It has been 50 years since the death of the America's sex goddess, Marilyn Monroe. I have always had a special place in my spirit for Marilyn Monroe because when I was growing up she was the only celebrity who I knew, who had a mother with a mental illness and who thrived. She was an inspiration to me of sorts even with her well-publicized setbacks. When I went to college, I had several of her pictures of her on my wall but no one knew why, I didnt share my family painful experience of mental illness and the damaging effects it has on a family's structure. I assumed people believed I wanted to look like her or I had some great admiration for her. Having a strong sense of pride, while I thought Marilyn was a beautiful woman I had no desire to look like her, though I have emulated some her flirtations, they are effective.
We also shared some other histories in our background, that I won't go into on this post but they gave me a unique understanding of what obstacles she faced and conqured in those short 36 years. The other nite while buying groceries in Fort Greene, I saw a magazine highlighting her death and all her scandals. There is a whole industry created on the "tragedy" that is Marilyn Monroe and she is consistently depicted as this breathless idiot, who couldn't take a step without swallowing a pill for confidence.
I never met Marilyn, would have loved to be but she died long before I was born and all I have to know her by are letters, journal entries, endless documentaries and those beautiful pictures that have stood the test of time.
Knowing and understanding a little of her background, one thing is very clear to me, she was no one's idiot and most definitely no one's victim. You do not survive, a children's home (esp in the 20-30's) prior to children's advocacy, while having no family to support you, being a pretty female w/little education and become one of the biggest stars of all time; without a will of steel. I cant even imagine the situations she endured during her childhood, the sexual misconduct that she had to withstand, the inner fortitude it took to be rejected over and over with no means of emotional support to get to that pinnacle. She was one of the first women to have her own production company, Egg Productions, and she lifted weights when women were not supposed to. She dictated her image, her roles, her leading men and she did not die penniless. When she was fired from her last film, for her own misbehavior she sued, won and recieved a pay hike. She took a small role in All About Eve and translated into her own empire. Her challenges with her husbands is they assumed she was coquettish sex goddess, and she was an ambitious shark who wanted her career and intelligence to be honored as well as her body. As the wife of Arthur Miller, he thought she would be her career on hold for him, he was jealous of her production company but as a woman who had always taken care of herself there was no way she would defer her dreams-not even for him. Marilyn Monroe was a woman ahead of her time, she layed the groundwork for Madonna, Janet, Beyonce, Angelina Jolie and on. She illustrated that you can be sexual and ambitious all in the same being. She understood that sexuality is a performance and she was a master at it but it was still just that, a skill not her being. As a woman she struggled to find the person/and or industry that could accept that but they just werent ready. #marilynmonroe #feminism #acting
An Actor/Director sharing her thoughts on creativity in this crazy metropolis, New Yawk Citay.