Miss World 2003 Rosanna Davison, daughter of singer Chris De Burgh, chatted with Brian O'Connell of The Irish Times about her year in which she posed nude for Playboy.
Davison was featured on the cover of German Playboy earlier this year, an opportunity she said she took “control” of and angled to display women in a powerful manner with the Amazonian theme she chose.
“One of my big worries doing Playboy was my responsibility towards women and towards feminism or towards the movement,” Davison told the Times.
“I decided to do it based on my academic understanding of women’s writing and literature and the fact that I haven’t made a career out of glamour modelling or taking my clothes off.” Davison is a graduate of University College Dublin, where she studied sociology and art history.
"I came up with the idea of a tribal beach theme, and I wanted to look both strong and feminine. I wouldn’t have done it if they said, ‘Lie back on a bed with silk and satin lingerie.’ I wanted to look strong and fit and toned and healthy.”
O’Connell asked if Davison felt her posing in Playboy adds to the objectification of women.
"I agree it adds to the objectification of women,” she said. “There are no two ways about it. Every other aspect of modern society, though, from advertising to reality shows, also fuels that. It seems one big cyclical objectification.”
“I wouldn’t have done the shoot if I were not in control of the whole thing, from the location to the hair and make-up and the final shots. It was all down to me. There were 100 shots taken, and I picked 40 and I told them what to airbrush and what not to. What I was trying to put across is that you can be everything. You can be desirable and sexy and in control.”
Davison went on to clarify her stance on feminism after O’Connell asked her if she felt she was used as the “token counter-feminist” when she was slotted to appear on The Late Late Show in September alongside Caitlin Moran, the London Times columnist and author.
“I am a big admirer of Caitlin’s work and read her column every week,” Davison said. “I would relate to a lot of what she writes about. There is no way I was ever going to disagree with what she was saying. I would see myself as a great supporter of women and someone who would absolutely stand up for women. I don’t know if I would use the term feminist. I don’t know if it is applicable any more.”
Aside from appearing in Playboy this year and for being crowned Miss World in 2003, Davison is also known as daughter of the famous musician Chris de Burgh, who wrote and sang the song ‘Lady in Red.’
With her name being in the public arena, Davison has taken to working with some charities. However, earlier this year, she was the focus of some controversy when she ran the Flora Women’s Mini Marathon.
When Davison clocked 43 minutes for a 10K, speculation soon grew that she might have began the race at a later start point than the rest of the competitors. Davison has rejected such accusation, and later explained that her final time was due to her having used another runner’s race number and only collected it after starting the race. She said her time was over an hour, not 43 minutes.
Davison ran the marathon to help benefit Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. She added that, “I did the Ironman Challenge in September in Galway for Irish Autism Action – we won the women’s relay section – and I will continue to work with the ISPCA next year.”
Speaking on her heightened public profile, Davison said, “Well, I won’t be picking my nose walking down the street,” she said with a laugh.
“I run around in my gym gear a lot, so I am not overly concerned. One of the nice things about Irish people is that they don’t bother you really. I am nowhere near the level of celebrity status as someone from, say, Hollywood coming in. If I’m out at two in the morning I get Lady in Red in my ear, but that’s about it.”