Channeling Marilyn

Marilyn Monroe isn’t a mere mortal movie star anymore. She is considered an icon and a goddess, and for good reason. She had unforgettable allure, sexiness, passion, and inimitable style. No one can ever be quite like her, and we are blessed to have the legacy she left behind after her death in August of 1962.

She had many heartbreaks in her life, but that is not what we mostly remember about her. We remember her ability to let loose her sensuality and sexuality in her own unique style.

I started doing Marilyn Monroe singing telegrams back in 2000. I didn’t know it at the time, but those Marilyn Monroe singing telegrams would have a profound impact on my work as a burlesque dancer. Before I did my first one, I didn’t think I could really do it right. After all, I didn’t look anything like Marilyn Monroe. But I needed the money, so I jumped in with both feet. First, I got the hang of doing the Marilyn Monroe makeup. That was loads of fun. I bought a wig and her “Seven Year Itch” dress at a costume store. I learned a lot of the songs she performed in her movies, and I was able to master her voice and mannerisms. To my surprise, I actually pulled off my very first Marilyn Monroe singing telegram successfully. Marilyn had such a definitive style that she is recognized universally. The experience of doing those telegrams was so empowering that it inspired me to learn everything I could about her. I saw all her films that air periodically on Turner Classic Movies, and I read several of her biographies.

The thing about Marilyn that had the greatest influence on me had nothing to do with the impressive volume of her work or her illustrious husbands. It was her insistence on being her own person. She was her own creation. She didn’t try to fit into someone else’s mold or be what someone else thought she should be. Instead, Marilyn went out and created her own mold. I think all women should channel a little bit of Marilyn.

Be inspired to be who you are with a vengeance. Add a little of Marilyn’s style to your own if you can. Buy a bottle of her favorite champagne—Dom Pérignon. Wear her favorite perfume—Chanel No. 5. Or do what I do—carry around a book of great, insightful Marilyn Monroe quotations in your purse. Still, it’s most important that you develop your own style.

Marilyn loved being feminine and sensual in all that she did. It’s with that feeling that I proudly wear a rhinestone necklace to ballet class. I love to get dressed up just for the hell of it—even when I’m just going down the street to the drugstore. Celebrate everything that is gloriously feminine and sexy. I am proud to be a burlesque dancer. It is who I am. I don’t care if some people think it’s absurd. After all it was Marilyn Monroe who said, “Imperfection is beauty. Madness is genius. And it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” Thanks Marilyn.

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