Meet the first lady of fabulous

By Jeremy Wilson

Being wife of a President or Prime Minister is a tough job. Get it wrong and you’ll be universally hated; get it right and you will be universally adored. There’s a fine a line to walk between being perfectly turned out and not getting too involved in the affairs of state and becoming a frumpy busy-body.

The trap that first ladies most often fall into is appearing too earnest: too keen to be photographed with fat kids and snapped wearing a “good value” dress from Target. It all gets a bit exhausting.

Fortunately, amid the current stale roster of first ladies there shines a bright star, a glistening pearl among a sea of plastic beads. Meet Chantal Biya, the worlds most glamorous first lady.

Chantal Biya is the first lady of Cameroon and she has one and only one job: to accompany her husband, President Paul Biya, on diplomatic trips and show up the wife of his opposite number. Admittedly, she has established a few charities such as the modestly named Chantal Biya Foundation, which helps poor people somehow. But her main occupation is looking fabulous.

In honour of Mrs Biya’s first decade of First Ladyship, we looked back at some of her finer moments.

La banane

The first and perhaps only thing you need to know about the first lady is that her hair is, well, astonishing. It surely can’t be long before women the world over are asking their hairdresser for “la banane”, the affectionate term for Chantal’s signature look. There has been discussion over whether is appropriate to refer to “la banane” as hair at all – some insist that the first lady is in possession of a mane.

First lady

Mrs Biya’s hairdo is more than just fashion: it’s an integral part of her main mission in life – outdoing lesser woman. Most women would fade into the background when being photographed with a skinny blonde heiress, but not Chantal Biya.

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In fact, you can steal thunder from supermodels by casually standing behind them when you are sporting “la banane”.

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At least when Mrs Biya is hanging out with A-listers and supermodels, the other girls have generally made some effort. But sometimes as part of her first lady duties she has to face lesser mortals.

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Some people call Michelle Obama “fierce”. Sorry sister, but this is how it’s done.

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Some of you might be wondering at this point: what does Mrs Biya do on occasions when she needs to cover her head – say, for instance, she was visiting the pope. Fear not.

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And to those who dare to question Mrs Biya’s regal allure? Say, for example, by pointing out that she bears a striking resemblance to a washed up old tranny?

Journalists who insult her are arrested, for “insult to character”. Damned right. How could anyone find fault with this glittering African queen?