Jade Goody might not be a household name here in the U.S., but in Britain she’s a tabloid darling a la our Lindsay Lohan or Paris Hilton. She became so popular with the tabloids because of her brash, no-holds-barred attitude on the British ‘Big Brother’ reality show, where she wasn’t afraid to say what was on her mind, no matter how derogatory, crazy, or shocking it was. Before she began this reality-show stint, she was just a boozing, overweight daughter of drug addicts who was in severe financial trouble. In most instances, this lifestyle would have led to nothing but poverty, pain, and one more overlooked life in this world. But in the world of reality television, Jade’s background and the effect it has had on her personality is pure gold.
People quickly became fascinated with the then 21-year-old; there was just something about this hard-living young woman that the nation ate up, and she would later go on to pen a popular autobiography and peddle her own perfume and an exercise video. In 2007 on ‘Celebrity Big Brother’, she made some racist remarks about Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty, which turned the morbid interest in her life into disdain for it.
Jade Goody tried to make up for this mistake by starring on the Indian version of ‘Big Brother’, but it was there that she learned, just last August, that she had cervical cancer. It has since spread throughout the 27-year-old’s body, and doctors recently told her there’s little they can do for her now.
So the reality star is attempting to do what she can with the remaining weeks she probably has to live. She’s planning on wedding her 21-year-old boyfriend, Jack Tweed, who was just recently released from prison, and spending as much time with him and their children as she can. It must have been a terrible shock to Jack to realize just how bad of shape Jade is really in, but she’s determined to make it down the aisle in a wedding dress, even if she has to be wheeled down in a hospital bed.
While her story is so sad and shocking, it hasn’t stopped the tabloids from documenting Jade Goody’s every move. Her brunette locks have been replaced with a bald head, but in many of the pictures the tabloids have captured of her, she smiles on. In fact, she’s implied that she doesn’t really hold a grudge against the press; she actually embraces it. Jade has said that the money her image and her story have brought her will help pay for her kids’ future, and since so much of her life has been documented on camera, she’s going to be documented dying on it, as well (though she doesn’t plan on her actual dying moment being videotaped).
But Jade Goody is much more than a dying reality star; she’s a human being in a horrible situation whose story could help save lives. She’s only 27, and cervical cancer is already extremely close to taking her life. She has been trying to use her experience to encourage young women to get regular pap smears, and with HPV, a virus that can cause cervical cancer, being to prevalent in young adults, it’s more important than ever for young women to look at this girl’s life and believe that they could be Jade someday if they don’t take care of themselves. In fact, Jade Goody’s story is already having an effect on young women in Britain; the numbers of women seeking cervical cancer screenings there has increased by 21 percent.
She may be crass, uneducated and hated by many for using publicity to make a life for herself, but the reason the public was so fascinated by her is because she wasn’t afraid of being herself. It’s hard to believe that someone famous for being on a reality show could actually leave a very important legacy and possibly save lives, but it’s good to know is possible.