Playboy model steals the show at Mexico's presidential debate

May 10, 2012, 07:45 IST | Agencies

Julia Orayen, a former Playboy model is at the centre of a controversy over her appearance at Mexico's televised presidential debate

Orayen divided opinions across Mexico when she walked onto the stage to hand out bits of paper determining the order that candidates would speak wearing a revealing white dress.

The model, who graced the cover of the September 2008 issue of Playboy Mexico, claimed she had not been upset by reactions to her appearance at Sunday’s debate.

Raising a debate: Julia Orayen walked onto the stage to hand out bits of paper determining the order that candidates would speak wearing a revealing white dress

“I don’t think you can generalise the comments from a country, everybody has their own opinion. There have been sexist comments and also very flattering comments,” she told reporters between signing autographs for male fans in Mexico City.

Since the debate, newspaper headlines, Twitter posts and talk on the street have focused on the Argentine model’s 17-seconds on camera instead of the political content of the debate.

The country’s Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) later issued an apology to Mexican citizens and the candidates for Orayen’s attire.

“We asked the production company to not have any things that could be a distraction, that [the assistant] wear appropriate attire in accordance with the setting, but this condition was clearly not met,” said an IFE representative .

Such was the storm created by Orayen’s cameo that presidential candidates were quick to wade into the debate.

“I was taken aback a bit, she spiced the thing up and took away the solemnity of the debate,” said Gabriel Quadri, candidate for the New Alliance Party.

“I’ll be honest, I had never been around a playmate and the truth is that it’s something that takes you aback,” he said.

Orayen’s dress “did not fit the seriousness, the importance” of the event, National Action Party candidate Josefina Vazquez Mota said.

“We were in a quality debate about the presidency and not at some other type of gathering or spectacle,” the female candidate, who wore a black business suit to the event, said.

Presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador refused to comment, and frontrunner Enrique Pena Nieto has also chosen not to add his voice to the controversy.

Orayen told local media that the television production team gave her instructions to wear a long, white dress, but that she had picked out the dress in question from her own closet.

Brunette beauty

Julia Orayen posed naked in the 2008 Playboy Mexico. Her previous work also includes an almost-nude spread commemorating Mexican Independence Day in which she appears in minimal garb modelled on images of Mexican founding father Jose Maria Morelos.

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