Hollywood make overs

Throughout the years I had had experienced some drastic make overs! From ugly duckling with braces and an Afghan windhound hairstyle in primary school, to a gothic with black hair and spikes around her neck in high school, to a grey mouse that felt the need to dissapear and desperately wanted to be like anybody else, to a woman that advocates glamour every single day and who created a look she perfected throughout the years and which made her feel like coming home from a long journey in search for her identity. You know; the Old hollywood glamour look (that look that is somewhat of an obsession for me)!

This brings me to my next topic! In ye olden days where glamour dominated after the pre-code Hollywood movie world went in, it wasn't uncommon that an actress on command of the studio executives had to undergo a drastic make over. Rita Cansino -who is better known as Rita Hayworth- might be the best example of that. Or what about Norma Jeane Mortensen who transformed into the sultry Marilyn Monroe?

I thought it would be fun to compare the Hollywood makeovers some stars had to undergo!

Rita Hayworth, the red-headed goddess adored by many, especially in her role as Gilda, was born with the much less American-sounding name Margarita Carmen Cansino. When 16 year old Rita signed a contract with Fox studios she tried a few roles but never got her big break. Fox studios decided not to renew her option. When Columbia pictures came along, Rita was bluntly told that she wasn't succesful due to her being too Spanish-y. Rita Cansino agreed to have a make over. This included: painful hairline electrolysis (she had a low hairline which pegged her as a Latina), skin lightning, a different haircolor (her hair was dyed auburn) and a different name. Rita Cansino became Rita Hayworth.

Marilyn Monroe born as Norma Jeane Mortensen is for many the embodiment of sex. Marilyn was a true artist with make up and lightning and knew how she looked best. But yet, even Marilyn had gone through a makeover for guaranteed succes in films. Marilyn had rhinoplasty, a chin implant, a different haircolor and a different name. Also her hairline was lowered. Though it has to be said: makeup and age were the biggest makeovers that made Marilyn.

Carole Lombard born Jane Alice Peters was signed by Fox studios in 1925 after an executive spotted her at a ballroom dancing exhibition. Carole fell victim in a car crash in 1926 which required surgery to her face and the unfortunate happened; the studio dropped her after only a few films. Later on she was signed by Paramount pictures but had to have a makeover. Her dark brown hair was cut short and dyed a light blonde. Her naturally thick eyebrows were tweezed into a thin elongated line. Carole also used makeup to cover the scar on her face and to correct her crooked nose.

Jean Harlow was born Harlean Harlow Carpenter and is the precursor of platinum blonde hair. Some say that bleaching her hair may have helped kill the young star who died at the age of 26 due to kidney failure in 1937. Jean Harlow always maintained that her platinum blonde hair was natural. But there are photos of Jean where it's certain that her blonde hair is a few shades darker. According to Jean's hairstylist, Jean's hair was dyed every week with peroxide, ammonia and household bleach, and eventually her hair started falling out. In addition to the change of haircolor, Jean's thick eyebrows were tweezed thin with exaggerated height. Usually she shaved off her eyebrows and drew them on.


  1. What a fun post, it is amazing what women will do for glamor! We all want to look our best I guess. It is interestin the amount of flack people get for Photoshop touch ups, but this is not a new phenomena it just has a modern technological twist!

  2. This is such a wonderful "before and after" post. One thinks of the two faces, so to speak, of MM, but isn't as apt to think - or to have even seen - the transformations that many other leading starlets of the day made as well.

    ♥ Jessica

  3. Great post, I loved seeing the before and after and I actually think these lovely ladies were very beautiful before their transformations.

    The Fictionista

  4. This post made me introspective for some days. I didn't know that so many beautiful women made so many transformations to achieve absolute perfection on those days. It made me think if some of them suffered because of that. But they still are an inspiration now as it was back then. Beautiful shining stars that live forever!

    Miss Beta


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