Sophia Loren

In the past, the Miss Italy contest helped Sophia Loren gain recognition

Curvy women with hourglass figures are being encouraged to take part in this year’s Miss Italy beauty contest, organisers have revealed. The 72-year-old pageant, which helped catapult movie legend Sophia Loren to fame when she took part in the 1950’s, says bigger women are more relevant to today’s Italian society. Officials say they also want to reassure women that big is also beautiful and you do not have to be stick thin to be pretty – a move that comes just days after anorexic model Isabelle Caro died aged just 28. The contest which is held every September attracts more than 20,000 entries with the women being singled out at a series of regional finals across the country before the main event at Salsomaggiore Terme near Parma. Patron of the event Patrizia Mirigliani said: ‘Miss Italy has always been a reflection of the country and today women are more curvier so we want to portray that. ‘The winner of Miss Italy should not be an erotic or far from reality figure it should be someone who Italian women can associate with and if statistics show women are getting bigger then we should reflect that. ‘In recent years there has also been a tendency to stress that beauty is linked to size and we often see very thin models on the catwalk and on the television and that gives off the wrong idea. ‘In saying this, the image of the model Isabelle Caro who died recently at 28 and who was famous for being anorexic springs to mind – her life was ruined because she followed what fashion had dictated, that she should be thin.” Miss Mirigliani added: ‘We want women to know that beauty is genuine and if you are big that is not an issue. You are normal just like any other woman. If a contestant is a size 14 with curves in proportion, I see no problem. ‘We need to teach young women who are more impressionable that the image we see on TV of women who do not eat is not the role model they should be following. ‘These showgirls have the good fortune of being born thin and do not need to diet – the sort of women I have in mind (as role models for Miss Italy) as examples are Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta – who are both international film stars.’
Monica Bellucci and Maria Grazia Cucinotta

Monica Bellucci, right, and Maria Grazia Cucinotta are the kind of role models for Miss Italy women should be looking for, said Patrizia Mirigliani, patron of the event.

The initiative conjures up the image of Benny Hill in the hit movie The Italian Job, recently voted the best ever British film ever, in which he says of Italian women: ‘I do like ’em big.’ In recent years there have been several cases of size zero stick thin models which have hit the headlines including one case in 2007 where designer Rafaela Curiel asked 15 girls to leave a show because they were too thin.

Designers Giorgio Armani and Stefano Gabbana have also tried to steer away from using thin models in their campaigns as studies have shown that thin women put pressure on girls and can lead to eating disorders.

In Italy alone the latest figures available show that more than 300,000 girls in the country area affected with anorexia or bulimia. Elena Miroglio, of Italian fashion label Elena Miro, which caters for curvy women said: ‘We are delighted with this news as it carries on an initiative that we begun six years ago to raise awareness that curvier women are out there and in large numbers. ‘We are at last beginning to see more curvier models in fashion magazine photo shoots and so the message is being picked up and the fact that Miss Italy, one of the country’s most famous events is doing the same is great news. ‘Miss Italy should reflect the beauty of Italian women and in Italy that is made up with a majority of women who are size 14 or above, so it is a reality of the country’s social make up. ‘In the 1950’s and 60’s Miss Italy always featured curvy women and our campaign for the Spring Summer 2011 campaign is called Italian Curvy to reflect the shape of the majority of modern Italian women. ‘Size 14 is the biggest selling size in Italy so there are a lot of curvy women out there and it would be fantastic if a curvy woman won this year’s contest.’ Article by Daily Mail *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      * I LOVE this initiative. Finally, a superficially driven event is adapting to the standards of the world instead of the other way around. The Miss Italy contest recognizes that they should open up their requirements for contestants to reflect the majority of women’s sizes. Amazing. There’s a definite catch here, though. Yes, they are allowing bigger women. But bigger women with hourglass shapes. There are even many thin women who do not have hourglass shapes. Either way, Italy is still promoting only a certain type of body. An hourglass shape is not incredibly common – this will without a doubt disqualify many bigger women immediately. Still, we are one step closer to total body acceptance. I enjoy that Italy is making a big attempt to promote a healthier, more wholesome and more realistic image.