Just in case you missed it, there were two beauty contests in France on Saturday night.
While Miss Nord-Pas-de-Calais was breaking down in tears after being elected Miss France, over on Facebook an alternative pageant was crowning the queen of France's farming community.
Judged on their natural beauty, in their natural environment and (mostly) wearing their usual farming clothes, the first edition of Miss Farmer France (Miss France Agricole) became a viral sensation last week, when it chided Miss France by promising to show “what a real French beauty looks like”.
“We got more than 11,000 Facebook ‘likes’, it was incredible. I never expected it,” Patricia Freyssac, the founder of the contest, told The Local.
Freyssac, who is a cattle farmer, said she got the idea when watching the hysteria surrounding the run-up to the final of the Miss France contest on TV last Wednesday. “It’s all about hair, make-up and bling bling. It’s superficial, it’s not the real France. No one looks like that in real life when they go to the supermarket.
“So I just threw the idea (of a Miss Farmer France) out there as a bit of a laugh on my own Facebook page and I got so much response from my friends that I decided to set up a page for it.”
Freyssac only had four days to organise the contest, but by the time the panel of four judges got ready to select the winner, some 266 French farming beauties had sent in their contributions.
Snuggling up with cattle and horses, posing on tractors or working in the haystack, the contestants – and the contest's founder – took Facebook by storm.
“Finally women who dare challenge those “Miss (France)” puppets who are decorated like Christmas trees, with glitter and all that stuff that goes along with it!!!,” a user named Berny Romer wrote.
Tanguy Przybylski, another user, said: “Excellent initiative. There are still a lot of people for whom beauty is simple and not artificial."
Thirty-four-year-old wine and fruit farmer Émilie Marin-Fournier (see photo below) finally won the honours – and a bouquet of flowers. She was depicted in a field wearing a t-shirt reading: “Farmer and I’m proud of it”.
“With my height 1 metre and 64 centimetres I don’t at all look like a Miss France candidate,” she told Metronews. “But if I can help freshen up the image of female farmer, who are often caricaturized, as well as for other women in general, it’s a great vctory,” she said.