Porn star unveils Italy campaign weapon - her bum
She had no desire to be just another smiling face in Italian politics. So when porn star Milly D'Abbraccio designed her campaign posters, it was obvious she was going to show off her bottom.
Targeting her male fan base, the veteran of Italy's adult entertainment industry has plastered images of her derriere all around the Eternal City in a bid to win a seat in Rome's city hall.
If elected, D'Abbraccio wants to create a red light area with strip clubs, erotic discos and sex shops called "Love City" just kilometres away from the Vatican. "It would be something cute, clean - nothing to do with prostitution," said the actress whose films include The Kiss of the Cobra and Paolina Borghese, Imperial Nymphomaniac.
D'Abbraccio, in her 40s, isn't the first adult entertainer to dip her painted toenails into Italian politics. Ilona Staller, known as "Cicciolina", sat in parliament in the 1980s and was famous for her impromptu stripteases.
"It was simpler then," D'Abbraccio said. Public nudity isn't the guaranteed attention-grabber it once was, she noted.
D'Abbraccio hopes to capitalise on increasing disenchantment with Italian politics. The recession-prone nation votes on Sunday and Monday in elections to pick a prime minister as well as lawmakers, mayors and city councillors.
"People don't want to see these politicians' faces anymore," she told Reuters in an interview from her Rome apartment.
She said she was tapping into her popularity among pornography fans as "an act of generosity" to help Italy's socialists, who are fielding her in the municipal race.
"I am the derriere of the Socialist party," she concluded.
Silvio Berlusconi, who leads in opinion polls to become prime minister for a third time, drew scorn recently for saying his party boasted the prettiest women in politics. Critics called him a chauvinist.
D'Abbraccio also objected, but for another reason.
"I think he is wrong, because he lost the prettiest one (me)," said D'Abbraccio, whose campaign and adult professional website is Millydabbraccio.com.
If D'Abbraccio wins, she says she will represent Romans from the district that is home to Cinecitta studios, Italy's version of Hollywood where classics like "La Dolce Vita" were filmed.
"I will reign over Cinecitta, if I get the votes," she said, reclining on a gold-rimmed, chaise lounge in her living room.
As for experience, D'Abbraccio acknowledges she is a political novice but she did play a powerful lawmaker in an adult film called "L'Onorevole".
"I played the part of the speaker of the lower house of parliament, who got very hot and then let herself go," she said.