Beauty contest celebrates Italy's alarming obsession with silicone

Research showed 14 per cent of 16- and 17-year-old Italian girls would undergo breast surgery


Italians attach rather less stigma than other nationalities to cosmetic surgery – as evidenced by the number of scarily enhanced 60-year-olds you see at the supermarket.

There's even a national beauty contest for ladies whose looks owe as much to the scalpel as Mother Nature.

And with the results just in for Miss Plastic Surgery 2012, step forward one Fanny Perini, whose exceptional false breasts trumped those of her competitors in the fourth annual contest held this week near Rimini.

Fanny, 5ft 11in, a Sagittarius, is a nurse from Bologna. She likes sports, particularly swimming, is single, and is probably kind to animals.

But it was the consummate boob job that won it for Ms Perini, 38, after the "expert panel" of plastic surgeons, journalists and "artists" saw rivals face off in a two-hour silicon-fest that culminated in the swimsuit and evening-wear competitions.

"I'm delighted to have won," she told the Adnkronos news agency. "I can't wait for my parents to see me on television."

Ms Perini revealed that she went under the knife for the sake of "bigger breasts and nipples as high as they were when I was 20". For her efforts, she won a Jacuzzi. For hopefuls who failed to scoop the main prize, there were consolation titles including Miss Rhinoplasty, Miss Silicone, Miss Botox and even Miss Chemical Peel. But many Italian health experts fear the nation's obsession with cosmetic correction is getting out of control. The popularity of cosmetic surgery is rising sharply, even among teenagers, who feel pressured to conform to old stereotypes.

In 2009, the Italian health ministry was forced to ban breast enhancement in girls under 18.

The then-Health Minister, Francesca Martini, declared there was a "Wild West, cowboy-style system of plastic surgery for young women and this must stop".

Research showed that 14 per cent of 16- and 17-year-old Italian girls said they would undergo breast enhancement surgery and 30 per cent reported feeling dissatisfied with their bodies.

Feminist commentators say the pressure has come right from the top. Prosecutors in Milan have accused former prime minister Silvo Berlusconi of paying for breast enlargements, buttock-shaping and lip-plumping for seven young women in his personal harem.

Yesterday the cosmetic surgery pageant's organiser, Elio Pari, sought to deflect criticism by stressing how inclusive the event was, with no age, height or weight limits.

Among the older competitors this year was 52-year-old Marcella from Cagliari, who has had 15 operations to reshape her breasts, face, stomach and thighs. "So far I've spent €60,000 [£47,000], but it's money well spent," she said.

"Despite my age I still look like I'm 30, and I'm proud of it. My motto is: 'As long as there's a surgeon there's hope'."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want for the fitness tech, or the style
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own