Carla Bruni Sarkozy, the former world-class supermodel, sometime pop star and ex-First Lady of France, released a new album, Little French Songs, last week. In honor of Ms. Sarkozy and her showbiz connections, we present several First Ladies past and present who, either for their careers or their style, would fit right at home on a Hollywood red carpet.
First Lady of Canada. 1968-1979 and 1980-1984
Margaret Trudeau is not only one of our favorite first ladies, she's also one of our favorite glamor pusses of all time. Mrs. T. was totally gorgeous and so was her husband, Canadian prime minister Pierre Trudeau -- they get our vote for the Chicest Canadians Ever. (Sorry Celine Dion!) Margaret often popped up in places like Studio 54, dancing with the glitterati and allegedly doing cocaine with the Rolling Stones. And those pants! Oh those pants.
First Lady of China, March 2013-present
Like Carla Bruni, China's current First Lady was a star before she became the number one lady in the land. She was one of China's most popular contemporary folk singers, best known for her appearances on Chinese television during the New Year's celebrations (check out the clip of above). The mainstream media has flipped their collective wigs over the stylish ensembles Mrs. Peng has sported during public appearances. We, however, prefer her more picturesque stage looks.
First Lady of Cameroon, 1994-present
Mrs. Biya has a larger-than-life look that would seem more at home on RuPaul's Drag Race than the international diplomatic events where her flashy outfits and wild, red coiffure are real head-turners. She really doesn't have any show-business roots but we, for one, are members of her unofficial fan club.
First Lady of the Philippines 1965-1986
Sadly, it's often the douche-bag wives of douche-bag dictators that catch our eye with their style pizzazz, and Mrs. Ferdinand Marcos is just such a gal. Imelda first gained attention as a beauty queen and is known for her singing voice (which we're including as her "showbiz" connection here), but she's most famous for her Marie Antoinette-style extravagance. After the Marcoses were booted from the Malcanang Palace in Manila, 2,700 pairs of Imelda's shoes, which came to symbolize the greed and corruption of the Marcos reign, were famously found in her closets. She was also a big, big disco fan and supposedly had a mirror ball installed in her New York apartment.
Angelica Rivera Hurtado
First Lady of Mexico December 2012- present
Angelica, the wife of Mexico's President, Enrique Pena Nieto, was previously a full-blown telenovela star and singer. Since marrying Pena Nieto in 2010, she has retired from showbiz to dedicate herself to supporting her hubby and raising her three children from a previous marriage. You can take the girl out of the soap opera but can you take the soap opera out of the girl?
Princess Grace of Monaco, First Lady of Monaco 1956-1982
When it comes to first ladies, none can match the glamor and beauty of the late Princess Grace of Monaco. She was born to a rich society family in Philadelphia and was a world famous Academy-Award-winning actress by the time she married Prince Rainier of Monaco. Tragically, she died in a car crash in 1982 at the age of 52.
First Lady of Indonesia, 1962-1967
Glamour girl Dewi was a 19-year-old "nightclub hostess" in Tokyo when she met the 59-year-old dictator of Indonesia, Sukarno (yes, his name is just one word. Like Cher.). Some people say she was actually a hooker but who knows if it's true. What is definitely true is that the Japanese teenager moved to Jakarta where she eventually married Sukarno (as his third wife) and attracted attention for her beauty and jet-set style. Sukarno was deposed in 1967 and since then, Dewi has moved around the world and can still be seen making appearances on Japanese television.