55 Years Later: Marilyn Monroe On Beauty And Image

Marilyn Monroe: one of the most beautiful, fascinating stars to have graced our screens, and one whose untimely passing has served, in a sense, to freeze her in time. She will forever exist in our collective memory as a sultry figure whose youth is evergreen, and she remains one of the most recognizable icons of the twentieth century. Chuck Little, in a recent piece for The Blemish about young star Bella Thorne’s Monroe-inspired photo shoot for Harper’s Bazaar, wrote: “You can’t really tell if Thorne resembles Monroe, but that’s not really the point. Slap a blonde wig on her and people get the association.” There’s truth in that; Monroe is such an iconic figure in the cultural canon that one need only don that blonde wig or a billowy white dress and the homage is clear.

What’s to write of her that hasn’t been written? Marilyn Monroe was, and continues to be, an enigma. She’s a shapeshifter: a sex symbol, a timeless beauty, the doe-eyed blonde, an ingenue. But don’t let the stereotypes fool you; Ms. Monroe was an introspective, intelligent woman with a sharply tuned wit. And for all our efforts to place Monroe on a pedestal for her looks, the young star was inarguably ahead of her time in her opinions on physical appearance.

Tomorrow marks the fifty-fifth anniversary of Marilyn Monroe’s passing, and we’ve taken a look back at some of her most profound insights on what it means, exactly, to be beautiful.

“I want to grow old without facelifts. I want to have the courage to be loyal to the face I have.”

“Beauty and femininity are ageless and can’t be contrived, and glamour, although the manufacturers won’t like this, cannot be manufactured.”

“A sex symbol becomes a thing. I just hate to be a thing.”

“To all the girls that think you’re fat because you’re not a size zero, you’re the beautiful one. It’s society who’s ugly.”

“Beneath the makeup and behind the smile, I am just a girl who wishes for the world.”