France Produces Two Beauty Queens

It was for the first time ever, France produced two main beauty queens from rival contests.

On Saturday, 19-year-old business school student Laury Thilleman of Brittany was chosen Miss France 2011 by viewers of television channel TF1 in the traditional competition. But the very next day, that contest’s long-time organizer, Geneviève de Fontenay was busy hosting her own spin-off: the "Miss Nationale-Geneviève de Fontenay 2011" pageant, in which Barbara Morel of Provence, also 19 years old and a student, was crowned by a jury.

Fontenay had been president of the Miss France committee since 1954, but newly sold the competition to French production company Endemol. “France deserves two winners”, Fontenay declared to the French press. “The French will decide the one they prefer. My winners have always adhered to the values I promote - dignity under all circumstances, respect of oneself and of others”.

Though she primarily remained involved in the contest’s organization, disagreements with Endemol led Fontenay to leave the contest entirely. According to widespread rumours, Fontenay felt that the company did not respect her standards for the contestants. She was said to be mainly unhappy with revelations that certain former participants had previously posed nude.

When she said that she intended to set up a rival competition, Endemol took the 78 year-old icon to court. The court ruled in Fontenay’s favour.

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