Reporter: Liam Bartlett
Producer: Gareth Harvey
It's a big call but the lady you're about to meet is convinced other women hate her just because she's pretty.
Anti-feminist crusader Samantha Brick claims her fabulous good looks have been a curse, that they've lost her friends and made her life Hell.
But perhaps the problem isn't her beauty but rather her outspoken views on marriage and relationships.
She wants to return to the dark ages where the dutiful wife cooks, cleans and obeys.
P>LIAM BARTLETT: INTRO: Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all? If you’re British newspaper columnist Samantha Brick, the answer is ‘me’.
SAMANTHA: Do I think I’m attractive? Yes, I do.
LIAM BARTLETT: Brick unleashed an international catfight by revealing what she says is the sisterhood’s dirty secret - that women hate beautiful women.
SAMANTHA: Why does the sisterhood hate attractive women? The crime that I’ve committed is that I dare to say that I am beautiful, that I’m attractive, and that other women don’t like me for it.
LIAM BARTLETT: How dare you?
SAMANTHA: How dare I? Yeah, I like it actually. It's quite flattering - I've got hips, I've got a bottom, but this kind of flatters all those areas that could be problematic.
LIAM BARTLETT: In the world according to Samantha Brick, forget brains, forget talent. Women judge each other on looks alone.
SHOP ASSISTANT: Yeah, yeah, it's good - fitting in all the right places.
LIAM BARTLETT: We’ll let you judge her beauty, but there’s no doubt she’s become a blonde-haired heretic to the feminist cause.
SAMANTHA: You look great. You know you look great. Cut the crap! But that is a crime amongst the sisterhood.
GERMAINE: She’s Cinderella - she’s good and virtuous and she’s surrounded by ugly sisters and they just do mean things.
LIAM BARTLETT: Brick-baiting in the UK is almost an Olympic sport - whose gold medalist is feminist Germaine Greer.
GERMAINE: I think what Samantha would say is that she’s saying the things no-one else dares to say, that what everybody really knows is that old, fat women like me hate lithe, gorgeous women like her.
LIAM BARTLETT: The unspeakable truth.
GERMAINE: Yeah, except that it’s obviously nonsense, because she’s just not a great beauty.
SAMANTHA: Women can be vile. Women can be really vile, far worse than men.
LIAM BARTLETT: And nowhere more bitchy than at the workfront, says Samantha.
SAMANTHA: Women bosses have been the bane of my life, absolutely. They will keep you down if they see you as a threat. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the phrase in Australia, the ‘Queen Bee’ syndrome?
LIAM BARTLETT: Yes, very much.
SAMANTHA: Yeah, every office, every group of women, there’s always the Queen Bee, and if another woman comes into that situation and looks as good as her or better, it causes untold amounts of problems and it’s the thing - it’s the one taboo that women still won’t ‘fess up and talk about.
LIAM BARTLETT: So the life of the good looking can be very difficult?
SAMANTHA: It can be. Yeah, it can be. It can be very difficult.
LIAM BARTLETT: Let me quote her: she says women find nothing more annoying than someone else being the most attractive girl in the room.
LIAM BARTLETT: Isn’t there a grain of truth in that?
GERMAINE: No. Well, what ‘women’ is she talking about? For goodness sake, I mean normal women are quite capable of recognising beauty, especially in a younger woman. She’s wrong about that. She’s wrong about people discriminating against her because she’s beautiful. They discriminate against her because she’s a pain in the arse. I mean, it’s perfectly obvious.
LIAM BARTLETT: What’s obvious to Samantha is that if her beauty turns women off, there’s no reason she shouldn’t use it to turn men on.
SAMANTHA: Men buying me drinks, being bought a bunch of flowers, when I crossed Paris once someone paid for my taxi.
LIAM BARTLETT: Okay, here’s the biggie: how beautiful do you think you are?
SAMANTHA: Oh gosh, how beautiful do I think I am? I think on a good day, if I make an effort, I can look fantastic.
LIAM BARTLETT: She says her looks open doors.
GERMAINE: Can we just work this one out? Do they open doors or shut them? First of all she says oh, I’m being discriminated against ‘cause I’m so lovely. Now she says I’ve used my looks to get where I am. Just shut up, Samantha, for God’s sake.
LIAM BARTLETT: Something Germaine herself significantly failed to do when the temptation to be bitchy was dangled before her - in the shape of the Prime Minister’s posterior.
GERMAINE: You’ve got a big arse, Julia. Just get over it.
LIAM BARTLETT: I mean, you’ve been guilty of it yourself - critiquing people on the basis of their physical attributes - when you were talking about the Prime Minister’s bottom.
GERMAINE: I wasn’t talking about her backside, I was talking about her jacket.
LIAM BARTLETT: You were talking about the size of her bum.
GERMAINE: I said “so you’ve got a big arse, get on with it.” Most of us have big arses.
LIAM BARTLETT: Can you imagine a bloke saying that about a head of state, talking about their backside? Can you imagine a bloke getting away with that? That’s exactly what Samantha Brick’s talking about.
GERMAINE: You can say whatever you like about a head of state. Have you see the cartoons of David Cameron as a condom?
LIAM BARTLETT: As if her views on beauty - particularly her own - weren’t enough, Samantha Brick has further stoked feminist rage with her views on marriage – again, her own. She’s moved to chateau country in the south of France, to become what she calls a Frenchman’s trophy wife. I mean, what kind of trophy are we talking about?
SAMANTHA: I describe myself as a trophy wife. You know, I’m married to a much older guy. He treats me like a princess. I love getting dressed up for him. Our roles are very defined, in terms of he’s very macho, I’m very feminine. You know, he’s your husband. Revere him, love him, that’s what a trophy wife does.
LIAM BARTLETT: It has to be charitably said that the word ‘chauvinist’ could have been invented for Pascal Rubenat, and the rules of this house are written by him - not liberty, or equality, but calorie.
SAMANTHA: Pascal, being Pascal, wasn’t backward in coming forward in telling me I needed to shift some of the pounds, so I literally got on my bike to do that.
LIAM BARTLETT: And if Samantha doesn’t keep her weight in check, she doesn’t get her monthly clothing allowance.
SAMANTHA: There’s a computer screen with the bike, and Pascal will check so he knows exactly what I’ve done.
LIAM BARTLETT: You know your countrymen came up with the word chauvinist.
LIAM BARTLETT: Chauvin.
PASCAL: Yeah. I’m a little, just a little.
LIAM BARTLETT: Just a little? He must be joking! So it’s very important to you that she stays slim?
PASCAL: Ah. She must.
LIAM BARTLETT: Really?
PASCAL: Yeah, she must.
LIAM BARTLETT: It’s very, very important.
PASCAL: Yeah, it’s important because I think a woman - when she’s beautiful, it’s really what you see. It’s really agreeable.
SAMANTHA: It’s good.
LIAM BARTLETT: Agreeable.
PASCAL: It’s good.
PASCAL: No, I like that, yeah.
LIAM BARTLETT: So she must stay slim to be beautiful.
LIAM BARTLETT: But hang on buster, what about this?
PASCAL: Too big, yeah. I’m a man!
LIAM BARTLETT: What’s that got to do with it? And Samantha not only takes it, she writes glowingly about Pascal checking her weight. You know, I mean, if I told my wife to hop on the scales -
LIAM BARTLETT: - while I recorded her weight, I’d end up in hospital or in the doghouse at the very least.
SAMANTHA: But does she talk to you about your weight, Liam? So many guys have said to me, I wish I could say it - be able to speak like that to my wife - because I know she could look so much better, and then we wouldn’t have those awkward conversations where she asks me if she looks big in this and I really want to say yes, you do look big in that darling.
LIAM BARTLETT: So you think there are people all round the world who would love to be Pascal?
SAMANTHA: Yeah. I do.
LIAM BARTLETT: And the benefits of being Pascal don’t stop with being able to tell his wife she’s fat.
SAMANTHA: Every day I get up and I, you know, wear something nice that I know he’s going to like, and he loves it when I’ve got my, you know, I’m made up with makeup and lipstick.
LIAM BARTLETT: Amongst the men-folk in the local village, Samantha is known as Pascal’s ‘blonde poppet.’
SAMANTHA: Am I happy with that? I love it, it’s great. I mean, who wouldn’t be, yeah? Yeah.
LIAM BARTLETT: What is a poppet?
SAMANTHA: It’s like darling. It’s like darling.
GERMAINE: A 43-year-old blonde poppet.
LIAM BARTLETT: That’s what she says.
GERMAINE: Wonder how long the shelf-life is of such a poppet. You can’t have a poppet that’s long in the tooth, really, can you? I mean, are we in the real world or where are we? We’re in Samantha-ville.
SAMANTHA: I think if women like Germaine Greer choose to attack me, I’ll just say she’s out of touch. I think feminism almost went too far in that women were expected to do everything, so be a mother, be a cook, be a wife, earn an income, you know. I’m just reclaiming the role that I want to play. I don’t want to be all these different things.
LIAM BARTLETT: And so while Pascal, who renovates houses, labours outside in the woodpile as real men do, Sam spends hours, every day, buying the makings for the defining point of Pascal’s day - his lunch.
SAMANTHA: Like most Frenchmen he knows exactly what he likes to eat, and so I have to buy the bread at a certain shop. I have to buy our charcuterie products at a certain shop because he knows what he likes.
LIAM BARTLETT: Sam has to be home by 11:00, because Pascal demands lunch at 12:15 - and there’s a lot of lunch!
LIAM BARTLETT: So what time will he be here today?
SAMANTHA: He’ll be here at 12:00.
LIAM BARTLETT: Exactly?
SAMANTHA: Yeah. And then I have to be ready for him when he comes.
LIAM BARTLETT: How many courses are you making Pascal today?
SAMANTHA: He’s having five normally.
LIAM BARTLETT: Five?
SAMANTHA: Yeah, that’s normal for a French household.
LIAM BARTLETT: Every day you cook him a five-course lunch?
SAMANTHA: Yeah. Yeah.
LIAM BARTLETT: No.
SAMANTHA: Yes. Yep. For me it’s normal now. I can understand why you might be quite shocked, but for us it’s normal. It works for us.
LIAM BARTLETT: It would work for me too, if my wife was serving me a five-course meal I’d be in Heaven. It’s like a scene from the Stepford Wives, or a 1950s sitcom. And when lunch is over, Pascal will have his siesta, after Samantha massages his scalp with lavender oil. That he’s happy with life is hardly surprising, but so, undoubtedly, is Samantha - for now.
LIAM BARTLETT: Pascal, if Sam started eating a lot tomorrow and got fat, would you divorce her?
PASCAL: No, don’t know. No, I’d take a mistress!
LIAM BARTLETT: Is there any difference between being a trophy wife and a doormat?
SAMANTHA: Oh, there’s loads of differences, yeah, of course. I’m not a doormat, I’m not a servant, you know. We’re all born on this planet to be loved and to love, and that’s the relationship I have right now and it’s brilliant.