London, May 17 : Beauty may have nothing to do with politics, but former showgirl and now, an Italian cabinet minister Mara Carfagna, begs to differ.
According to Carfagna, you don't have to be pretty to get ahead in politics, but it surely helps.
The 32-year-old was recently made the minister for Equal Opportunities.
Nicknamed Mara La Bella, or Mara the Beautiful, the minister also said she was still shocked over her rapid ascent to the top of Italian politics.
The German tabloid Bild has already dubbed her "The world's most beautiful cabinet minister" and the Internet is buzzing with saucy pictures and videos from her past.
Carfagna initially rose to prominence when she came sixth in Miss Italy 1997. Although she graduated with a law degree in 2001, she pursued a career as a television showgirl for six years and posed provocatively for several gentlemen's magazines.
However, in her first interview since her appointment, Carfagna was keen to stress she is a woman of substance.
"Being pretty helps you make relationships quickly, and the political world is a segment of society full of male chauvinists," the Telegraph quoted her, as telling La Stampa newspaper.
She added: "But [these people] do not believe women can be serious and worthwhile politicians. It is not because of my beauty that my political career draws attention.
"I do not think it is an offence or a fault to have an appealing physique, and nor does it necessarily have to preclude me from dedicating myself to politics, to society and to the institutions. Any one who wants to linger just on my physique and face, well, let them have their fun."