and you have to wonder what hope has any child of hers of having a normal life.
So it comes as a surprise to find that 14-year-old Georgia Howes (Alicia's real name is Sarah Howes) is remarkably grounded and mature. And she has to be, for she has had to learn to be the mother figure in their weird relationship.
"With Mum, it's best to expect the unexpected," says Georgia, without a hint of irony. "She can be a bit wild sometimes."
A bit wild? Alicia's life reads like a script for a bad TV movie. She was expelled from private school at 14 and was pregnant with Georgia a year later (Alicia has never revealed who the father is). She had her first boob job at 17 and embarked on a career as a glamour girl.
Luckily, Alicia's family had money and were able to take care of Georgia, while Alicia pursued her 'modelling'. And she discovered a different world from her middle-class upbringing. One where inflated boobs, even bigger egos and loose sexual morals got you instant fame and fortune.
After she bagged herself a footballer in the form of Dwight Yorke - who dumped her in 2000 for rival glamour girl Katie Price - Alicia got her revenge by selling the story of their relationship.
It was then she got a taste of celebrity and was soon a regular on the gossip pages. Now infamous for her liaisons with celebs - Simon Cowell, John Terry and P Diddy are just a few of her conquests - Alicia's kiss-and-tell tales have helped fund her obsession with plastic surgery.
To date, the 30 year old has had over 100 operations, including 16 boob jobs, five nose jobs and has even had her ribs shaved to give her a smaller waist.
She has been diagnosed with body dysmorphic disorder, UK surgeons refuse to operate on her, and now she even struggles to find an American surgeon who will let her go under the knife.
With a mum like this, you'd expect Georgia to be an equally out-of-control teen. In fact, the opposite is true. Softly spoken, make-up free and very academic, Georgia is everything Alicia is not. And their relationship is one of complete role reversal.
"I'm more of the mother than she is," says Georgia, who was cared for by Alicia's parents until she was nine.
"I'm the sensible, responsible one. Of course, there are times when I wish I had a more 'traditional' mum. Like when I want to concentrate on my homework and she just doesn't think it's that important, or I see her in pain after another cosmetic operation and know it's still not going to make her happy. But I love her, no matter what she does."
Thanks to surgery, Georgia doesn't see her features reflected in her mother's face.
With such a poor role model to look up to when it comes to body image, it's hard to believe Georgia isn't plagued with the lack of confidence and desire for perfection her mother suffers from.
"I'm determined not to be unhappy with my looks, the way Mum is. I like to look natural and don't wear make-up," she says.
During the week, Georgia attends an exclusive boarding school in Kent, then spends weekends and holidays with Alicia in London. Perhaps it's this respite from her mum's influence that's been the making of Georgia.
Alicia thinks so: "I didn't want to send her away to school when she was 11, but her godfather Paul, an old friend of mine, made me."
"My lifestyle was very wild and he wanted her to have more stability, in an environment where she could concentrate on her studies. Now I realise it was the best thing for her."
You can only imagine how much Alicia sticks out at parents' evenings, but she's a hit with her daughter's friends who love sleepovers.
"She's younger than my friends' mums, she's into fashion and they all think she's really fun," says Georgia.
Yet just two years ago, Georgia asked for breast implants for her 13th birthday - back then she wanted to become a glamour model, too. Bursting with pride, Alicia said the pair would model topless together when Georgia turned 16.
But Georgia's had a change of heart. "I was more influenced by Mum back then and boob jobs seemed normal to me," she admits.
"Now I'm older I realise the damage you can do to your body with surgery. I've seen Mum in so much pain. Even after 16 boob operations, she still isn't happy. I don't want to go down that road. I want to focus on my education."
Wise words indeed. But ones that Alicia has struggled to come to terms with. She was desperate for her daughter to follow her stiletto-clad footsteps into the world of glamour modelling. But why would any mother want to propel her teenage daughter into such a seedy career?
"She's a pretty girl and I know the industry so I thought it was a direction I could help her in. I just want to do my best for her," says Alicia.
Now, Georgia has put her foot down over her mother's future plans for her. "I think Mum wanted me to become a glamour model because it's what she knows. It was her way of keeping me close to her," she says.
"But I've grown up a lot since then. I don't want to limit myself. Every day I see jobs I'd like to do."
But as much as Georgia craves respectability, she can never escape her mother's reputation. Earlier this year, Alicia was named in a newspaper as one of the extra-marital conquests of England footballer John Terry, and, not for the first time, had to share details about her sex life with her daughter.
"In that mad period of my life when I doing kiss and tells, Georgia was too young to read the papers. Now I have to explain things to her," says Alicia.
"She'll have to work harder in life to prove herself because she's my daughter. She knows I regret what I've done in the past."
While Georgia tells Alicia she's not affected by her wild ways, privately she says her reputation has been tarnished by her mum.
"I've grown up with Mum's kiss and tells, but they can be a shock to other people. I can tell from their expressions they're judging me based on who she is," she says. "But it doesn't make me annoyed with my mum, they're the ones with the problem. Mum did what she had to do. But I don't want to read about it."
Listening to Georgia, it's hard to believe she's just 14. Mature beyond her years, she displays incredible patience with Alicia, who lurches from one crisis to the next.
A perfect example is Georgia's half-term holiday to LA this year. Mother and daughter shopping trips and beach days were cancelled when one of Alicia's implants became detached. Instead, the holiday was spent in the waiting rooms of plastic surgery clinics and in a cramped hotel room in Nashville (where the only surgeon who would risk performing another operation on Alicia was based).
While Alicia sobbed with pain, Georgia calmly drained her wounds, helped change her bandages and struggled to do her homework while missing over a week of school. "With Mum, I see myself as a manager who can take charge of situations," says Georgia brightly.
But is it right that a little girl feels so responsible for her mother? "That's just the way it's always been," says Georgia. "If she was different she wouldn't be my mum."
"Different" is a word that Alicia uses a lot when she talks about Georgia. "She came from my womb, how can she be so different to me?" she asks. "She speaks a different language. I don't understand her. Georgia is the squarest person I know!
"But I've had to accept who she is, that she's not like me. For a long time I've been in denial about that, but I've had counselling for those issues and I realise that I have to let her live the life she wants, not the one I dreamed for her."
Alicia has also realised that Georgia can do so much more with her life than glamour modelling. And that a career in front of the camera is in fact, far from glam. "I briefly went back to modelling this year, and being older and seeing those young girls, many of them on drugs, being pressured into doing porn, I realised I couldn't have Georgia in that environment," says Alicia. "It's a completely different world now from the one I experienced. It scared me.
"And so many of the girls I knew have ended up tragic statistics - escorting, lap-dancing. Georgia saved me from becoming one of them and I can't let her go into that world."
Loyal to the end, Georgia insists she wouldn't swap her mum given the chance. "It doesn't matter to me what people think of her. I know her for who she truly is. There's the Alicia Douvall people think they know, and then there's my mum who I love."
HEAD TO HEAD
Georgia on Alicia
Georgia: What's my best quality?
Alicia: You're very loving and considerate.
Georgia: What's my worst quality?
Alicia: You're too sensible sometimes and you nag and moan at me.
Georgia: What would you change about me?
Alicia: Nothing. You're perfect just as you are.
Georgia: Would you ever consider swapping me for another daughter?
Alicia: No way! Not for the world.
Alicia on Georgia
Alicia: What would you change about me?
Georgia: You can be a bit annoying when you're manic - really high and then really low. So I'd like you to be calmer.
Alicia: What's my most annoying habit?
Georgia: Dancing in front of the TV to get my attention - that's really annoying!
Alicia: What's my best quality?
Georgia: You have lots. You're funny, energetic, loving and all my friends think you're the coolest mum.
Alicia: Do I ever embarrass you?
Georgia: Yes! When we're walking down the street and we pass a guy, you grab my hand and pull me close to you!
Alicia: I see the boys looking at you and I still think of you as my little five year old.