Laetitia Casta, model, actress, and national symbol, was born on May 11, 1978. Frequently rated as one of the most beautiful women in the world, she was first discovered by a photographer while she was on a family vacation in Corsica at the age of 15. Since then she has been the face of Dior and Chanel, been on the cover of over 100 fashion magazines, three consecutive Sports Illustrated swimsuit issues, and a Victoria’s Secret model, just to name a few of her kudos. Casta represented another sex symbol, Brigitte Bardot, in a film about the life of singer Serge Gainsbourg in 2010. Casta is also a mother of three children.
In 1999, Casta came out top in a survey of mayors to select the new model for a bust of Marianne, the allegorical representation of France. Every city and town hall has a Marianne. Other women selected to represent Marianne have been model Inès de la Fressange, actresses Catherine Deneuve and Brigitte Bardot. Representing the Republic as a woman has been common since the Revolution. Marianne is depicted as wearing a red Phrygian bonnet. The red hat as a symbol of freedom dates back to Antiquity and was revived by Revolutionaries. The official logo of France is a profile of Marianne superimposed on the tri-color bleu, blanc, et rouge background.
Today’s expression, la liberté s’arrête là où commence celle d’autrui (lah leebertay sarette lah oo commahnse cell dough-tree) means “liberty ends where that of others begins.” It’s a variation on a statement from La déclaration universelle des droits de l’homme. For Casta, personal liberty involved moving to England after being selected as Marianne, scandalizing the French. Ooh là là.
- Throwback Thursday: Laetitia Casta (swimdaily.si.com)
- On View | Patrick Demarchelier’s Bodies of Desire (tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com)