“She was a girl who knew how to be happy even when she was sad. And that’s important, you know.” -Marilyn Monroe 1926-1962
50 years after her death, this woman still casts a spell over people. It took one girl from Los Angeles, California named Norma Jeane Baker, with celestial beauty, hypnotizing grace, and a voracious appetite for public adoration and stardom, to personify a legendary iconic symbol of sex, glamour, fragility, and tragedy combined, a.k.a Marilyn Monroe.
I won’t even attempt to analyze the fixation people have over this lovely specimen as that effort is better suited for a cogently written book. All I can say that may explain my shared admiration for her resonates to the first time I laid eyes on this specific portrait (above). I was 14 years old when I stepped foot into a classmate’s house after school and there it was, framed and prominently hanging over her bed. Having very little knowledge about Monroe’s life and death, I was somehow in awe of the photograph’s allure; a perfect 1950′s depiction of elegance and femininity. Years later, she doesn’t fail to mesmerize me.
I cannot think of another human being whose image has been more overexposed and overused in pop culture other than Monroe’s. More interestingly is Hollywood’s constant grapple at making profit over the very star it once depreciated. But, I digress. If I could pull off platinum blonde hair and had a button nose, I’d shamelessly walk around à la Marilyn. To commemorate Norma Jeane’s ingenious and Marilyn Monroe’s magnetism for the 50th anniversary of her death, here’s a recap of some Marilyn imitators who have celebrated her iconography the best way they could.
It may be easy to photograph looking like Marilyn Monroe, but duplicating her bipolar personalities onscreen deserves respect. Michelle Williams did a fantastic job in “My Week With Marilyn.”
A goddess in her own right, Angelina Jolie captures her essence by transporting us back to photographer Douglas Kirkland’s 1961 shoot with Marilyn Monroe in an unmade bed.
Madonna seems to love imitating some of Marilyn’s iconic looks as she channeled her a few times throughout her career starting with the mimicry of Marilyn’s performance in the song “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” from the 1953 film “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” in her 1985 music video “Material Girl.”
With her Southern sweetness and charm, Britney Spears can pull off Marilyn quite well. Her music video for “If U Seek Amy” pays tribute to the icon.
The late Anna Nicole Smith was a Marilyn enthusiast which was clearly evidenced in her reality TV show back in 2002-2004 and many of her professional photographs. In a lot of ways, she reminds me of her.
For her “Back to Basics” album, Christina Aguilera used Marilyn’s image to represent her record’s overall sound.
Naomi Watts is a chameleon actress and successfully embodies an iconic portrait of Marilyn here.
Paris Hilton’s attempt to channel Miss Monroe to promote her fragrance called “Tease” came off a little trashy, rather than classy.
Scarlett Johansson pulls off a skanky Monroe.
Lindsay Lohan has admitted to being obsessed with Marilyn. She’s often caught dressed and photographed as the icon.
This is a stunning modern portrayal of Monroe flawlessly reproduced by Charlize Theron.
Channing Tatum as Marilyn Monroe. Enough said.
(Dedicated to Marilyn’s #1 fan: Harout)