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Monday 24 November 2003, 0:01 GMT
Monday 24 November 2003 Date
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"Superwoman" Sharon Osbourne Crowned UK's 'Most Amazing Woman' in New 2003 Poll

LONDON, November 23 /PRNewswire/ --

Variety magazine may have called her the "Iron Woman" but handbag.com readers have newly crowned rock's most infamous wife, Sharon Osbourne, the undisputed queen of entertainment and the UK's most amazing woman.

While Davina McCall topped handbag's Amazing Woman poll in 2002, a year on Davina is nowhere in sight as Sharon Osbourne steals the crown. But the similarities between these heroines are apparent: both have lived through drug abuse and hard times but have used their humour and strength to battle on. Clearly, these are qualities that women applaud.

handbag.com - the UK's first and leading site for women (ABCe, 651,261 March 2003) - received over 7,000 votes in a two-stage online poll which invited the site's readers to vote for their favourite 'amazing women'. The poll covered eight categories; Fashion, Entertainment, Sports, Writing, Music, Business, Acting and Comedy, reflecting the success of women in different spheres of British life.

Each of handbag's category winners - Stella McCartney, Julie Walters, Paula Radcliffe, Dido, Liz Earle, Meera Syal, Joanna Harris - have become a household name whilst the overall winner, Sharon Osbourne, has also successfully managed to retain her cult credibility.

Commenting on the results, handbag's editor, Debbie Djordjevic says: "handbag.com readers are typically independent, modern women, with an opinion. Our poll results suggest that our readers aspire to female role models who are talented and top of their field for more than just the superficial trappings of fame, but are also not afraid of expressing themselves and showing their human side - a quality that clearly our readers identify with and appreciate."

Summing up the results, media psychotherapist, Christine Webber, said: "What's so interesting and wonderful to see from the results is that handbag readers have chosen other real woman as their inspirations and role models. The women chosen are a diverse mix of ages, cultures and classes. And most of them would certainly not claim to be beautiful. How refreshing this is.

"What the handbag.com poll is saying is that we love our heroines to be really rounded characters, not cardboard cutouts."

And commenting on Sharon Osbourne's overall win, Webber said:"Thinking back a couple of decades to the go-getting, superficial, designer-driven 80s, it would have been inconceivable that someone as robustly individual as Sharon Osbourne could have emerged at the top of an Amazing Woman poll.

"Sharon Osbourne and her well-documented difficult history seems to say to the rest of us: 'If I can survive, and thrive, then so can you.' She is an icon of our age - and she makes us laugh too."

HOW THE CATEGORIES WERE FOUGHT

Entertainment: Ozzy Osbourne's saviour and overall Superwoman, Sharon Osbourne, effortlessly wins this category, with a cool 44% of the vote. The family's antics may have provided some of TV's most unmissable moments but the real star of the show is this strong matriach and her endless energy, in spite of battling colon cancer. No wonder she is the overall Amazing Women poll winner with 32%. Posh fashion duo, Susannah & Trinny secure second place with 23%. Love them or hate them, no-one can deny their entertainment value. And national institution, Cilla Black, still wins our hearts securing 15% of the vote.

Business: Category winner Liz Earle developed her own range of cosmetics - Naturally Active Skin care - as a solution to her (formerly) problematic skin. And while they say women can never have too many Jimmy Choos, it is Sam Roddick's upmarket sex shop venture, Coco De Mer, which secured her second place, over Jimmy Choo ambassador, Tamara Mellon.

Acting: Youth may sell in Hollywood, but in Britain it's talent that counts. It's no surprise that twice Best Actress BAFTA winner, Julie Walters tops this category with her memorable performance in 2003's Calendar Girls to add to her already glowing CV. Newcomer, Keira Knightley secured second place and even beat Britain's best Hollywood export Catherine Zeta Jones by 1%.

Fashion: For the second year running Stella McCartney has once gain managed to shrug off any 'rich kid' tag to forge her own reputation, and wins 53% of the fashion vote. Design duo Frost French won second place with their floaty, feminine Boho looks.

Sport: It's been a record-breaking year for Britain's top distance runner Paula Radcliffe and once again she comes in first with 58%. Securing second place as the overall UK's most Amazing Woman - her 19% of votes could not top gold medalist Sharon Osbourne. Not forgotten though and in joint second place in this category, are sporting stars Denise Lewis and Tanni Grey-Thompson with 13% of the vote.

Writing: Best selling author Joanne Harris is our most amazing female writer with a clear majority 31% of the votes. This year's offering, Holy Orders, is as imaginative and captivating as Chocolat, for which Harris won an Oscar nomination. A narrow second place sees newspaper journalist sees Zoe Heller beat Monica Ali by 1%.

Comedy: Meera Syal, last year's runner-up in the Writing category is this year's winner in Comedy - a new category. Best known as the grandma on The Kumars at No.42, her extensive talent includes books, screenplays, theatre scripts and acting. Jo Brand, who strikes a chord with most women with her insightful observations and witty, dry humour, secures second place.

Music: For a second year Dido once again wins in the Music category with a staggering 61% majority. Her latest album Life For Rent has become the fastest selling album of 2003 adding to her estimated overall worth of GBP12.5 million. And while Cathy Dennis may have not had a hit record for 10 years, she certainly writes them for other artists such as Kylie Minogue - earning her second place.

These women may have made it as 'Amazing Women' but what about those up & coming starlets? Log on to www.handbag.com right now to check out 12 gifted women and follow the rise of the hottest new British talent.

Notes to Editors:

The first stage of the poll was carried on handbag.com's home page from 14/10/03 to 31/10/03. 5,333 votes were cast. The full poll results in each category are below.

The 'poll of poll' to find the most amazing woman from a shortlist of category winners was carried on handbag.com's home page from 5/11/03 to 16/11/03. 2,307 votes were cast. The poll results are: Sharon Osbourne (732 votes, 32%), Paula Radcliffe (428, 19%), Dido (387, 17%), Julie Walters (362, 16%), Stella McCartney (154, 7%), Meera Syal (152, 7%), Liz Earle (58, 3%) and Joanna Harris (34, 1%).

    Entertainment           Business                 Fashion
 
    Sharon Osbourne 336 - 
    44%                     Liz Earle 160- 31%       Stella McCartney
    Trinny & Susannah 180                            351- 53%
    -23%                    Sam Roddick 110- 21%
                                                     Frost/ French 136-
    Cilla Black 116 -15%    Tamara Mellon 102- 20%   21%
 
    Sarah Beeny 82 -11%     Sahar Hasheim 94- 18%    Vivienne Westwood
                                                     105- 16%
    Kate Lawler 52 -7%      Sly Bailey 51-10%
                                                     Tracey Boyd 46- 7%
    Total votes- 766        Total votes- 517
                                                     Zandra Rhodes 25-
                                                     4%
                                                     Total votes- 663

 
    Music                   Sport                    Acting
 
    Dido 501- 61%           Paula Radcliffe 343- 58% Julie Walters 337-
                                                     38%
    Cathy Dennis 127-15%    Tanni Grey-Thompson 77 -
                            13%                      Keira Knightley
    Skin 82- 10%                                     233 - 27%
                            Denise Lewis 79-13%
    Siobhan Donaghy 63- 8%                           Catherine Zeta
                            Heather Corrie 52- 9%    Jones 227- 26%
    Lisa Maffia 52- 6%
                            Kelly Holmes 38- 6%      Angela Griffin 51-
    Total votes- 825                                 6%
                            Total votes- 589
                                                     Rosamund Pike 30-
                                                     3%
 
                                                     Total votes- 878


    Writing                 Comedy 

    Joanne Harris 130- 31%  Meera Syal 229-34%
 
    Zoe Heller 94- 23%      Jo Brand 227- 33%
 
    Monica Ali 92- 22%      Doon Mackinchan 127- 19%
 
    Clare Morell 51-13%     Rhona Cameron 62- 9%
 
    Salley Vickers 46-11%   Jenny Éclair 33- 5%
 
    Total votes- 417        Total votes- 678

About handbag.com

handbag.com talks to women in a place, and in a way, and at a time when other people can't via a team of editors and expert writers dedicated to covering topics from fashion, beauty and careers to relationships and health & fitness.

handbag.com is about Life, Style, Ideas and is an engaging source of inspiration, advice and entertainment for women. Launched in October 1999, handbag.com was the first women's lifestyle website to launch in the UK and is currently the market-leader in terms of brand awareness. According to Ocean Consulting's third annual Media Brands study, handbag.com was in the top 10 of most recognised internet brands.

Regular ABCe audits demonstrate that over 650,000 women visit handbag monthly (651,261 unique readers in March 2003). handbag's core audience are women aged 25-45 who work either full or part-time and who love to shop - an incredible 86% have ever shopped online.

handbag.com is a 50/50 joint venture between The Boots Company PLC and Hollinger Telegraph New Media (HTNM).

For more information, please visit www.handbag.com

Distributed by PR Newswire on behalf of handbag.com