The women of the original silver screen knew how to do beauty. They were the forerunners for women of their generation, shaping trends and inspiring millions. So different from a day and age when anyone can create their own 15 minutes of fame, stars of the golden age really did have to have and maintain an “it” quality, a leadership ability… a mysterious inner beauty of some kind that could draw in almost anyone.
Rita Hayworth (originally Margarita Carmen Cansino) tops my list of favorite “it” girls from the golden age of the silver screen. She was super smart, fun, easy-going, soulful and overcame ethnic barriers to become one of the first Latina major-film stars. She was the girl-next-door who had a secret. Incredibly sensual without every being tasteless and never giving too much away, Rita’s characters had an air of mystery about them, but they always knew how to have fun. Here she is below in GILDA, her most famous film and character that broke massive barriers for women at the time.
If you connect with being a fun, swell pal, a soulful girl and you seem to inexplicably seduce every man you meet without even trying… Rita may be your best inspiration!
Grace Kelly is hard to take your eyes off. You’d be hard pressed to find anyone with more class than Grace Kelly… well, maybe Audrey Hepburn 🙂 Grace was as close to American Royalty as the 1950s saw, and she did become a real Princess later in her life when she married the Prince of Monaco. Grace was known for her elegance and personal serenity, as well as her strong work ethic. She was a hard worker, considerate of her co-workers, timely and prepared. And, of course, she was a fashion icon.
If you think you just read a description of yourself, here, Grace Kelly is your girl.
ANNA MAY WONG
Anna May Wong was a woman with a resolve even as a young child that made her the first Chinese American film star. In a period of overt racism, she helped “humanize” the Asian culture through her presence, brilliant performances, and literary critique of hollywood steryotypes of her culture. People listened.
If you are a curious mix of exotic and “just-a-regular-girl”, if you find your creativity in style and you maintain your dignity even while fighting an uphill battle, Anna May Wong will inspire you!
Natalie was a firecracker. She was feisty and brazen and had an effervescence that was contagious. Her ability to be innocent & doe-eyed in one instant, then wild and troubled in the next is one of the many reasons she was so captivating on screen, and something that helped make her one of the most versatile actresses of her time. She could do anything from Comedy to Drama to Musicals to Noir. If you watch West Side Story, then Sex and the Single Girl followed by Splendor in the Grass, you’ll really understand the breadth of her talent.
If you feel firey and misunderstood with a touch of romance and optimism, Natalie Wood will be good inspiration for you.
Hazel was a real hero in Hollywood. Extraordinarily talented and hard-working, she was also committed to the progression of civil rights in Hollywood and was successful in a great deal of her endeavors, including being the first black woman to have her own television series. She commanded the respect of studios and film exectutives and had the power of control over final cuts of her performances in film, control over her wardrobe and basically anything where there was a chance she could be stereotyped. Even when Hazel was Blacklisted with the Truman Doctrine, she was brave and clear about her position. Hazel was known as a strong, clasy woman, kind and cheerful and always willing to fight for the underdog.
If you love fashion & style, are a good friend with strong self-discipline and a willingness to put yourself on the line to stand up for what is right, Hazel Scott is a great inspiration for you.
Lauren Bacall was a tour du force! She, alongside women like Katherine Hepburn, was a total, no-nonsense kind of woman. You get the feeling she was never a girl– just always all woman. Bacall was feircely intelligent. She understood the limits of her time and culture (especially for women) but Lauren knew how to work out her origninality within those limits, while still pushing the envelope every chance she got.
Are you sassy and brave with a dry wit? Does your style reflect an irreverence for conventions while still maintaining an impeccable class? Do you basically not give a rats ass what anyone thinks of you, yet recognize your own leadership qualities and strive to treat others with respect? Look no further for your silver screen inspiration than Lauren Bacall.
For more information on any of these spectacular women, TCM is a great resource! So get inspiration-boarding! Any of these women would be lucky to inspire YOU! xx