Japan's "Bond girl" beauty queens pack a mean punch

Wed May 13, 2009 4:42am EDT
 
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By Alastair Himmer

TOKYO (Reuters Life!) - For those who dismiss Miss Universe contests as parades of vacuous beauties in bikinis gushing about world peace, Japan has an alternative.

The Miss Universe Japan pageant, which selects who will represent the country on the global stage, is creating a new daredevil beauty queen through a punishing boot camp that would make many men cry.

The ideal contestant is modeled on the exotic, rough-and-tumble vixens of the James Bond 007 movies: seductive but also packing a decent right hook.

"Traditional beauty contests are tacky. They don't belong to this millennium. They are from my grandmother's time," Miss Universe Japan's creator Ines Ligron told Reuters.

"It's degrading to women to be judged on having perfect boobs and legs. I'm trying to prove you can win with your personality and intelligence.

"I want to create 'Bond' girls. A Bond girl is sexy, strong. She is sensual, intrepid. She can do anything. And of course she has to have a killer body!" added the Frenchwoman, who launched her answer to the more traditional beauty competition in 1998.

Ligron said she has been inspired in recent years by Halle Berry's bikini scene in the 007 movie "Die Another Day" and Angelina Jolie's Lara Croft character in "Tomb Raider."

Her methods have culminated in Riyo Mori's crowning as Miss Universe in 2007, a year after Kurara Chibana finished runner-up.   Continued...

 
<p>Miss Universe Japan 2009 finalists take part in a Brazilian martial arts Jiu-Jitsu class in Tokyo in this picture taken April 2, 2009. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon</p>