They say people change. As you grow, you evolve. The process is natural at first when you’re a child. You grow some hair, gain some weight, and start to develop the features that will help define who you are when people look at you. Then, sometime along the painful road to adulthood, you stumble across mom’s makeup drawer and your world changes forever. Suddenly, you can ruddy up those cheeks and hide those unfortunate dark circles. If you’re having a particularly bad day with acne, there’s finally a solution that doesn’t involve drawing the blinds and hiding indoors. Discovering makeup may change your life forever, but even a complete makeover will never compete with the beauty transformation of Marilyn Monroe. This Hollywood starlet used cosmetics to change her entire identity. If you love applying a detailed look every day, let this legendary tale be for you.
To discuss any beauty transformation properly, you have to go back to where it all started. Little Monroe was born in Los Angeles with light brown hair and chubby cheeks. She spent her childhood in foster homes as Norma Jeane Mortensen, a far cry from the girl who would become America’s Bombshell.
As a teenager in the 1940s, Marilyn had naturally curly reddish-brown hair and still went by the name Norma Jeane. She was also experiencing the first bout of attention from neighborhood boys. Perhaps this was what lit her passion for fame and a Hollywood career. As we all know, something got her ambition fired up. How else would she have ended up a Hollywood blonde?
in her teens, Norma Jeane decided to settle down with one of those persistent boys. At the age of 16, she married James Dougherty and became a housewife. A few years later her husband went off the war and Monroe grew out her curls working in a factory and looking for modeling work.
It was modeling that introduced Norma Jeane to the wonders of beauty transformations and Hollywood. A newbie to the entertainment industry, she started out as a student under Emmeline Snivey, owner of a small modeling agency. Her career moved forward modestly until Snivey finally convinced her blonde would sell. After that, she was an instant star.
Renamed and reborn as a sexy blonde, Marilyn set off for Hollywood as a new and improved version of herself. Early on she kept the curls long for a more casual look. It was Snivey again who finally convinced her to part with the Norma Jeane hairstyle and trim her tresses short. The logic was to lengthen her unusually round face. Like the blonde dye idea, a trim worked perfectly.
It’s no surprise this Marilyn look is from the 1950s. It embodies the ideal woman of that decade, with rosy red lips and sophisticated earrings. There’s also a conventional safety to the curls, making Monroe more of a housewife than a siren. Naturally, you have to win a following before you can start crossing lines.
With her locks in a voluminous pageboy, this Marilyn style from 1952 shows an actress in transition. Tiny details that would define the iconic Monroe – slightly arched eyebrows and that single beauty spot – are beginning to feel natural. Before Jackie Kennedy or the mod 60s were a thing, Marilyn was toying with their defining looks. She wasn’t just a bombshell, she was an innovator.
Finally, after years of toying with details and dyes, the Hollywood studios and Norma Jeane came up with the woman we now applaud as Marilyn Monroe. It’s those pursed lips, the melancholic eyes, the wavy comb-over, and the slightly chaotic curls. One person could never make such a legend on their own. Monroe propitiated the character perfectly, but it took a team of professionals to come up with the world’s most iconic actress.
Beauty transformations are very powerful. They can conceal your pimples or transform your entire identity. It all depends on how far you’re willing to go and who’s working behind the scenes. Just ask Norma.
— Julie Grossman