A Chilean soap-opera star, a beauty from ancient Pompeii and a freckled tomboy hardly make an average beauty pageant line-up.
But the three faced off in the first worldwide digital beauty contest, which to the surprise of many frenzied online fans was won by a woman who is virtually real flesh and bones.
"Virtual models are not the anti-real, they are a different representation of reality," said Franz Cerami, the organizer of Miss Digital World.
Each of the contestants had to provide glamorous shots of high-resolution divas, complete with date of birth and body measurements to make video-game heroine Lara Croft blush.
Chilean Rodolfo Perez Ayala decided that no figment of his imagination could beat the beauty of his wife, Katty Kowaleczko, so he hired artist Flavio Parra to re-create her from pixels.
Kowaleczko, who plays Paula Sandoval in the popular Latin American soap opera "Tentacion," was transformed into Katty-ko and won the digital contest with more than 17,000 online votes.
"I'm so happy Katty-ko won. I think her strength is her resemblance to a real woman — not too exuberant or voluptuous," Kowaleczko, 40, told Reuters. "Her beauty is in her simplicity."
Kowaleczko was not afraid of being replaced by her 3-D clone in movies or theatres, but hoped she would become "a sort of ambassador of Chilean beauty and creativity." Cerami said Latin American interest in Miss Digital World had boomed since Katty-ko joined the contest, which attracted about 3,600 entries from countries from Iran to Australia and even from the ancient Roman empire.
"Pompea" was the digital reconstruction of a young woman killed by the eruption of Vesuvius in A.D. 79.
"She was a slave, but also a rich man's lover. When her body was discovered, archaeologists found many jewels and a bangle with the inscription 'dominus ancillae suae' (from the master to his servant girl)," said Genny Tortora, a professor at the University of Salerno who led Pompea's creative team.
Other contestants included Kaya, the most realistic model, with digital freckles, pouty lips and upturned nose.
Now, Cerami's dream is to manage an agency of virtual pin-ups, touting them for calendars, games, ads, and movies. One is even reported to be heading for Playboy's front page.