Skirting the Issue - A tale of two very different Katies

I had some unexpected time off work this week thanks to a toddler with a fierce ear infection and a desire to have her mother no more than 10 feet from her at any time.

While off I managed to catch about ten minutes of This Morning which I tuned into as, sad confession time, I used to have quite a notion on Philip Schofield.

Switching on I saw that Philip was interviewing Katie Price (aka Jordan). Now, there are times when I admire Katie. She is certainly a keen business woman and has forged herself a very successful career out of doing very little other than pouting and wearing too much make up. (Catty? Me? Never!)

She seems an almost constant presence in our lives - on our TV screens, in our newspapers and magazines, on our book shelves. And yet, when I watched her be interviewed she actually didn’t have too much to say - and certainly nothing that we have not heard before.

She spoke a little about her failed marriage to cage fighter Alex Reid (which lasted about 23 seconds from memory) and her failed marriage to singer Peter Andre. Neither marital failures were in anyway her fault, of course.

And then she waxed lyrical about how she was trying to protect her children from the glare of the media. Her three kids, Harvey, Junior and Princess have featured very strongly in her various television series over the years and for a while you couldn’t log onto Twitter without seeing one or two or all three of them paraded for all to see.

Now, however, the woman famous for selling every detail of her life (sordid or not) has decided to pull back a bit and keep things on an altogether more subtle level - well at least when it comes to her family.

Everything else is still fair game - from her highlights to her boob jobs and her thoroughly unpleasant personality.

Her new series, which she was no doubt made a small fortune for, premiered on Sky Living on Tuesday night. I didn’t watch it. Her snooty chat with my lovely Philip was enough to put me off.

Sitting there with her hair extensions, her false eyelashes, her ladled on make up and her designer clothes she should have looked attractive but she looked entirely the opposite - fake and unpleasant.

But as I scanned the channels I came across a programme about another Katie - Katie Piper. Like Katie Price, Katie Piper held certain ambitions regarding fame and fortune.

She was a model, and a TV presenter and wanted very much to one day make it as a maintstream celebrity. But in 2008 Katie Piper became involved in a relationship with a man called Stefan Sylvestre who, unbeknownst to her, had a history of violent behaviour.

Sulphuric acid

During the course of their very brief relationship he beat her and subjected her to a prolonged sexual assault. He later arranged for a man called Daniel Lynch to ambush Ms Piper outside an internet cafe and throw sulphuric acid in her face.

Her injuries were horrific. She lost the sight in one eye and has been left with permanent scarring, despite numerous surgical procedures.

For two years she was forced to wear a plastic mask for 23 hours a day to help her face to heal. Her life changed, irrevocably, in the split second it took for Lynch to douse her in acid.

There was no chance of a career as a model. Her media career seemed to have ended there and then and she began a long road to recovery.

But Katie Piper eventually found the strength to push on with her life in a quiet and unassuming way. She allowed the cameras from Channel 4’s Cutting Edge documentary series into her life and showed just how things had been turned on their head since she was attacked.

On Tuesday night her latest TV venture ‘Katie: My Beautiful Friends’ was screened - where Katie helped and supported those who had also been disfigured during their lifetime.

She has even set up her own charitable foundation, the Katie Piper Foundation, which offers help and support to those with disfigurements. Simon Cowell has praised her to high heaven, describing her as “one of the most inspirational people” he knows - and he has backed her charity with his patronage.

Katie Piper may not be traditionally beautiful, but there is a strength and determination which shines through. In spite of the setbacks she has faced she has managed to come through it all with dignity and she has her TV career now.

Okay, it may not what she dreamed it would be originally but she is happy and fulfilled.

Looking at Katie Price, exceptionally rich and at the top of her game in the media world, I could not help but see a stark difference.

Whoever cleverly scheduled their programmes side by side should get an award - because the juxtaposition was stark and there was only one conclusion I could draw from it is that beauty goes so much further than skin deep.