A country girl and tomboy at heart, beautiful supermodel Laetitia ("joy" in Latin) Casta (1978-), born in Normandy, France, was discovered on a beach in Corsica in 1993.
"Growing up, I always thought I looked like a boy," she said. "I tell people my breasts were made in Normandy from butter and creme fraiche!"
She moved to Paris, modeled part-time, and completed her education. "Real beauty is to be true to oneself," she explained. "That's what makes me feel good."
After successful Guess, Victoria's Secret, Cosmopolitan, and Sports Illustrated swimsuit poses, her nude "hot" Rolling Stone cover (August 1998) sparked a major controversy. Tant pis. Too bad. She has admitted to loving her body and not minding nudity. "It's a natural state. I've seen more vulgarity in people wearing clothes."
About how she sees herself, Casta has said, "There is a wonderful poem by Pablo Neruda that I know by heart. It tells of a woman, both ugly and pure, and her hidden beauty that few ever see. Only the person who loves her can see it and understand it."
As Austrian writer Franz Kafka observed in a celebration of timeless beauty, "Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty is never old."
Casta has been called the most beautiful woman in the world. In 1999, she was honored by 36,778 French mayors to be the latest incarnation of Marianne, the embodiment of the French Republic and symbol of liberty, equality, and fraternity.
"Laetitia is beautiful inside and radiant outside," praised former Marianne inspiration actress Brigitte Bardot. "She is pure, open, and natural. There is no advice that I can give her; she has her own life under control. The most important thing is not to become a star, but to remain one! This I wish for her with all my heart."