The World’s Richest Teenager and Me
Some people work hard for wealth. Some do not. This programme focuses on the offspring of the former who, themselves, fall into the latter category.
Beginning in Ohio, Mark Dolan (my latest weird documentary presenter crush), travels to Dubai, Russia and finally Thailand to provide an insight into the lives of the über-rich teen. It is in Ohio where he meets the daughter of a man living the American dream. As with all the ‘providers’ of these children, he came from nothing and worked his way up to success. This is admirable. And to be fair, his daughter, Lacey, was a bit grounded. A bit. She had non-rich friends and knew that when she went to college she wouldn’t be taking a personal trainer and chef with her. Do you see what I mean by ‘a bit’?!
Dubai was home to the only boy featured in the documentary. With his father another business tycoon, Eilan enjoyed horse-riding and was promised that he’d be able to enter a riding competition if he did well at school. He did not do well at school, yet his dad still paid for the competition to go ahead. To me this appears to be setting your child up for a fall. When the father was questioned about how much he was worth he played it down hugely suggesting they weren’t much wealthier than the rest of us.
It wasn’t just the Dubai family who refused to disclose figures. In Russia, Kira Plastinina, who created her fashion empire aged fourteen, was not allowed to answer any questions about money. Because her PR people would not allow it. Dolan regularly questioned whether her PR people understood that this documentary was about wealth and stated how it would’ve been like him interviewing the world’s smallest man (something he’s previously documented) and being told that he couldn’t mention the height. It was clear that he was getting rather irritated at the barriers that kept surrounding that ominous ‘M’ word: Money.
It was the richest teenager who came across best. With her family worth about three billion dollars, Pear attended a state school and shopped at Topshop. She lived in a hotel that her family owned, but would never dream of making that known in their fitness centre as she says that the customer must come first, not her. Dolan was clearly impressed saying that he’d be far less modest and would probably by himself a t-shit saying “I own this hotel” were he in the same situation. Pear received £3 a day allowance. If she wants something that she can’t afford, she must wait and save up for it. At the moment she’s got her eye on a sewing machine. This is a girl who could easily be one of the richest teens in the world and yet her attitude to the wealth is truly admirable.
There’s clearly a lot of pressure on her from her father to find her own place within the family business, which Dolan concludes as being a necessary accompaniment to the wealth. With money comes huge responsibility and the programme shows how the different parents project this responsibility onto their children. At 17, I am the same age as most of those featured in the show. I don’t have their money, but then again, I clearly don’t have the same pressure thrown onto me. Sure, I get nagged at to revise in order to get the A Level results to get me into University in the same way that my parents continued to Higher Education. However the pressures that these teens have thrust upon them are far more difficult to cope with.
And this leaves me with a question for you: Would you want to be that rich?
Personally – No. But I wouldn’t turn down a few extra pounds to afford a laptop that didn’t keep freezing as I streamed the documentary!