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For Journalists, Michelle Obama's G-8 Hostess Has the Mostest

From left to right, Michelle Obama, Filippa Reinfeldt, wife of Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, and Italian Equal Opportunities Minister Mara Carfagna at the Capitoline Museums in Rome. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)

Even though Michelle Obama is keeping a relatively low profile during her trip to Italy this week, her official escort is making quite a media splash as a mini-soap opera unfolds around the first ladies of the Group of Eight.

Mrs. Obama and other wives of the G-8 leaders are being led around by Mara Carfagna, the head-turning former topless model-turned-Italian government official.

Carfagna, who holds the title of equal opportunities minister, is helping to fill the role that traditionally would be played by Italy's first lady, Veronica Lario. But Lario has filed for divorce from Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, accusing him of philandering, and is boycotting the G-8 summit.

So Carfagna, 33, was tapped by Berlusconi to play hostess, a choice that, in spite of the former pin-up girl's new professional-looking bob haircut and appropriately prim attire, is overshadowing coverage of the visiting first ladies.

"Silvio Berlusconi picks former topless model Mara Carfagna as G8 escort," blared this week's headline in Britain's Daily Telegraph. The paper wrote that Carfagna is an "ex-glamour girl whose sultry looks and portfolio of lingerie calendars earned her the title of the world's sexiest government minister from men's magazine Maxim."

The Guardian chimed in with this headline: "Silvio Berlusconi makes playboy's G8." The paper also notes that Berlusconi personally chose "the 33-year-old former topless model who is now minister for equal opportunities" to fill his angry wife's hostess duties.

"Total hottie," declared the Huffington Post.

Furthermore, the Guardian and other news organizations have reported that French first lady Carla Bruni, the Italian-born wife of Nicolas Sarkozy, has been waging a semi-boycott of the G-8 to register her disapproval of Berlusconi's behavior with other women and teenage girls.

"Bruni is also keen to avoid a potentially embarrassing meeting with Mara Carfagna," the Guardian points out.

Mrs. Obama, too, has seemingly tried to avoid photo opportunities with Carfagna, as you can see in this photo gallery on Huffington Post.

But the cameras did manage to snap at least one shot of the American first lady in the same frame as Carfagna. That one, shown above, has Michelle Obama standing next to her Swedish counterpart, Filippa Reinfeldt, with Carfagna on the other side of Reinfeldt.

Carfagna's image today is a far cry from her former photo opportunities, in which she posed with dyed, punk-style hair, a nose ring and chains, and wearing see-through lacy lingerie.

The White House, quite naturally, had no comment on the drama involving Carfagna as a stand-in for Lario.

By Mary Ann Akers  |  July 9, 2009; 4:09 PM ET
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cat sound

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | July 9, 2009 7:08 PM | Report abuse

They could be PGA tour wives,

Posted by: bconner1 | July 10, 2009 9:19 AM | Report abuse

G-8 and G-strings! Too funny! I'm sure the Italian Minister of Equal Opportunity welcomes the opportunity she's been given.

Posted by: GollyGee1 | July 10, 2009 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Dear God....and this is news????

Posted by: atthun | July 13, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

You could put me under an electron microscope and still not locate the amount of interest I have in such drivel.

Posted by: bpai_99 | July 13, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

At some point you will be called upon to let your hair down and to reveal some interesting aspect of yourself, the interesting part is that its usually only interesting to the one you are looking for it to be interesting too, so here we go.
One of the most vivid memories I have of growing up in Concorde Park is when my grandfather would come to visit me on the weekends, at that time it was only me and my mother, and very weekend I would get that special feeling because I knew he was coming to visit just me! Its a feeling that I have come to treasure because I have learned what the purpose of letting go is for.

Posted by: edtroyhampton | July 13, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

can someone please find a stylist for michelle obama. she looks like an under
dressed bumble bee in this picture.

Posted by: MONTE2 | July 13, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

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