George Clooney's ex-girlfriend Elisabetta Canalis on Dancing With the Stars

| Thu, 09/01/2011 - 01:02
Elisabetta Canalis

Just when George Clooney is back in Italy to debut his latest movie at the Venice Film Festival, ex-girlfriend Elisabetta Canalis is heading to America. The Italian showgirl is taking her act on the road to appear on the hit program Dancing with the Stars.

Known to American audiences thanks to her association with Hollywood’s most well-known actor, Elisabetta will soon be dancing her way into homes across the country on television’s most-watched reality show.

Those who have never heard of the actress before may smirk at the biography provided by the program. Television network ABC introduces Elisabetta by explaining that she once studied foreign languages at the Universita' Statale in Milan, but left to pursue acting. It goes on to explain that her “bold career decision” landed her a three-year stint on the TV show Striscia la Notizia. Elisabetta was one of the two "Veline" in the show from 1999 to 2002.

What is a "Velina" and what is Striscia la Notizia?

Velina is indeed a centuries-old word for very light, soft paper. Under the Fascist regime, all-powerful government censors issued directives specifying what newspapers could or could not report. Thin-sheeted copies (veline) went to editors, who had no choice but to follow them; the originals remained in state archives.

In the 1980s, Berlusconi's TV channel Canale 5 launched a TV programme "Striscia La Notizia" - a precursor of sorts of The Daily Show—satirising official news programs by featuring sexy dancers in flimsy outfits who carried "veline" to the annoucers.

The girls became known as veline, a name now used for all the scantily clad girls who appear regularly on Italian television.

Elisabetta's biography also describes her work with animal rights organisation PETA, but there is no mention of her famous ex-boyfriend. Canalis and Clooney split up earlier this year shortly after the actress gave an interview to an Italian magazine about her desire to get married.

Italians are also wondering if Elisabetta's international success is more due to an "EX factor" than an "X factor"!