…is not so secret and many tried to copy/imitate it. The most recent Marilyn impersonator, Lindsay Lohan, with her appearance as Marilyn in New York Magazine’s recreation of “The Last Sitting” literally crushed
nymag.com’s servers (NOTE: site contains nude pictures of Lindsay Lohan). But did she really manage to “be” Marilyn?
Lindsay didn’t have an easy job: she had to pose nude and to look as stunning as Marilyn. Luckily she had some good support from stylists Elizabeth Stewart and George Kotsiopoulos/Margaret Maldonado Agency; Andy Lecompte from Sunsilk/Solo Artists; and the makeup artist Paul Starr from Chanel/Magnet LA.
The pictures were shot by Bert Stern himself and the results are artistically fair. Lindsay managed to “copycat” Marilyn’s body postures. What she failed to show is Marilyn’s sweetness and her natural sensuality…
Marilyn inspired generations of actresses and so many women still try to emulate her, some by adopting a similar fashion style, hair style or make-up and others by trying to “act” like her. The “acting” is not easy. Imitating the body language of a diva is not something for the “untrained” especially because the diva we are talking about was using a “natural” body language. What Lindsay didn’t have is a good body language trainer – and that shows. Don’t get it wrong: Lindsay is a decent actress, but she remains the “chick next door” even in her Marilyn wannabe posture.
Sensual and Natural…
Clark Gable once said:
“Everything Marilyn does is different from any other woman, strange and exciting, from the way she talks to the way she uses that magnificent torso.”
– And magnificent she was.
She started her career as a model for The Blue Book modeling agency and she soon became one of the agency’s most successful models.
She deserved her success: unlike the models of today who are just happy to walk gracefully on the catwalk, Norma Jeane researched the work of Jean Harlow and Lana Turner. These were her “role models”, the women who inspired her brilliant ascension.
Marilyn consciously made a sensual spectacle out of each of her apparitions. She offered the ultimate body language spectacle each time; she was able to impersonate everything her audience was looking for: the sweet, naive provincial girl, the girl next door, a “sex kitten”, a vulnerable or a refined young woman. She was embodying the ideal woman of her time: she was everything a woman should be, and never “the other woman.”
No other actress was ever able to embody her refined movements, no other woman ever moved with such grace on the screen. All her gestures flow naturally, from a simple wave of the hand, to a turn of the torso. She swivels with grace, her facial expressions are inimitable: the way she moistures her lips to seduce a millionaire, the way her eyebrows raise in wonder and expectation, the way her eyes shine at the sight of a diamond, the way she smiles with a smile that hides a thousand invitations… all these are the secret ingredients that made a woman into the most loved female pop icon of the century.
The Most Sensual Body Language Moves
Body language has been object of study long time before modern authors like Alan Pease made it a best seller topic. The Roman orators themselves used specific gestures (defined as “manual rhetoric”) to emphasize their public speeches. Body language was also a clear differentiator between casts and social classes.
The courtesans of the past walked swaying their hips from side to side gracefully (the courtesans today are far more obvious).
When you watch a movie featuring Marilyn Monroe you’ll easily recognize the luscious yet graceful sway of a royal courtesan. This is probably one of the most obvious body language traits displayed by the diva. Somehow, all actresses who tried to imitate Marilyn failed to notice the particularities of her walking. These particularities show even in static pictures. A sway accentuates the natural curve of the hips.
Many women pose in this posture without actually being aware that they actually transmit a sign of “openness” and “interest.”
Naturally, women want to be noticed and admired. The models on the catwalk walk with an exaggerated sway for this very reason. Marilyn was subtle. Her movements were generally fine, slight and delicate. What was not so subtle was her “bedroom gaze” – the true “Marilyn signature” – inimitable.
This gaze is omnipresent… even in the illustration above you can see how Marilyn tilted up her head and looked down on her audience. Her eyelids are slightly lowered, eyes relaxed, yet the eyebrows are raised in an inquisitory pose. Her lips are slightly parted and moist. Many body language “experts” describe this pose as indicating “sexual submission.” I describe it as an invitation and availability.
There’s no submission in Marilyn’s attitude, but an expression of power and awareness: remember the head tilted up and the gaze that “looks down.”
When the gaze “looks up”… well, that’s submissiveness. Marilyn was actually using both types of gaze, but the “submissive” style only when she expected a kiss or when she laid in bed like expecting a lover (obviously!)…
In Lindsay’s pictorial all these details are missing. As pretty as she is, Lindsay cannot even come close to Marilyn’s gaze, and the position of her hips is far from being graceful and sensual. Here we are not dealing with natural sex appeal, but with an extremely talented photographer.
Obvious as it is, the body language of Marilyn Monroe is probably more suitable for an in-depth study than for amateurish imitation. While the artistic value of Lindsay’s pictures is non-debatable, comparing her with Marilyn Monroe (even in a pictorial) is seriously overreaching.