Marilyn’s hourglass figure is a distinctive part of her, along with the bleach blonde hair and breathy tones. Shortly into her career lifting weights for “the muscles I wish to keep firm” became part of her morning routine.

If you know me, exercise is a distinctive part of my life. It’s the chance for my brain to slow down, and my mind to reconnect with my body and breath. I wouldn’t change my fast-paced city life, but the time to exercise allows a moment of calm (sweaty calm albeit.)

Although having the body of a Greek goddess would be fantastic, I don’t train with this as the end result. More so how do I feel? Does my body feel strong? Powerful? Or in need of a rest? And trust me, I struggle with gym guilt!!

My schedule has been slightly off over the past few months; hence my silence here (sorry!) BUT I’m starting to find my regular flow, Planet Fitness in Maine are starting to recognize this Brit and I’m ready with this weeks moment.

Philippe Halsman was sent to photograph a fresh faced Marilyn for Life Magazine and captured this series of images back in 1952.

“I drove to the outskirts of Los Angeles where Marilyn lived in a cheap two-room apartment. What impressed me in its shabby living room was the obvious striving for self-improvement. I saw a photograph of Eleanora Duse and a multitude of books that I did not expect to find there, like the works of Dostoyevsky, of Freud, the History of Fabian Socialism, etc. On the floor were two dumbbells.

I took hundreds of pictures. Finally I asked her to stand in the corner of the room. I was facing her with my camera, the LIFE reporter and my assistant at my sides. Marilyn was cornered and she flirted with all three of us. And such was her talent that each one of us felt that if only the other two would leave, something incredible would happen. Her sex-appeal was not a put-on– it was her weapon and her defense.” –Philippe Halsman

Marilyn had subsequently told reporters she would always begin her morning with dumbbells and 15 easy chest presses. She put together a short circuit which would keep certain muscles firm. Personally, I still haven’t quite fallen in love with working out as soon as I’m awake; a 10/11am iron pump is always my favorite.

With access to a sewing machine, all the trimmings and a spare hair towel, my DIY terry cloth bikini top was ready! And the dressing room at our theater was equip with lockers, a bench, and props that could work as a bar.

So post rehearsal and a boho beautiful yoga session, the curls were set and the moment was ready to capture.

I can’t lie, I still feel self conscious posting these; I’m surrounded (on and offline) by women who thirst trap their way through the day and It does make me criticize every tiny detail about my body. Kudos to the confidence; most days I’m faking it and silently judging every move I make. The logical side of my brain knows the pressure that media (especially social media) puts on women, AND MEN, to have a certain physique to be hot, which therefore defines their worth is ridiculous; but we are all human and I must admit I still regularly fall into the trap.

But here I am, imperfections and all. I am so thankful my body has kept me going all these years; and continues to protect me throughout the pandemic (also thank you science for the magic of vaccinations!) It’s been comforting seeing others talk about how their physical beings have changed over the pandemic. And why wouldn’t they?! Our lives have been flipped upside down, patterns have changed and mass emotional/bored eating has taken place. Like so many, I’m itching to get back to our new normal, and this summer is giving me a taste of that. Performing, exploring and THE GYM!

I urge anyone who has a dip in the day to get your blood pumping. You don’t need a gym membership to exercise; sometimes just playing your favorite songs and moving your body will release those sublime endorphins!

See you next week!

S

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