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Swiss crown fairest of them all

Fiona Hefti (centre) with the runners-up of Miss Switzerland 2004

(RTS)

A 24-year-old trainee teacher has beaten off competition from 15 other candidates to become this year's Miss Switzerland.

A jury and the public voted for Fiona Hefti from canton Zurich, who will represent her country at the next Miss World and Miss Universe contests.

Hefti stole ahead in the closing stage of the contest on Saturday from canton Ticino’s Natasha Grippaldi and canton Nidwalden’s Francesca Kuonen.

There was some consolation for Kuonen, the pre-competition favourite, when she was awarded the Miss Photogenic prize.

But on Thursday this was snatched away and handed to Hefti, following a recount.

Hefti lives in Zurich and is studying to become a primary school teacher. She keeps fit by attending aerobic classes three times a week, playing squash and going scuba-diving.

The new Miss Switzerland says she enjoys trips to the theatre, travelling and sport.

Her win has already earned her prizes valued at SFr125,000 ($98,500), including a car worth SFr30,000. She can also expect to sign a series of advertising and sponsoring contracts worth another SFr250,000.

Hefti will represent her country at the Miss World and Miss Universe contests.

Voting

Hefti - the first blonde contestant to win the title since 1995 - was chosen by an eight-member jury made up of former beauty queens as well as actors, television personalities and a musician.

Members of the public were also invited to vote by telephone for their favourite candidate during the live televised final. Over one million people watched the contest on Switzerland’s three main public television stations.

The beauty queen crown has eluded contestants from French-speaking Switzerland for the past ten years. This year's candidate, Céline Nussbaumer from canton Geneva, had the support of the German-language "Blick" newspaper, but this was not enough to give her a taste of victory.

The paper had argued that Nussbaumer had the advantage of being able to speak Swiss-German as well as French.

She was the only candidate from her region to reach the semi-final of the contest.

swissinfo with agencies


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