Author: Lizzy Davies (Rome)
Source: The Guardian (UK) online news
Date published: Tuesday 5 November 2013
Italian beauty-contest ban by RAI chief Anna Maria Tarantola heralds end to era of women as showgirls or housewives on TV
"Beaming into the cameras as two middle-aged male presenters placed a silver crown on her impeccably glossy hair, 19-year-old Giulia Arena looked delighted to have emerged victorious from the 2013 Miss Italia contest. To the emotive strains of Over The Rainbow, and with the massed ranks of failed contestants behind her in skin-tight silver mini-dresses, the Sicilian law student still bore her number tag, 09, as she smiled into the crowd.
According to her contestant's biography, Arena is "1.70m tall, with fair chestnut-brown hair and green eyes". She has a line of Dante tattooed on her chest.
More than 900,000 people tuned in to watch her four-hour-long triumph over 63 other young women at the end of last month.
Anna Maria Tarantola, however, was not among them. As president of the state broadcaster, RAI, she had taken the decision, along with other directors, to scrap Miss Italia from the autumn schedules and ensure that, for the first time in 25 years, the show was no longer considered a part of the public service remit."