Brigite   Interview - Part 4

This former French housewife, turned thong swimwear model and fashion designer, is now one of Europe's most recognizable faces

Jon Cappelli, U.S. correspondent for La Monde de Femme, a high end French fashion magazine, has been granted this exclusive series of  interviews with Brigite.  What follows is an authorized reprint.

December 2002

(Interview continuation)

CAPPELLI:  It's been a few months since we last spoke, how are your acting roles going?

BRIGITE: You know John, I have pretty well put my film career on the "back burner" as I think you say here. Brigitewear, my swimwear business, is keeping me really busy. It is amazing how it has grown.  I have thousands of customers all over the world that order from me. I just love it.  As you know, it is a kind of a crusade for me, trying to set women free from not only the hang-ups that they have about their bodies, but also, and maybe more importantly, the injustice and how do you say..."two faced" attitudes and laws, especially in this country surrounding what is and isn't appropriate for women to wear.

"'d be arrested and sent to jail, it's like something out of the dark ages back home in Europe"

CAPPELLI:  Just what is it you get so emotional about when it comes to these issues?

BRIGITE:  Oh, I know there are many more important things in this world to get worked up about, but I guess this is just my "cause", I think you call it.  I just cannot understand some of the thinking in America when it comes to fashion, especially women's fashion, and the laws about women's bodies, what can be seen and what can't.

Take for example thong swimwear.  There are no beaches that I have ever heard of in the U.S. where a woman is not allowed to wear a bikini. But, there are many where a woman is not allowed to wear a thong bikini.  In fact, there are many where if you were to wear one, you would be arrested and sent to jail.  Why is that. That seems like something out of the dark ages back home in Europe. What is it about exposing a few inches more of a woman's butt that makes it a crime?  I don't understand that, and I don't think it is right. 

"There are no beaches where bikinis are illegal, but bare a little bit more of your butt with a thong and you can go to jail.  Why is that?"

Then there is the issue of topless swimsuits. I believe it is against the law for women to wear anywhere in this country.  A woman can breast feed a baby evidently on a crowded subway in New York, but if she exposes her breasts on a beach, she goes to jail.  Even if there is a fat man with bigger breasts sitting right there on the sand next to her.  You see, I thought that in this country, everyone was treated, or at least was supposed to be treated equally, by law, no matter what their sex or race.  So, if that is true, why can a man go topless on the beach, but a woman wearing a topless swimsuit goes to jail? Explain that to me if you can John.

CAPPELLI:  Well Brigite, you have a very valid point. I see where you are coming from with all of this, and I don't think I have an explanation.

BRIGITE: Well maybe I shouldn't get so worked up over it.  I didn't want to tell anyone, but I actually got arrested in Florida for wearing  thong swimwear on the beach.

CAPPELLI:  Oh, you have got to be kidding, where and when was this.

BRIGITE:  It was last month. We were in Fort Lauderdale getting ready to go on a cruise. We drove up the coast and stopped at this really nice beach. I was wearing a thong bikini, and I wasn't there more than 30 minutes when a policeman came up on one of those little vehicles with the big tires that go on the sand.

 He said I was under arrest for wearing a thong swimsuit in public and he took me down to their jail. It was absolutely awful.  I still cannot believe you have such laws.  Next time I will read all of the signs first before I go on a beach in America. When I started questioning why they had these laws, one policeman got real mad at me. He said if I didn't shut up he would call the immigration people and have me deported from the United States.  Can they do that?

"If a women exposes her breasts on the beach she goes to jail, even if there is a fat man with bigger breasts sitting there topless next to her"

CAPPELLI: I don't know, Brigite, but I don't think I would test them.

BRIGITE: Well, I will just keep selling my thong swimwear and topless swimsuits one at a time. Over time, maybe it will make a difference. Women need to stand up for their rights.  These laws and ways of thinking are wrong. I think they should change and I hope I can help. I know maybe it seems like nothing to you, but this is like what you call discrimination. It is just like not letting women vote. There is no reason for it.

CAPPELLI: I hope you can make a change too. I agree with you, it is not right.  I look forward to seeing you after the first of the year. Have a nice holiday.

BRIGITE: Thank you John. I am going to Tahoe skiing for Christmas with friends, it should be fun.



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