Friday, December 12, 2008

Remembering Bettie

There will be a lot of people paying tribute to Bettie Page today. She was a mystery from the 50s, but I "discovered" her while I was in the acting troupe for the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire. One of my castmates was wearing a Rocketeer t-shirt, the like of which I've never seen since. It was a picture of the Rocketeer saving this beautiful, sassy brunette, whom I came to know as Bettie Page.
"Page's career began one day in October 1950 when she took a respite from her job as a secretary in a New York office for a walk along the beach at Coney Island. An amateur photographer named Jerry Tibbs admired the 27-year-old's firm, curvy body and asked her to pose."

Looking back on the career that followed (which included nude and fetish photographs), she told Playboy in 1998: "I never thought it was shameful. I felt normal. It's just that it was much better than pounding a typewriter eight hours a day, which gets monotonous."

Nudity didn't bother her, she said, explaining: "God approves of nudity. Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, they were naked as jaybirds."

I think this interview shows her sense of spirit which seemed to be apparent in all of her modeling work. The film, The Notorious Bettie Page, also gives an interesting glimpse into this sweet girl who became an iconic legend.

There's something about Bettie that provokes a reaction. She inspired countless generations and was more than a mere icon from the '50s. She set pop culture on fire and has continued to do so decade after decade.

I don't believe she was photographed in her later years. Once she stopped modeling and tried to find herself, she only allowed interviews years later, and even then preferred no pictures.

"Please remember me as I was. I hope that you understand. I am content now. I enjoy my privacy and my simple life. I have no regrets." - Bettie Page

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