Sam Malin and Irène Major (AKA “Lord and Lady Hailes”)
Hailing from Canada and Cameroon respectively, Sam Malin and Irène Major can best be described as “a curious couple”. Whilst Madagascar based Malin claims to have made his fortune in oil, gas and minerals, Major was one half of a singing duo named MAJOR that appeared on X Factor and was unceremoniously rejected by Simon Cowell as his “idea of hell” in 2014. Having paid £600,000 for a former headmaster’s residence in Thurrock, Essex circa 2007, Malin and Major pumped around £1 million into adding such features as a hair salon to it. The couple appeared on Channel 4’s Million Pound Properties in April 2015 and despite a price of just £950,000 for the “quirky” property, it was shown as an illustration of a house not worth the amount spent on it. As of 2009, the couple were also reported to own a 13th century ruined castle in Scotland (that came with “the Scottish feudal title of Lord and Baron of Hailes and Lady Hailes”), a £136,000 house in Cameroon, a £410,000 property in British Columbia and a £340,000 property in Madagascar. Whilst Sam Malin, who is also president of Burke’s Peerage and collects classic cars, attempted to show modesty by telling Growth Business: “We also have a Vauxhall Carlton [for] when we want to lower our profile a bit”, his overtly confident wife appeared in the Daily Mail and on ITV’s This Morning in 2014 to share her views on skincare products. She controversially yet casually remarked: “When my skin is lighter, I just feel prettier… You grow up knowing that the lighter ladies are the prettier ones. It’s just a fact”. Sam Malin and Irène Major added Ingress Abbey – in the middle of a Crest Nicholson development described as “Estuary England, home of the Ford Escort Cabriolet, the glottal stop and now the mega housing estate” – in Greenhithe, Kent to their “collection” circa 2012 and plainly won’t stop until they’ve achieved global domination.