When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in .

You've reached your limit of one free article.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime .


Exclusive International news coverage

Ad-free experience NEW

Weekly digital Magazine NEW

9 daily & weekly Newsletters

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Free trial

30-days free access, then $2.90
per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch

Carla Bruni: Darling of the Indian Paparazzi

The French first lady's fame has reached new levels in India

LE FIGARO/Worldcrunch

By Charles Jaigu

NEW DELHI - On December 4, French President Nicolas Sarkozy arrived in India, a state visit aimed at strengthening economic ties and forging a new nuclear deal between Paris and the surging South Asian democracy. And, while Sarkozy's maiden voyage to India has certainly garnered its fair share of political and economic attention, it is his wife, folk singer and former supermodel Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, who has managed to steal much of the media limelight from her head-of-state husband.

Bruni-Sarkozy, of course, has been a media darling ever since marrying Sarkozy in 2008. But in India, where Bollywood stars and musicians typically dominate headlines, "La Carla" seems to have reached a new, fever-pitch level of popularity. According to the Delhi-based Economic Times, only the arrival 15 years ago of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana has drawn this much attention from the Indian press.

Indeed, the media has been relentless in its coverage of the famous French couple. When they arrived in Bangalore, reporters spent hours analyzing their body language. Their collective attention was just as rapt when the couple visited Agra, to watch the sun set over the Taj Mahal. Several TV stations even quoted a religious figure who claimed that the First Lady asked him to pray that she becomes pregnant.

The media covered her every step when she visited a famous Delhi maternity ward ("where no foreigner had ever set foot"), and when she visited a facility for orphans with AIDS. Both of these visits were part of the first lady's ongoing campaign to fight against the pre-natal spread of AIDS.

"India's response reminds us of Brazil, where she was incredibly well received," says a member of Bruni-Sarkozy's entourage. Sarkozy himself, meanwhile, seems fully aware of his wife's star potential. "Carla is not a selling point, because she does not sign anything," a presidential aide acknowledged. "But she contributes greatly to the interest in this visit."

A close friend of the first lady gushed that the "star power of the first lady is contagious," as evidenced by the recent publication of a comic book titled ‘American Female Force." In the book, Bruni-Sarkozy is cast as a heroine, alongside Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton and Margaret Thatcher. The friend adds that they had to decline an invitation to "a big party held by a Bollywood producer" intent on honoring the First Lady.

Still, after recent Indian visits from American President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron, and ahead of scheduled meetings with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, Sarkozy knew he had a delicate diplomatic challenge on his visit to India, which is still trying to attain a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.

Sunday evening, the first lady met with Sonia Gandhi, who leads India's powerful Congress Party. And although they're both Italians by birth, no one knows whether they exchanged a few words in their native language. Then again, it's a mystery that's probably best left unsolved—in the interest of French diplomacy, of course.

Read the original story in French

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.


Influencer Union? The Next Labor Rights Battle May Be For Social Media Creators

With the end of the Hollywood writers and actors strikes, the creator economy is the next frontier for organized labor.

​photograph of a smartphone on a selfie stick

Smartphone on a selfie stick

Steve Gale/Unsplash
David Craig and Stuart Cunningham

Hollywood writers and actors recently proved that they could go toe-to-toe with powerful media conglomerates. After going on strike in the summer of 2023, they secured better pay, more transparency from streaming services and safeguards from having their work exploited or replaced by artificial intelligence.

But the future of entertainment extends well beyond Hollywood. Social media creators – otherwise known as influencers, YouTubers, TikTokers, vloggers and live streamers – entertain and inform a vast portion of the planet.

✉️ You can receive our Bon Vivant selection of fresh reads on international culture, food & travel directly in your inbox. Subscribe here.

For the past decade, we’ve mapped the contours and dimensions of the global social media entertainment industry. Unlike their Hollywood counterparts, these creators struggle to be seen as entertainers worthy of basic labor protections.

Keep reading...Show less

The latest