As Amanda Knox gives her first TV interview since being freed from an Italian prison, we explore why the media and the public still can't get enough of the American student.
In the first teasers of Amanda Knox’s television interview with Diane Sawyer (for an ABC special called Murder. Mystery. Amanda Knox Speaks, which airs tonight) the 25-year-old is seen teary-eyed as she recalls specific moments of her time bedind bars after being charged, found guilty and later acquitted of the murder of her housemate, Meredith Kercher, in Perugia.
Five-and-a-half years later, and with a retrial in Italy looming, the world is still as fascinated with Amanda Knox as ever. But why? We explore.
1) Mystery. Italian court rooms do not, in general, allow television cameras to film trials, so the public rarely heard Amanda Knox speak, even when they did it was muffled and borderline inaudible. All the public had to go on when creating a picture of Knox in their mind were the endless supply of photos, which showed the American student looking very pretty, seeming to display very little emotion and often with a calm, half smile on her face.
2) Foxy Knoxy. Of course, it helps that Amanda was impossibly photogenic, with glossy hair, flawless skin and beautiful blue eyes. The media jumped on all images of Knox, and her good looks were seen as either proof of guilt or proof of innocence, depending on who you were.
3) Composure. While it could be argued that most young students faced with a murder charge in a foreign country would flip out, panic or have a complete breakdown, Amanda Knox appeared, for the most part, astonishingly calm throughout her arrest and trial. The diaries that she kept during her time in jail, also show how self-posessed Knox was and her mother, Edda Mellas, has told how her daughter stuck to a strict routine of push-ups, sit-ups and outside walks. This composure, which can be seen as strength of character, has made her even more fascinating.
4) Bizarre behaviour. It’s said that Amanda Knox acted strangely following her arrest, even doing cartwheels and handstands whilst being questioned at the police station. And who could forget the photo of Amanda and her then boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito (he was also charged and then acquitted of the murder of Kercher, but no one seems to care about him) kissing after Meredith’s body had been found?
5) Sex. The fact that Amanda is very pretty combined with her open enjoyment of sex has made for many headlines over the last few years. In her memoir, Waiting To Be Heard, she talks about having a one-night stand, being propositioned by the Italian prison guards, her rabbit vibrator and using marijuana. During the trial the details of her sex life were dissected and she was even labelled by one trial lawyer as a ‘demonic, satanic, diabolical she-devil’ who was ‘devoted to lust, drugs and alcohol’.
6) Book deals, talk shows and a Hollywood movie. Once acquitted of murder, it was clear that Amanda Knox wasn’t going to head off quietly. Her family quickly hired Seattle PR firm, Gogerty Marriott, to oversee bids for TV interviews, book and film deals. There has already been a Hollywood movie starring Hayden Panettiere (which, to be clear, had nothing to do withKnox), and with the release of her $4m book comes her first round TV and media interviews.
We’re about to hear Amanda’s side of the ordeal for the first time, and you can bet the world will be watching with baited breath as they dissect every last sentence, turn of phrase and facial expression.
What’s your opinion of the world’s obsession with Amanda Knox? Why are we all so interested? Do you think it’s fair that the death of Meredith Kercher seems to have been overshadowed by Amanda Knox? We’d love to know your thoughts in the comment box below.