There was nothing wrong with them, apart from being broad and flat, but for as long as Constance could remember, she had dreamed of slipping narrow, elegant feet into strappy stilettos. Her partner of eight years, leading barrister Anthony Arlidge QC, was, however, horrified. He said I needed to have my head tested and refused to take me to the airport. They were too broad and I wanted to be able to wear nice shoes. It was, she admits, extremely painful. She loves her feet now.
|Published (Last):||20 May 2005|
|PDF File Size:||4.47 Mb|
|ePub File Size:||9.48 Mb|
|Price:||Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]|
There was nothing wrong with them, apart from being broad and flat, but for as long as Constance could remember, she had dreamed of slipping narrow, elegant feet into strappy stilettos. Her partner of eight years, leading barrister Anthony Arlidge QC, was, however, horrified. He said I needed to have my head tested and refused to take me to the airport. They were too broad and I wanted to be able to wear nice shoes. It was, she admits, extremely painful.
She loves her feet now. There is something faintly disturbing about an intelligent, high-achieving, successful woman putting herself through a medically unnecessary operation just so she can fit into her favourite pair of Luc Berjen heels.
But then Constance Briscoe is no ordinary woman and her relationship with her looks was, it seems, shaped by the appalling abuse she claims she suffered as a child - recorded in unflinching detail in her best- selling and highly controversial memoir Ugly. In the book, published two years ago, Constance alleges that her beautiful Jamaican mother Carmen and stepfather Garfield Eastman regularly beat her as a child and repeatedly criticised her looks, once refusing to buy her school photograph with the words: "You is ugly.
Her mother, she tells me, had lovely narrow feet. This year she wants to have her eyelids done. They are a bit heavy, she says, although to my untrained eye they look anything but. I was ugly. He was just trying to persuade me not to have the operation in the nicest possible way.
He only had to look at me to see I was in need of a sharp scalpel. For years I tried not to look in a mirror in case I caught my ugliness looking back at me. I had no reason to doubt her," she claims. To me it most definitely does. She is a devoted mother to Martin, 20, and Francesca, 18, from her year relationship with lawyer Adam Wilson, and now lives with barrister Arlidge, 20 years her senior, whom she met in in the cafe of the Old Bailey.
She has already penned her first manuscript and started on her second. There are those, however, who claim that her most impressive piece of fiction is in fact her memoir Ugly. Her mother Carmen, 72, supported by some of her 11 children, has issued a writ for defamation, insisting the abuse never happened.
Carmen, who arrived in Britain in aged 18 with her philandering Jamaican husband George - who left her when Constance was a baby - insisted she was a loving mother who never abused Constance. She denied beating Constance throughout her childhood for wetting the bed; she denied cutting her with a knife when Constance failed to pluck a chicken properly; she denied calling her daughter ugly and twisting her breasts so hard that Constance later had to undergo an operation to remove cysts.
She denied that her then partner Garfield Eastman, who has also threatened legal action, sexually touched Constance on one occasion or that her daughter tried to kill herself aged 11 by drinking bleach after social services refused her request to be taken into care.
The legal situation is ongoing. That would have made Constance 17 at the time. Constance shuffles her papers and says she is still searching for more documentation. Then she shows me copies of two letters from her medical file dated February , when she was 14 years old. They detail her allegations that her mother hurt her breasts and that her stepfather hit her and touched her privates.
He describes Constance as "tearful" and "unwilling to go home". They also record an unsuccessful attempt by her to commit suicide. Yet move on Constance certainly did, although her upward trajectory was far from smooth. She describes how she put herself through university, often feeling acutely lonely and jealous of other students whose family lives seemed so normal compared to hers. Having spent all her life believing she was ugly, Constance was "floored" to discover that these three women had apparently complained about her to senior members saying she had "lost her black consciousness" with her straightened hair, fondness for make-up and over-familiarity with white men.
I quite like flirting with men. Her daughter was born two years later, but her year relationship with Adam Wilson - whom she met when they both worked for the Brixton Advice Centre - ended in Adam met someone else, but that was only partly to blame for the relationship breaking down," says Constance.
She has invested all her money in their education and wellbeing, giving them the kind of start in life she never had. Share or comment on this article: Most watched News videos.
I read some of the reviews and that helped me to make up my own mind. Let me try to show you. I agree with the people who said the book was repetetive. But with every book I read during the last weeks, I had this same thought: Gosh, that could be shortened Of course, it was When I read the book, I was not sure whether I liked it or not. The repetition was her life and the literal device deepens that impression.
UGLY! by Constance Briscoe
She stared from the photograph to me. This amazingly awe inspiring true story of the horrible life the writer had to put up with truly shows the strength of the human spirit. As a teenager it makes you realise how lucky we are and makes you stop and think about the millions of children that face this problem everyday. Coming from a broken family, with her dad leaving Constance, otherwise known as Clare with 5 other brothers and sisters and her mum.