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Wednesday, 27 June, 2001, 17:33 GMT 18:33 UK
Row flares over Miss Nude UK
Heidi, contestant for Miss Nude UK
Heidi, a contestant in the Miss Nude UK event
Organisers have defended the first Miss Nude UK competition after critics accused them of exploiting women.

Any "sexy and fun-loving" females over 18 can enter the contest regardless of their shape or size.

Contestants will be completely naked throughout the competition, but the company organising the event denies it amounts to pornography.

Over 5,500 women wish to enter this competition as they want to make the best use of their assets

Saira Karim,
Miss Nude UK founder
Saira Karim, the founder of Miss Nude UK, said: "It's about women taking control of their lives and shaping their own destiny."

"Contestants will not be judged purely on their naked selves - there are other elements of the competition that celebrate the human form of women."

Organisers are considering including a question and answer section as well as a general knowledge quiz.

'Personality and vibe'

They say the event is "dedicated to women's self-expression and empowerment" with judges looking for "personality and a certain vibe".

But Donna St Hill, from All Women All Politics, countered: "Even though the pageants are starting to put more emphasis on the fact that women do have brains, the fact they have to show their bodies before that is problematic."

Saira Karim
Saria Karim: "Celebrating women"
Miss Nude UK will win 20,000, a car and a modelling contract.

Ms Karim said: "Over 5,500 women wish to enter this competition as they want to make the best use of their assets.

"If a woman feels confident and bold enough to benefit from that asset, she should be able to benefit from the revenue generated.

But Ms St Hill said: "The more women need to survive, the more the sale and display of their bodies appears a practical solution.

'Use their assets'

"There are other ways women can celebrate their femininity and be beautiful."

Former UK organiser of Miss Universe, Nicky Price, said: "People should be allowed to do as they feel and use their assets as long as it doesn't harm others.

"Women have chosen to do this, they've not been pushed into it."

There will be seven regional events culminating in a final in London in September, with some of the contest televised in a docu-soap.

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