[Part 2] [Part 3]
Introduction – Appetizers:
Is those below serving those up above?
If anyone has ever had the pleasure (or displeasure) of watching the (addictive) Channel 5 show Rich House, Poor House which follows working-class families in the bottom 10 percent and upper-class families in top 10 percent swapping budgets and lifestyles for a week, it’s no secret the UK shares a long, complicated history with class and wealth divide. The traditional unemployed working-class family earns no more than £57 to £114 in spending money a week from benefits, job placements or JobSeeker’s Allowance (for all us Americans, this is roughly $75 to $149; the British pound has more value). During a relatively vulnerable time in the UK’s political climate, the state of class division is more critical than ever. The lack of class representation seen in the entertainment industry is also nothing less than jarring both behind and in front of the camera (and has been a topic of discussion for decades).
Defunding of the arts in the last four decades or so has left many talented youths from poorer families without the same opportunities to access the range of arts classes and schools as previous generations and their middle to upper-class peers. In the post-war, the emerging generation of actors received elite drama education through a direct grant system; the 1960s was rife with gritty kitchen-sink dramas written by poor people, starring poor people and made for poor people; yet beginning in the mid-1970s, Margaret Thatcher unleashed Satan: grants dwindled and representation on British stages and screens suffered. In turn, this leaves us with a disproportionate number of poor actors vs. privileged actors in our generation—and a poorer depiction of our culture through privileged portrayals.
For reference, in 2013 the Great British Class Survey published that a working-class actor’s average household income per year is placed roughly in the £28,700 range. Likewise, traditional working-class families earn around £13k a year. Compare this figure in the same study where actors raised in middle-class households earn a yearly average of £46,100. Yes, the gap is huge. This phenomenon is dubbed the “class ceiling” by the British press and at present, only 27 percent of actors are born working-class; 73 percent are middle-class. In 2016, a Sutton Trust survey published that of the privately educated, 67 percent are Oscar winners and 42 percent are BAFTA winners.
Not to posh-bash since the scope of the issue is systematic, not because of the actions of a handful of individuals, but the problem of class disparity in the industry hierarchy doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon. In spite of this glaring fact, the domination of privileged actors from fee-paying schools seem to think the spectrum of wealth has had very little impact on their respective careers, luck and visibility. Some will argue:
The history of the world, my sweet—Is who gets eaten, and who gets to eat?
Do They Know Things? Let’s Find Out!
Stars & Celebrities Who Grew Up Privileged
& Are (Were) Oblivious of Classism
“I’m not upper class.”
Gen X: 1976
The Lord of the Lizard People Bendydick Cumstache has an army of fans mainly outside of the Purple Paradise (“We Know Everything About Everyone and You’ll Hear About It Whether You Like or Not”). I won’t judge anyone for finding him charming. If you’re attracted to a foot, sure. Be my guest, sis. (But he does have a pleasant, commanding voice perfect for his craft. I’ll give him that.) Anyhow, he has, without a doubt, lived a posh life. Growing up in Hammersmith, he already had one of his feet that isn’t his face in the door because of his family’s connections in the industry; both of his parents worked as actors. His father (who has ThE mOsT mAdE-uP sOuNdInG pOsH nAmE EVA LiKe StRaIgHt-uP fRoM a RoAlD dAhL nOvEl LeVeLs oF fAkE), Timothy Carlton Congdon Cumberbatch (seriously? Who named this kid and thought, ‘Yep, this sounds totally legit to put on our son’s birth certificate which will follow him for the remainder of his life!’) attended the all boys’ boarding institution, Sherborne School and his mother, Wanda Ventham is a graduate of the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama alongside Judi Dench.
As a child, he attended only the best boarding schools (including Harrow, which in 2019/20 reportedly costs around £41,775 per schoolyear) where he got his feet wet (including his Foot Face) with Shakespeare. From there, he went on to graduate in drama at the Victoria University of Manchester
Does he piss tea and shit biscuits, too? Genuine question.
~Posh~ apparently does not equal ~smart~ as he appears completely unaware of his social class as King Richard III’s rejected offspring and in a 2012 interview, he made sure his fragility was heard, saying, “I wasn't born into land or titles, or new money, or an oil rig.” He may need to schedule an appointment with Dr Superglue; Foot Face is cracking worse than a broken China cup. He later added in 2013: “I’ve never denied my upbringing. Talking about class terrifies me. There is no way of winning. You either come across as being arrogant and ungrateful if you complain about it, or being snooty and over-privileged if you bathe in it. […] I’m definitely middle class, I think. I know others would argue but I’m not upper class. Upper class to me means you are either born into wealth or you’re Royalty. Okay, maybe I’m upper-middle class.”
His estimated net worth is $30 million (about £22.8 million). To add fuel to this flaming go kart of insanity, his former drama teacher at Harrow, Martin Tyrell lives in a parallel dimension where Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior was never born: he believes Benedict’s elite education limits him in the type of parts he’s cast in—which somehow means he’s disadvantaged? “Going to a major independent school is of no importance or value or help at all [to one’s career],” Tyrell said.
It’s no secret Benedict was dropped off by aliens from another planet, giving numerous out-of-touch interviews on class over the years (too numerous to include for one post). Presently, he lives in his own orbit where his Foot Face jumped into a meat grinder, then rolled in a party of coke after baking under the Glorious Star called the Sun of All Saviors, and his non-existent lips are slowly being sucked into the crevices of cyberspace. R.I.P. Lizard Lips. In other news, you lucky, fam to have such a cute wife.
“We didn’t have any money for a while.”
# TimesYa Grammar Kween Emmione
YUUUSSS KWEEEN! Hermione is an ONTD member like the rest of us! Or *dot dot dot* is she? While her words sound inspiring and classy at face value and being the cute bae that she is she doesn’t deny she was well-educated, what is missing from her version of the tale and her carefully manufactured image, however, is that both the good sis’ parents are lawyers. From around 1995/96 until 2003, she attended the co-educational pre-prep and prep day and boarding institution, Lynams nursery and the Dragon School in Oxford (Tom Hiddlebum and his one shirt was also a pupil). The fees [applied to 2019/20] eat up as much as £31,686 for boarders and £21,768 for day pupils each schoolyear (there are three academic terms in British schooling).
Circa 1999-2000, Emma was also a pupil at the Stagecoach Theatre Arts School Oxford Headington, a franchise part-time theatre school (about ten minutes away from the Dragon). According to their website, “The cost per term for Early Stages is £168 and for Main Stages it is £336.” This is simply a luxury skint kids cannot receive without a grant or hardship fund and based on one version of events Emma has told us, it was while she was in attendance at Stagecoach when she was spotted (along with other potentials) by the Potter casting team for the role of Hermione. (I also discovered through related Google searches that some other minor actors from the Potter series, particularly Daniel Radcliffe’s “son” Albus Potter and “mother” Little Lily Potter went to the Dragon School and Stagecoach in Oxford, respectively. “Lily” was even taught by Emma’s former drama teacher and principal, Maya Sprigg—which tells me this woman’s hustle is not a coincidence.)
From there, Emma attended Headington until the age of 18, an independent girls’ day and boarding school. The admission fees for Upper 3-5 and Sixth Form day pupils [applied to 2019/20] is £6,090 per term (£18,270 a year); full boarders pay up to £36,630 a year. Last year, the cost for day pupils was £5,884 per term (£17.5k/yr.). In 2016 before the UK referendum, fees for boarders were roughly £28k a year.
As for her parents’ professions, her father Chris Watson is Head of the CMS Technology, Media and Communications Group (he has a M.A. from the New College, Oxford). We also know from a December 2010 British Vogue interview that he owns a vineyard in France where Emma spent the summers as a child. Her mother Jacqueline “Jackie” (nee Luesby) joined the Smith & Williamson financial services firm in 2007 as a senior manager for their tax team in London (she previously worked for Morgan Cole, a commercial law firm in Oxford and from circa 1990-95 the tax team Ernst & Young, an accounting firm in Paris, Emma’s birthplace). In a September 2015 British Vogue interview, Emma confirmed her parents worked full-time: “My parents couldn’t take the time off; they had careers and they weren’t together. They couldn’t swap in and out like Rubert Grint’s [sic] and Dan Radcliff’s [sic] parents.” Emphasis on careers, not occupations.
tho Dan’s dad has industry connections, sooo…
My basic bitch research skills are unable to track down the estimated salaries of her parents’ positions, but the Great British Class Survey classifies lawyers (including telecommunication lawyers and solicitors) as “elite” and the average household income is placed at £89,000 a year. Me thinks her parents weren’t blowing through £89k on pasta, toast and beans.
Post-Potter, Emma pulled in $3 to $15 million for 2017’s Beauty and the Beast (obviously, this was a decade ago, but in 2010 she was making around $32 million). In 2018, she donated £1 million ($1.4 million) to Justice and Equality, an anti-sexual harassment fund (
No one needs to award her brownie points and even if I (along with most of ONTD) am not fond of her tightly controlled PR image, it’s one step towards acknowledging she’s part of a structural, systematic problem and it’s more than what most privileged celebs are willing to do when called out. On the other hand, homegirl needs to be educated on tax evasion. In the meantime, the Oatmeal Queen is living her best life with her Pop Rocks.
“I went to a boarding school for performing arts, which was different.”
Cole Sprouse’s K-mart Cousin (albeit with the cutest short haircut EVA) screamed “white woman living in a bubble” in a December 2019 interview for the Guardian (published on the 7th). A native of the affluent Westminster area of London her father, Christopher is a commercial photographer who has worked for NME Magazine while her mother, Louise (nee Fawkner-Corbett) is a banker whose family derives from landed gentry (a.k.a. income solely made through landownership á la the Lintons of Wuthering Heights, ONTD’s favourite classic). Her paternal great-uncle, William Arnold Ridley was an actor and playwright while her grandfather, John Harry Dunn Ridley was the head of the BBC engineering department.
When she was nine, she received a scholarship and attended an independent co-educational boarding and day institution in Hertfordshire, the Arts Educational School, Tring Park (renamed Tring Park School for the Performing Arts in 2009, the year before Daisy graduated). Like all arts/drama schools, the audition fee [applied to 2019/20] is £45 per course; the registration fee is £250; and the term fees for Lower Sixth to Upper Sixth Form day pupils is £8,170 while boarders pay up to £12,350 per term (fees for lower years and additional charges applied to school uniforms, examination fees, library book fines, etc. are covered at the source).
When journalist Nosheen Iqbal of the Guardian asked Daisy a valid question in regards to her privilege and how it has maybe prepared her in her newfound celebrity circle, she became defensive and lost for words. In an awkward loose train of incomplete thought (and although I suppose she learned the value of money by working in pubs while attending Birkbeck, University of London before landing the role of Rey), she stated that she believes her upbringing is no different than her co-star’s.
“John [Boyega] grew up on a council estate [OP note: public housing for the working classes] in Peckham and I think me and him are similar enough that… no… Also, I went to a boarding school for performing arts, which was different. […] I’m not saying what you’re saying is wrong. I’ve just never been asked that before, so I’m like, oh. I don’t think so.”
You were born to (if not elite) financially stable Jars of Mayo, sis.
Not only is Prince John Boyega—you know—a person of colour, the son of British Nigerian parents from South London (a.k.a. WORLDS away from Westminster in terms of wealth, demographics and attractions and Peckham even boasts a mix of opposite communities on both polished and unpolished streets), he stated on his Twitter he applied for a hardship fund as an underprivileged youth in order to attend Theatre Peckham, a performing arts programme (info on fees is unavailable).
From when this article is saying I had to apply for a hardship fund to join theatre Peckham please don’t read this bullshit and start debating it online. Let’s be better.— John Boyega (@JohnBoyega) December 7, 2019
However, in an earlier interview on the 3rd of December for GQ, she said, “I’m going to tell you something so shocking for Americans but not Brits: I don’t massively care about the royal family [OP note: Though she was clear she reserves sympathy for Meghan Markle]. I am not a royalist. […] The other day, there was a story that the Queen uses six rooms in the palace. Six. How is that a good thing? It’s prime real estate.” Is it possible that she considers, like Bendydick Cucumberpatch, royalty status to be the only privileged class of Britain? Take this as you will.
Daisy’s current net worth is estimated to be $6 million (about £4.5 million which will annually increase). Although Daisy greatly embarrassed herself, here’s hoping the good sis Emmione can send her an owl (“Rich White People Don’t Know Shit; Read a Book, The First Edition”) and learn from this experience. Honestly, I’m not in the massive fandom that is the Religion of Star Wars, but at least the English Princess blesses us with cute gifs:
Seconds & Desserts:
How gratifying for once to know that those above will serve those down below.
guess who’s in part 2?
+Bonus (Seconds): RADA Snob—Sir Michael Gambon infamously said to the Radio Times in 2015: “The more Old Etonians [sic] the better, I think! […] The more geniuses you get, the better. It’s to do with being actors and wanting to do it; it’s nothing to do with where they come from.”
(Dis)honourable Mentions (Desserts): The (How to Train Your) Dragon School Boys—Tom Hiddleston (also of Eton and RADA) and Hugh Laurie; Old Etonian Bruhs—Damien Lewis and Dominic West
Part 2: Stars & Celebrities Who Grew Up Skint
Starring King Alan Rickman, Dame Julie Walters, Prince James McAvoy and Princess Katie Jarvis
Coming Soon to a Pie Shop on Fleet Street
[OP note: It’s pretty much done; I just need to fine tune the text; fact check sources and perfect the post formatting!]
Film Recommendations (British Cinema): Ratcatcher (Drama, 1999; Dir. Lynne Ramsay); Kelly and Her Sisters (Documentary, 2001; Dir. Marilyn Gaunt) and the sequel Kelly and Her Sisters Grow Up (2012); Wasp (Short, 2003; Dir. Andrea Arnold); Red Road (Drama, 2006; Dir. Andrea Arnold); Fish Tank (Drama, 2009; Dir. Andrea Arnold); Growing Up Poor: Girls and Growing Up Poor: Boys (Documentary, 2013); Poor Kids: Life on the Breadline (Documentary, 2019)
+Bonus (Irish Cinema): Falling on Hard Times in Dublin, a.k.a. Dublin Poverty: Mount Pleasant Buildings (Documentary, 1967)
Additional Source: 52 | 53 | 54 | 55 | 56 | 57 | 58 | 59
Pics Source: Google, Tumblr
Header Graphic: Me
So, for the sake of my anxiety, I need to take my mind off a while the political mess in Iran: I am a
WHEW! So, this took AGES to research and write (approx. 2 weeks) and ended up WAY longer than expected. I gathered sources last year and school fees have increased since the Brexit shitstorm. A lot more material was covered, but was ultimately left out because we all know # ONTDDontRead fam.
TL; DR Are you poor, ONTD? Were you blessed with an elite education? How do y’all want to eat the rich (grilled, boiled, sautéed, fried, marinated, etc.)? And SERIOUSLY, genuine question: Does Benedict Cumstache piss tea and shit biscuits? # WhatIsTheTruth?