Had she still been alive, Marilyn would have celebrated her 95th birthday today. It’s mind blowing to think she is the same age as the Queen! I can only imagine just how beautifully she would have aged.
Birthday’s are funny. A celebration which is looked upon with so much youthful excitement, yet we dread the older we become. (Although I am a firm believer that age is just a number. I still feel like I just turned 18.)
To the woman, who was truly still a girl, looking for a secure home and family. An artist of remarkable talent, who should have been able to show more than her dumb blonde. A human who craved what we all seek; genuine love.
I believe people are drawn to Marilyn for many reasons that are beyond her obvious beauty. Of course her style is something I admire, but the success she made for herself from a very jarred start to life is second to none. Regardless of obstacles in her way, she never gave up on love, a family or being a star. It breaks my heart that she never got the real medical and emotional support she needed.
Today’s moment was a rather special project. I knew I wanted to make her Birthday post as epic as possible, and then everything clicked into place.
I have been following The Ensemblist for a while, and the ‘Reimagined Marquee’ series always halted my scrolling. Rebecca Michelson and Tiffany Holt do a superb job of photographing actors, in a role they love, outside the theater that the specific show once called home. I took a gamble and reached out to Rebecca. We had a shoot date booked within 48 hours.
To tie in my love for MM and Broadway, It was a no brainer what show would be in the inspiration for this… Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is making a return to the moments.
If asked, the pink dress and ‘Diamonds are a girls best friend’ is usually the first association with GPB. And that’s exactly what we set out to create.
After searching for a dress, and a routine trip to the garment district, I had made the iconic bow and belt to go with the strapless fuchsia gown. With the help of a costume extraordinaire, Elizabeth, I had accessories galore and even a spare dress!
With New York still missing it’s heart, being in Times Square at 9am very strangely odd! The usual hustle and bustle absent, but the bright lights still shining, awaiting the audience to return. We chose the Lyceum Theatre because it was the only one that we could shoot at. The original Broadway run, starring the legend Carol Channing, opened at the Ziegfeld Theatre in 1949, which unfortunately is no longer standing. The revised Lorelei opened at the Palace Theatre in 1974, which is currently under construction. So we had to go with the Goodspeed Opera revival which transferred to the Lyceum in 1995.
Okay first, please appreciate just how fantastic both women who created this are?!?! The digital art that Tiffany added to the Marquee makes me giddy with happiness; (Let’s ignore the fact that my roots are growing out… we all know that 90% of blondes aren’t natural.) Rebecca only pumped my enthusiasm further and we had such a blast capturing. It seemed to make numerous by-passers and truck drivers morning’s too!
I didn’t get to see the Encores production of GPB but I’ve watched the clips of Megan Hilty kill it endless times. However I think it’s time for another revival… or regional tour. I can’t express how much I would love to jump into this character. The costumes, songs, fun…. I mean?!
Marilyn, thank you for being a continued inspiration to me, and millions. You continue to teach me about owning your femininity, that there’s more to life than just a pretty face, and to never underestimate a blonde. Even after all this time, you are still the star you were destined to be.
Happy Birthday Norma Jean.
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