A French reality TV star whose trademark “hello? I mean hello?” expression earned her national derision and fame has been detained on suspicion of stabbing her boyfriend in the chest, police said today.
Nabilla Benattia, who denies any wrongdoing, rose to fame last year when she uttered those words in horror after learning that fellow female contestants had not brought shampoo with them on a show.
Firemen were called to a hotel in Boulogne-Billancourt near Paris in the early hours of today after the 22-year-old, who has now become a television commentator known by her first name Nabilla, apparently had a fight with her boyfriend Thomas Vergara, whom she met on reality TV.
Vergara had several knife wounds in the chest and “his situation is considered serious” though not life-threatening, said police and prosecutors.
Nabilla herself is due to be questioned as part of a probe into “attempted homicide.”
According to her initial statement, the couple was assaulted by three people and Vergara was injured when he tried to stop them, another police source said.
Prosecutors said Nabilla herself called the firemen saying there had been a fight outside the building after “the couple returned by taxi from an evening out.”
She said Vergara only realised he was injured when they got to their room, they added.
“After checking, police officers do not confirm these statements,” prosecutors said, pointing to the fact there was no trace of blood outside the hotel.
A police source added that video-surveillance images showed that the two arrived separately and that Vergara seemed well and healthy when he entered the building.
Nabilla’s famous expression spawned countless parodies, including one video where she calls a visibly irate Hitler, and inspired several ad campaigns, prompting the curvaceous brunette to have it registered as a trademark.
She had been taking part in the fifth instalment of “The Angels of Reality TV” – a show that groups together candidates and stars of other, previous reality TV shows – when she uttered those words.
“Hello? I mean hello? You’re a girl and you don’t have shampoo, hello? Hello! Do you receive me? You’re a girl and you don’t have shampoo. It’s as if I tell you, you’re a girl and you don’t have hair,” she said in shock in an episode broadcast in March 2013.
Ikea was quick to capitalise on the gimmick to promote its “Hallo” cushion in the southern city of Marseille, putting up a store sign saying “Hello? I mean hello? You’re a chair and you don’t have a cushion? Hello? Hello!”