To Russia, with love
Mata Hari meets Angelina Jolie: Anna Chapman is Russia's superstar spysweetheart
She might not have been much of a spy, but neither was Mata Hari. And when it comes to curves, she blows the average Bond girl out of the water.
Anna Chapman had her 15 minutes of fame in the United States after being arrested with nine other Russian nationals and charged with spying. But she's become a certified celebrity back home in Russia.
Frankly, with her angelic face, green eyes, sultry red hair and other, um, assets, Chapman could have been a model even without her notoriety. But combine her features with a sense of Russian patriotism and an air of mystery and it's easy to see why Russians have become a bit obsessed.
As German magazine Der Spiegel reports,
"Chapman has become a fetish for a resentful nation, embodying most Russians' deep dislike of the United States. Most of all, the Anna cult helps to gloss over the severely battered reputation of Russia's intelligence agencies, which are infected by the same ailments afflicting the entire country: nepotism, corruption and greed."
Symptoms of Anna-mania? Confessionals from her former boyfriends get front page attention in the tabloids, while one radio station is hosting a contest to write the best song about her. There's even a doll in her image, complete with Madonna-like biceps and a gun. Chapman told Der Spiegel she has to wear a hat and sunglasses to avoid being recognized on the streets.
But Anna for the most part seems to be embracing her fame — she's posed in a racy spread for Russian mag Zhara, and said she's working on her own website.
Her plea agreement with American authorities prohibits her from telling or profiting from her story, but Chapman is free to cash in on her name and her image.
Some are even speculating that Chapman could run for Russia's legislature, the Duma. She'd hardly be the first spy-turned politician, after all — Prime Minister Vladimir Putin famously had a previous career in the KGB.
And really, America, who are we to judge? Compared to Paris Hilton and Tila Tequila, Anna Chapman, international spy, is quite the class act.