I know a Real-Life Princess

I watch Princess a lot. If you haven’t already seen it, Princess is a Canadian television show on the Slice network in which personal finance guru Gail Vaz-Oxlade guides spoiled young women (and sometimes men) who spend too much money on clothes, the spa, shopping, restaurants, and going out into making a change and becoming financially responsible and independent. I record every episode and religiously watch to see what happens; you never know whether the girl will be receptive to the help or if she will choose to keep up her destructive behaviour.

Needless to say, I was completely floored when I turned on my television the other day and instantly recognized the young woman on Princess as a former classmate of mine. We were in a Fashion Arts program together in Toronto about four years ago, and although we weren’t extremely close, we had many classes together so I felt like I knew her. Being in a program in which materialism is promoted and designer clothing is something to lust after, it is not surprising at all that a classmate would have financial issues. From what I remember, she was very articulate, intelligent, and seemed to have a maturity that my nineteen-year-old immature self envied.

What really shocked me was that this particular classmate seemed to be smart and mature, and I had made an assumption that this meant she was financially responsible as well. It was pretty weird to watch someone I know go through some very personal aspects of her life publicly. It gave me intimate details of her life which I otherwise would never have known.

I will admit at first it was difficult not to judge her but as the show went on I realized she is the intelligent, articulate person I found her to be many years ago; an intelligent person who can admit the mistakes she made, fix them, and make herself a better person for it. I give anyone who goes onto a television show and shares one’s finances with the world so much credit; it takes a lot of bravery to admit that you are not taking the correct financial actions and need help to get your life turned around, let alone do it all on a public show. Everyone makes mistakes and I have no right to jump to judgments about someone based on that (especially since I am myself in $60,000 of debt). It shows someone’s true character not by never making mistakes.  What really matters is if they can be real with themselves and fix the issues that need fixing.

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  1. I totally agree. It takes a big person to admit they’ve made mistakes and work to fix them and better themselves.

  2. A lot of people have waaay to much pride unfortunately …. they would rather live a lie and pretend that everything is OK

  3. I completely agree! Once a person has admitted their mistakes and is committed to improving their bad habits, no judgement should be passed. Instead, only encouragement and support should be given.

  4. They show that show on CNBC on Saturday nights in the US. I sometimes watch it if nothing else is on. Some of them are so out of touch with reality but sometimes it is purely due to the enablers in their lives.

    • Do you (or anyone else) know if there is any other way to watch it in the US? I haven’t been able to find it online at all.

      • That’s too bad! It’s so awesome. Maybe you can download the episodes somewhere? I know they’re starting to show Gail’s show ‘Til Debt Do Us Part in more states so maybe Princess is coming soon?

        • I don’t know if they’ll stream in the States, but if you go to Slice.ca they have all the episodes available to watch.

          • Ooooh! Glad to know it’s on CNBC! I’ve tried streaming it, and it won’t stream in the U.S. :(

          • Anne @ Unique Gifter says:

            You can probably set up a Canadian proxy; it’s how some people watch US Netflix and how people get around the Great Firewall of China. If you know a tiny bit about computers you can google it and sort it out, I bet. (I’ve never tried).

    • I’m happy to hear it’s on in the US somewhere as well ! They are available to watch online at Slice.ca, but not sure if it’s only available to Canadians or not. (The internet can be annoying that way). And you are so right, most of the time the families, friends, and boyfriends are footing the bill. If I ever had to pay for my friend once it’d be a bit strange, and it would NEVER become a regular occurence.

  5. I have never seen that show but I’m sure it is awesome! I know some “princessy” folks too…and they are definitely living a lie.

    • It is a great show, very entertaining ! But can be frustrating when the person isn’t successful at changing.

  6. Good for her for wanting to change her financial habits. My friend’s boss was on a reality tv show once, must be a familiar feeling seeing someone you know being presented like that. Haven’t watched Princess yet, but sounds like something totally up Gail’s alley. If it’s anything like till debt do us part then I’m interested to check it out :)

  7. I was half expecting to read that one of your acquaintances had married someone who was 13th in line for the thrown in a small country, but hey, this works too.

    Was it a rerun, or are there new Princess epidsodes out now? I’m a little behind on the TV front.

    • haha, I kinda liked that about the title. I wish I knew an actual princess. I am not sure if there are new episodes out because I PVR them all, but this one was definitely a re-run. I have a feeling a new season is either already started or will be starting soon.

  8. I LOVE Princess – it’s so crazy that you knew one of them! Some people are in such deep denial that they think everyone telling them to shape up is against them, and really they’re in the right. And, if Gail can’t get through to them on the show then I think there really is no helping them! I would love to see some Princess follow up shows to see how the princesses are fairing either with their new money management or continued bad habits.

    • It’s strange their feeling of entitlement. Gail ” So what makes you think your parents and friends should be paying for you?” Princess “Because they should.. they are my parents / friends and know I need help”… whaaaat? One person said it was her parent’s job to pay for her stuff. Ridiculous! And a follow-up show would be great, we should write in to the creators ! :D

  9. Love Princess, and really any show Gail does. That’s so crazy you knew the girl! Wow!

    • It was very surreal. Especially the moment of realization.. 3 seconds of shock…. “holy #&$ I know that girl!!”

    • I love watching Gail too. Out of the three biggies, (Dave Ramsey, Suze Orman, and Gail) Gail is by far my favorite. She seems the most down to earth. It’s really funny to see her persona beside these “princesses”. I wish they would show an episode with a man in it in the States.
      I also wish they would do a followup on these people. I’m curious what the percentage is that slides back into the financial pits or are just doing it for the $5,000.

  10. I made a lot of financial mistakes in my past…I don’t want to repeat them. That’s interesting. I would be so weirded out if I saw someone I’d known in the past on TV.

    • I definitely think a lot of us have ! And I feel like not wanting to repeat them is enough to kick your butt if you do ever feel like starting them up again.

      • Ugh, I know. Earlier this year I thought about taking a car loan. And getting a credit card. Shaking my head at myself…I just came out of a bankruptcy. I have a long way to go to fix my old habits.

  11. I don’t get that channel any more, but I was addicted to Til Debt Do Us Part. I’ve seen every episode at least twice. :) And the strange thing is – someone I knew in high school was on it. I was cheezed at their irresponsibility , but you’re right – it’s hard to own up and do the right thing..

    • Til Debt is a GREAT one too. I relate a little bit to Princess, but more-so to Til Debt now that I don’t buy tons of clothes, makeup, yadda yadda. That’s funny you knew someone too! Actually ANOTHER girl on Princess I saw tagged in a friends photo on Facebook.. it’s funny yet true that everyone in Canada kinda knows each other.

  12. Gotta see if this show is on hulu in the states!

  13. It really takes courage to go on that show because the person is ridiculed and laughed at for being so superficial. I don’t remember people laughing at extreme makeover candidates or the biggest loser, she has just the same merit for trying.

    • Exactly ! I never really ridiculed them much before, just like being nosey into other’s finances, but this has given me a whole new view on it. It doesn’t matter how extreme your bad habits are, if you are trying to get help then that’s what matters for sure. And it is easy to pass judgement, but like I said, I was making dumb financial decisions not too long ago, so who am I to judge other people !!

  14. The episodes that really grate me are the ones where the girls are so materialistic that they intimidate their idiot boyfriends (nice guys with low self esteem I’m sure) Into going into debt to keep their relationship. It’s sickening.

  15. Admitting your mistakes is the hardest part. I hope I never get to the princessy point.

  16. Anne @ Unique Gifter says:

    Interesting to recognize someone! Now I’m wondering if I’ve seen that episode, haha. I recall someone who did fashion design, I think.
    I wish there was more follow up with Gail’s shows. There’s a few snippets available on slice.ca for TDDUP.

  17. I love that show! I make my mom watch it when I’m over at her place just to remind her that she got lucky with us. :)

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