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Culture

The Crown is Passed to a New Miss Germany

In the small hours of Sunday morning, Babett Konau, a dental assistant from Schleswig Holstein whose interests include dancing, sport and photography, was crowned Miss Germany 2003.

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Babett Konau - Miss Germany 2003

It was billed as the most beautiful election campaign of the year by the sponsors and there could be no doubt that the 22 contestants for the Miss Germany 2003 title were more than a little easier on the eye than Messrs. Schröder and Stoiber.

22 Schönheiten aus Deutschland

The 22 contestants.

The annual pageant to find Germany's most beautiful woman, held this year at the Europa Park entertainment and leisure complex in Rust, was the usual spectacular recipe of glamour, glitz and gleaming smiles as contestants from the 16 German states - and one from mainstream German tabloid Bild Zeitung - preened and paraded for the jury.

But there could be only one winner and just before midnight on Saturday night the title of Miss Germany was awarded to 24-year-old dental assistant Babett Konau.

Siegerinnenlächeln

First, second and third.

Konau, from Schleswig Holstein, beat Miss Nordrhein Westfalen Natalia Topmann into second place while the co-sponsors entrant, Miss Bild. T-Online's Laura Müller from Bayern came in third.

At a time when beauty pageants are seen as out-dated and exploitive, the Miss Germany competition attracted a huge crowd of celebrities and guests, including former winners of the German title and the Miss World crown. As well as the competition itself, the crowd was entertained by singer Nana, pop group 4T and Style Discovery's recital of musical numbers.

Miss Germany Wahlen 2002

All smiles.

It must have come as a relief to organizers Horst and Ralf Klemmer after the battering the title's image took last year when the incumbent queen abdicated the throne in a whirlwind of legal action and insults.

Miss Germany 2002 Katrin Wrobel, also a dental assistant, made it very clear that she wanted to distance herself from the usual image of a beauty queen and was willing to break her contract to prove it. In September last year, the 24 year old Berlin beauty employed lawyers to do just that and, just a few months before she was due to represent her home country at the Miss World competition, Wrobel quit, citing dissatisfaction with the Miss Germany Corporation management and calling the contract "immoral".

The contract awarded to the winner of the title obliges Miss Germany to appearances at countless events and forbids them from marrying or posing nude in the year they hold the crown.

Miss Germany 2002

Katrin Wrobel before the crown slipped.

The leggy Berliner had made noises before that she was unhappy with her obligations although her lawyers stressed that she had no plans to marry or appear naked. In Feburary, a month after she won, she told newspapers she wouldn’t go to the Miss World pageant. Wrobel, who after winning signed a one-year contract to work on a German television game show, said her career was far more important.

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