STORY: LAETITIA CASTA
DATE: OCTOBER 8TH
It's certainly been a good year for French model turned actress, LAETITIA CASTA. The twentyone yearold not only made her film debut in the film, "Asterix and Obelix" but was also chosen as the new symbol of France. From October, a statue of her face has graced public buildings across the country after she was chosen by the French Mayor's Association as the epitome of French beauty.
Casta defeated another model, a singer, a windsurfing champion and a television anchor to win the coveted honour.
The head of France's 36,778 mayors who did the voting explained that the candidates were chosen because they accurately represented women of the future.
The other contenders were former runway model, ESTELLE HALLYDAY, pop singer PATRICIA KAAS, television host, DANIELA LUMBROSO and onetime windsurfing champion, NATHALIE SIMON.
Casta costarred with GERARD DEPARDIEU in the French production "Asterix and Obelix Against the Gauls," is also scheduled to star in Regine Desforges' bestselling wartime saga, "The Blue Bicycle."
APTN caught up with the Casta during the Cannes film festival in May this year where she was representing the cosmetic company L'Oreal. Still known mainly for her work as a model, Casta spoke about her ambitions to make the grade as a French film star.
Critics said the whole selection process smacked of persistent and blatant sexism. 'If Marianne must borrow the features of a famous woman, there are women in literature, philosophy, politics, science, economics, theater and film who could better represent the Republic,' wrote MICHELE FITOUSSI, the chief editor of Elle magazine, the nation's leading fashion weekly.
YVETTE ROUDY, a Socialist and former women's affairs minister, called the mayors' vote 'terribly, archaically masculine. The choice conveys these gentlemen's deepest thoughts, he said. 'They don't worry about what women might think ... they've forgotten that the world has changed since the 1950s.»
The original Marianne is believed to have been modeled after a poor country girl who worked as a maid to support her family.
Marianne remained a nameless beauty until 1969 when President CHARLES DE GAULLE decided that the sensuous BRIGITTE BARDOT symbolized the modern woman. Since then, pop singer MIREILLE MATHIEU, film star CATHERINE DENEUVE and top model INES DE LA FRESSANGE have lent their features to Marianne. The statues are cast in a variety of materials including marble, and are made at the Louvre's workshops.
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