Rare Marilyn Monroe Photo Without Makeup Shows What’s Beyond Her Sexed-Up Image


A rare photo of Marilyn Monroe without makeup was posted to Reddit this weekend! I don’t know where the photo originally came from, but it’s a gorgeous image of one of the most famous women who ever lived.

While I have mixed feelings about the whole “OMG a celebrity without makeup is newsworthy!” thing that apparently applies to dead celebrities just as much as living ones (See yesterday’s Us story about Jessica Simpson, for example) I have to say I love this picture (which has not been dated) so so much. It’s so full of life and joie de vivre! How amazingly cute and charming is this photograph? How adorable (and yes, beautiful!) does Marilyn look, drippy chin, spiky eyebrows and all?

I’ve always had a soft spot for Marilyn. Not necessarily because of her va-va-voomy image, but because of what I know about her personally. (Side note: If you can read an account of her love story with Joe DiMaggio and not be incredibly moved, you’re basically Voldemort, just sayin’.) But seeing Marilyn the way she is in this photo is markedly different than the sexualized images of her that are present in our cultural imagination, like the billow-y white dress flying up on the streets of New York in The Seven Year Itch or the sexy “Last Sitting” photographs.

We, the public, constantly see Marilyn as the very height of sexiness, but yet that view is always tempered with our knowledge that her story doesn’t have a happy ending. She is always beautiful, but always tragic. In this photo, we just see her. No suicide or overdose, no costumes, no jewels, no lipstick, no furs, no notorious husband on her arm, no trappings of fame: Just a woman, laughing, by a swimming pool. We see her joy and exuberance, her sense of fun. It’s refreshing and it’s gorgeous and it’s Marilyn Monroe like we so rarely get to see her, this woman who looms so large in celebrity culture. Here she is unadorned, on her own.

[h/t: Huffington Post Canada]

Photo: Reddit user _Helena

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    • Lindsey Conklin

      i really love this picture!

    • CrazyLogic

      Honestly think this is one of the best ones of her I’ve seen. That’s an actual happy smile and not a fake model one, and she’s even prettier than when she’s all dolled up.

      • forby

        you must be joking. there is no way she looks better.

    • Jackie

      This picture was taken by Milton Greene around 1956. They were at Richard Rodgers house. Here is one of them in the pool together (presumably taken by Amy, his wife).

    • Julia Sonenshein

      God she’s adorable.

    • elle

      She was just such an incredible natural beauty. Although I have always thought she looks better with her blonde hair, rather than her natural brunette. But even with her brunette hair she was insanely beautiful. And PS-I totally want a retro bikini top like that!

    • http://www.LisasForeverWickless.com/ Lisa Musulman

      Love it!

    • HB

      I love this photo– she embodies so much happiness. And she looks like a person. In a lot of the pictures I’ve seen, her image has been used so often, that I almost just see the features that make up “Marilyn Monroe,” rather than seeing Marilyn, the woman.

      Great piece. I love your thoughts on her and this picture.

    • forby

      All this proves is how much MAKE UP make the women. She looks nothing like the movie star she portrays and since she is only known for that, and sleeping around with powerful men. I don;t see how she is considered a role model.

    • j f holeinhead

      She was a flatbacking whore druggie that slept with married men. What a fkn skeevy Kunt!!!