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Miss Italy contest bans bikinis

London - It’s a step forward for women – but perhaps a step too far for male television viewers in Italy.

The Miss Italia beauty contest has banned bikinis in favour of swimsuits.

File photo: 19-year-old Italian Ambra Battilana performing during the Miss Italia contest in Rome. Credit: AFP

The organisers said the move would “add a sober element” to the contest and that “interior beauty as well as exterior beauty” was important.

Pageant organiser Patrizia Mirigliani said: “With this type of costume we will be returning to the classical beauty of the 1950’s, the era of female legends who we still admire and respect even today.

“The costumes will really highlight feminine beauty and for next year’s competition I am already thinking of environmentally friendly outfits so the girls will do their bit for the environment.”

The pageant is a national institution and will be broadcast live in September.

Other rules for this year’s contest include no tattoos or body piercings, while women who have had plastic surgery are barred from entering.

In another surprising twist to the format, campaigner Tara Gandhi, granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi, will join the judging panel as a special guest.

The position has previously been reserved for Hollywood hunks such as Bruce Willis and Sylvester Stallone.

Mrs Mirigliani also said talks were ongoing to have actress Jane Fonda on the jury for the final show. She said: “Jane is a woman who knows how to age well, she was also a revolutionary and meant business.”

Among those taking part in this year’s contest is Chiara Danese, who is representing the north west region of Valle D’Aosta and who is a witness in the bunga bunga sex case against former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. - Daily Mail

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