In the week that Prince George told his classmates to ‘“stay away from him as his father would one day be King,” another first-born heir takes to the stage, that of Brooklyn Beckham. At 23, his ‘callings’ are in the tens, whatever will be next, asks Kate Demolder
You come to this place in life. You don’t know how you got here, but suddenly you’re staring thirty in the face and wondering what on Earth is Brooklyn Beckham up to now. The boychild of David and Victoria Beckham’s trajectory as an adult man has pivoted somewhat amusingly from footballer to photographer to author to model and now chef all before the age of 23. A frame-by-frame rundown of each would be cruel, but special mention must be made of the Penguin Random House collection of Brooklyn’s photography, which featured iconic images such as an elephant taken against the light so that only the background could be clearly discerned, glossed by the self-penned caption, “elephants in Kenya. so hard to photograph but incredible to see”. Such is the equivalent of a journalist writing a profile but instead penning ‘you just had to be there’. Or perhaps you prefer the blurred one of a restaurant dinner: “i like this picture – it’s out of focus but you can tell there’s a lot going on.” A launch party at Christie’s London would accompany the work’s publication.
The ‘former model’, according to Wikipedia, who has recently taken on the double barrel of Peltz-Beckham by way of his bride Nicola, the daughter of American billionaire Nelson Peltz, feels somewhat like Paddington Bear made man, somewhat finding himself as a forthright member of a royal family with no real idea why he got there. Theirs, you see, is a nepotism marriage, made in Palm Beach, Florida. Laugh as we might, nepotism is as American as apple pie and as British as savage colonialism, deriving originally from the Latin word nepos, meaning nephew. Hailing as far back as the early Renaissance, when ambitious popes, who (at least, in theory) did not have offspring, appointed their nephews to positions of great power within the Catholic Church. Take the Borgias (a power-hungry and seemingly sexually deviant European papal family of Spanish origin) for example, who produced three popes within the Catholic Church; the first was Callistus III who served as pope from April 1455 until his death on August 1458 and thereafter made two of his nephews cardinals. One of them went on to become pope, and once in power, he made his teenage son, along with the son’s teenage friend, cardinals. A papal bull was eventually drafted to limit such blatant nepotism but it was largely ignored. Much like Golden Balls’ leniency when it comes to his firstborn taking shit pictures of wildlife.
Secular society, too, was and is riddled with nepotism. Ancient Rome and its upper echelons of society were hand-crafted via complex webs of patronage and influence emanating from a handful of powerful families; a little less Spartacus and a lot more Logan Roy. And British society is no different. Ever wonder where the expression “Bob’s your uncle” comes from? It refers to one Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil, a three-time British prime minister who, in the late 19th century, came under staunch criticism when he promoted his nephew to an important post. Fascinating that his first three initials literally spell rat.
Just this week, Beckham graces the cover of a number of fashion front pages by way of his catwalk with wife Peltz in Vogue World and Paris Fashion Week, despite neither being a model nor designer, but fascinatingly, a chef. According to the cover headline: “Nicola Peltz, Brooklyn Beckham turn heads in matching outfits at Givenchy PFW show”. Have they? You always fight the mind last. He does, however, boast some 14.5 million Instagram followers, and a video of him preparing fish and chips with a friend does have 174K likes, despite the top comment being ‘didn’t season the batter or the fish’.
At the time of writing, Brooklyn insists he is in the world of food, hitting back at those questioning his career choices in an Instagram Live session after fans questioned his culinary skills. “I am not a chef, I am a cook,” he said, before adding: “I just absolutely love cooking and starting from the very bottom and you know, learning, I’m going to be learning every day.” During that same Live, Peltz read out a comment asking if her husband can sing, to which she responded “he can sing, he sings in the shower every day.” After being encouraged to sing by his followers and wife, Brooklyn jokingly said: “I know, but if I sing they’ll go, ‘Oh, now he is a singer.’ I’m not going to do it, everyone will wake up to Daily Mail articles being like ‘Oh he is a singer now.’ No, but I do love to sing.”
Saying that it’s not just lacklustre cod for B. Peltz-Beckham. “His longer-term dreams are even more entrepreneurial,” we learn from a recent Variety profile, “and he hopes to use television to ensconce himself in the food world.” Or, perhaps more accurately, food to ensconce himself in the television world. “I’ve always said to my wife,” says Beckham Peltz, “we should actually do a reality TV show because she’s so funny.” Fascinating. “I want to have so many TV shows, and hopefully one day open up a pub in LA because LA needs a pub.” The interviewer drops that “while he won’t share specifics, he is planning to launch a branded product ‘in the sauce department’ later this year”.
It’s a helluva drug, that ‘born into wealth’ lark. Naturally many will scupper his ability to do what other mere mortals might regard as simple hobbies without flipping them into concrete professional empires, but this sort of vantage point into the covert blindness celebrity offspring generally have around their own privilege is unparalleled, one sort of feels like they are the pied piper as well as the mice. It feels oddly linked to hustle culture; in a world where everything is content, can everything also be a career? In a world where celebrities deign to appear ‘just like us’ – with square metres of the Beckham dynasty’s supposed intimate moments laid out on social media by the order of their conjoined publicists – can we blame the trotting filly from the trotting foal? After all, when a video of David Beckham training his three Cocker Spaniels emerges online for International Dog Day when D Becks has a net worth of £450M and most certainly does not train his dogs, lest train them on the kitchen floor – what can we actually believe? I am of course not questioning his ownership, expression of love or affection, merely the efficiency. Might the easiest way to maintain followers not simply take your top off, rather than relieve the staff of Spaniel duties, make your ascent off the yacht and get your minions to type a message into Instagram’s servers to your 75.4 million followers?
Perhaps such is the nepotism baby’s role; to deliver gaiety to their founding nations. And more power to them, we need a little light in the darkness, and maybe a series of blatant, misled cash-grabs are just the ticket. “I found what I absolutely love to do a little later in my life,” explains Brooklyn, 23, “but I absolutely love it.” As for the previous professional callings, “I was still trying to find that one thing I would literally die for, and I found that with cooking.” Such a declaration must allow him to feel like Charlie Haughey, fetishising Charvet shirts and generally being a bit of a fuckabout to all who’ll listen. “The best part of your twenties is going insane,” a recent Tweet I read said. And while Brooklyn’s logistically difficult – much like Love Island’s insistence that it won’t host an LGBT+ cast – trajectory is perhaps embarrassing for a dad who made his fame on hairbands and a mum who pouted a bit on the world’s biggest stages, Brooklyn’s newest vibe feels like it’s just catching up to everyone’s banana bread obsession during Lockdown One. And that’s just how we like it. So insane it is! And to all a goodnight. And for those who question whether BPB is planning a pivot to the House of Commons, remember that Gordon Brown ate four KitKats a day, later switching to nine bananas –– neither of which involve cooking, which would be right up Brooklyn’s street.