Ex-call girl picked to embody Marie Antoinette

When two French artists were given the job of finding a modern French women to embody the iconic historical figure of Marie Antoinette for a painting, needless to say there were a few eyebrows raised when they opted for notorious former underage escort girl Zahia Dehar.

Ex-call girl picked to embody Marie Antoinette
Former call-girl Zahia Dehar as France's famous historical figure Marie Antoinette Photo: Screengrab/Europe1 Diane Shenouda

One is arguably the most iconic female historical figure in France and the other is a former escort girl who became infamous for a very modern scandal after having sex underage with two French international footballers.

But two French artists Pierre and Gilles believed they were a perfect match for a work of art designed to reincarnate the famous former French queen.

(Zahia pictured between footballers Karim Benzema (left) and Franck Ribery)

Despite having carte-blanche for the work, commissioned to celebrate the golden age of the famous tapestry factory in Paris, Manufacture des Gobelins, the pair opted for a woman synonymous with a classic modern day sex scandal.

“As soon as we thought of doing Marie Antoinette, it had to be Zahia for us,” they said.

A smiling Zahia is painted in an idyllic scene, wearing a white flowery dress, with a rural background featuring a lake, swans and an old water mill.

They chose Zahia “for her beauty”. “This is a character that cannot be ignored, just like Marie Antoinette. She is someone with character and has everything to be a queen.”

For her part Marie Antoniette, some scholars argue, was prompted the start of the French Revolution due to the fact she was so frivolous and superficial.

It’s doubtful Zahia, who has reinvented herself as a fashion mogul after the underage sex scandal, will have such an impact on French society.

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France taken to European Court over divorce ruling that woman had ‘marital duty’ to have sex with husband

A case has been brought against France at the European Court of Human Rights by a woman who lost a divorce case after judges ruled against her because she refused to have sex with her husband.

France taken to European Court over divorce ruling that woman had 'marital duty' to have sex with husband
Photo: Frederick Florin/AFP

The woman, who has not been named, has brought the case with the backing of two French feminist groups, arguing that the French court ruling contravened human rights legislation by “interference in private life” and “violation of physical integrity”.

It comes after a ruling in the Appeals Court in Versailles which pronounced a fault divorce in 2019 because of her refusal to have sex with her husband.

READ ALSO The divorce laws in France that foreigners need to be aware of

The court ruled that the facts of the case “established by the admission of the wife, constitute a serious and renewed violation of the duties and obligations of marriage making intolerable the maintenance of a shared life”.

Feminist groups Fondation des femmes (Women’s Foundation) and Collectif fĂ©ministe contre le viol (Feminist Collective against Rape) have backed her appeal, deploring the fact that French justice “continues to impose the marital duty” and “thus denying the right of women to consent or not to sexual relations”.

“Marriage is not and should not be a sexual servitude,” the joint statement says, pointing out that in 47 percent of the 94,000 recorded rapes and attempted rapes per year, the aggressor is the spouse or ex-spouse of the victim.