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Frequently impersonated but never duplicated: the glamorous, fabulous, curvaceous fashion icon-
 Marilyn Monroe.

“I don’t mind being burdened with being glamorous and sexual. Beauty and femininity are ageless and can’t be contrived, and glamour, although the manufacturers won’t like this, cannot be manufactured. Not real glamour; it’s based on femininity.”- Marilyn

For more on Marilyn
 Marilyn lead a fascinating roller coaster of a life full of scandals, critiques and drama. Although she is undoubtedly one of the most iconic people of all time, there was so much more to her story and her personality than being a bubbly blonde. She played the dumb blonde in her movie roles but was something quite different in reality. While I cannot possibly cover all of the important parts of her life and career in a blog post, there are many great books on the subject. You can also check out Marilyn Monroe.com for information about her life and her films. For her beauty secrets, photos, diet and exercise regimen and unknown facts about Marilyn, see her at The Lovely Marilyn Monroe

“If you’re gonna be two-faced at least make one of them pretty.”-Marilyn
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The Lady
Marilyn was born Norma Jeane Mortensen Baker on June 1, 1926 to Gladys Baker.  She had a sad beginning to a tragic life. Her birth certificate listed Martin Mortensen as her father but a misspelling on the certificate caused confusion about who the father really was. Mortensen left Gladys shortly before Norma Jeane was born. When Norma Jeane was a small child, Gladys showed her a photo of a man with a thin mustache by the name of Charles Stanley Gifford and claimed that it was Gifford who was her true father.
Gladys suffered from severe mental illness and was hospitalized several times throughout Norma Jeane's childhood. Norma Jeane spent her early life with abusive foster care or with her ill mother. As a young woman, her foster parents, Grace and Doc moved across country when Doc got a job offer and they left Norma Jeane behind. Before they left, Grace arranged a marriage between Jim and Norma Jeane so that she wouldn't have to go back to state foster care. Jim didn't want to marry her at first but he eventually accepted. Soon, Jim joined the merchant Marines and he also left Norma Jeane behind while he went off to war. Norma Jeane got a job in the Radioplane Munitions Factory as a parachute inspector.

 An army photographer noticed her in the factory and took some pictures of her. He encouraged her to join The Blue Book Modelling Agency so she did! She bleached her hair blonde and became one of their most successful models.

The Legend
During her modeling career, she gained the attention of 20th Century Fox. They loved her look and decided that she needed a new name to accompany her beauty and glamor. After long deliberation, they chose the name "Marilyn Monroe". Monroe after her mother's maiden name and Marilyn after Marilyn Miller. Although Norma Jeane didn't care for the name "Marilyn" she kept it anyway.

Marilyn worked from 1948 to 1962, starring in fantastic films such as The Seven Year Itch, How to Marry a Millionaire, Some Like it Hot and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes to name a few. Many directors, producers and fellow actors complained about her inability to arrive on time and to remember lines. She confided in a few close friends that she had a terrible stage fright and no talent at all. She received negative critiques for her outlandish and overly sexual outfits, dances and behavior in public and on set.  In spite of everything, the world was captivated by her.

"I don't mind living in a man's world as long as I can be a woman in it." -Marilyn 

Marilyn had three marriages. Jim Dougherty, Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller. It is said that she had numerous affairs including Marlon Brando and John and Robert Kennedy.

 On August 5, 1962, Marilyn was found dead in her home at the age of 36. The final report stated that she died as a result of drug overdose and probably a suicide. Many theories still circulate regarding the actual cause of her death. Some say she was murdered, others claim a conspiracy involving the Kennedys or Mafia. The last person that Marilyn called on the phone was John F Kennedy.  Fashionable to the end, Marilyn wore her favorite green dress by Emilio Pucci and her makeup done by Whitey Snyder, who promised to do her funeral makeup if she died before him. She rests at the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in the Corridor of Memories, crypt number 24. Joe Dimaggio placed roses at the site for 20 years after her death.

Get The Look
Although often criticized for her sexy dress during her life, Marilyn's look remains the most iconic even 50 years after her passing. Her blonde curls, red lips and voluptuous curves have been lovingly copied by celebrities, models and fans.You don't have to be a blonde to get the Marilyn look

“I don’t know who invented high heels, but all women owe him a lot!”-Marilyn

Wear white- white dress, swimsuit, shorts or sweater.

Chunky clear heels- she was frequently pictured in different pairs of these thick Lucite heels. Any heel makes legs look long and perfect. While I admit these shoes look like today's Lucite stripper platforms, Marilyn makes them look classic! Edit: a reader pointed out that these are actually the same shoes with different ribbons! Adorable, yes? I think I will have to find a pair of modern heels to modify with different colored ribbons like this.

 Show off your curves- Marilyn was known for skin-tight clothes. A hip hugging pencil skirt, cinched in waist, or form fitting sweater.  She once said “The body is meant to be seen, not all covered up.”

Diamonds are a girl's best friend! Show off your glamorous side with rhinestone bracelets, dangling earrings and glittering necklace

Make up like Marilyn-red lips, perfectly groomed brows and dramatic false lashes are all key pieces of Marilyn's look. See my tutorial for how to get vintage brows and how to do Marilyn's makeup