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Ammann wins women's beauty competition

Ammann by name, a beauty queen by nature: receiving the crown from previous winner Christa Rigozzi

(Keystone)

Amanda Ammann, a 20-year-old student from St Gallen, has been crowned Miss Switzerland 2007.

Ammann, 84-65-95, received the most votes from the public and thereby became the first brunette to win the coveted title for four years, following blondes Christa Rigozzi, Lauriane Gilliéron and Fiona Wolfensberger (née Hefti).

The student of international relations comes from canton St Gallen in eastern Switzerland, lives in Lausanne and studies in Geneva. She has said she would like to work for either the United Nations or the Red Cross.

She has been going out with Sebastian for three-and-a-half years, describes herself as "open, affectionate and up for it" and loves "sunsets and sunrises".

In an interview with the SonntagsBlick newspaper, Ammann said she planned to represent all of Switzerland during her year in office and would "transcend the Röstigraben", the symbolic line separating the French- and German-speaking parts of the country.

She also praised Switzerland's unique diversity, freedom and security, adding that she believes "in love – not in god". Her heroes include civil rights leader Martin Luther King and "people who put other people's needs above their own".

Ammann, who entranced viewers as she posed in a white bikini, also said she doesn't like men seeing her as a sex object.

Stiff competition

On Saturday evening in Zurich Ammann beat off 15 other girls and, in the final, two from Zurich, Sabrina Knechtli and Claudia Wambululu.

Fabienne Bamert went out in the first round but nevertheless took home the Miss Friendship prize awarded by the other contestants. Valérie Ott took a good picture and was named Miss Photogenic.

Ammann won among other things a car and potential sponsorship deals worth at least SFr300,000 ($253,000) but probably much more.

She has joined a bullish market: Miss Switzerland 2006 Christa Rigozzi revealed on Saturday she had made a record amount of SFr550,000, beating Lauriane Gilliéron's previous record of SFr500,000 from the previous year.

Anachronism?

In a country of 7.5 million inhabitants but very few celebrities, the title of Miss Switzerland bestows a near mythical status on its holder. Even runners-up don't do badly: Xenia Tchoumitcheva, who many people think should have won the title last year, made regular appearances in newspapers.

Switzerland basically has three separate cultural regions and almost no internationally known figures from popular culture – Roger Federer is probably the only living Swiss that most foreigners can name.

As a result of this cultural fragmentation and isolation, the Swiss media tries to manufacture celebrities from television presenters, folk musicians and beauty contest winners.

Combining this with Switzerland's conservative attitude towards women – who only got the vote in 1971 – Miss Switzerland's face is rarely absent from newspapers or billboards.

What's more, following the enormous popularity of farmer Renzo Blumenthal in 2005, the media has jumped on the Mr Switzerland bandwagon as well.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

Amanda Ammann, from Abtwil in canton St Gallen has been crowned Miss Switzerland 2007.
The 20-year-old studies international relations in Geneva.
She is the first brunette to win the title in four years.
Ammann is 1.68m with vital statistics 84-65-95 and has been going out with Sebastian for three-and-a-half years.

end of infobox


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