Bye Bye Bettie
I can't really let the passing of Bettie Page go unmarked. I was very lucky to have met her a few years ago. She didn't go out in public often and only let her photograph be taken once in 50 years after she retired. She was giving an online interview at the online cityguide I worked at. I had volunteered to act as a typist to capture her responses to people's questions. Of course that interview is long gone from the site because no one has preserved their editorial content (short-sighted dot coms!) but I enjoyed myself so much with her.
She was frank to a point of making me giggle and earthy but still very lady-like. She was gorgeous. That black hair was now silver but it was the same style and looked fantastic. I could have hung out and gabbed with her for hours. She was so cool. She complained about the unauthorized biographies written about her and she was such an honest person I can't believe she would hide anything from anyone. So if you want to read a biography, read hers.
Folks talk a lot about her breaking barriers and starting the sexual revolution. But the truth is, she didn't start out wanting to take those photos. Her story really illustrates the lack of protection in the workplace and especially little to no protection for working women. She would be hired by a photographer for a regular modeling shoot and then would be required to pose for the racier photos or she wouldn't get paid for the job at all.
At some point she started to take control of that part of her career and it speaks to her creativity and talent that she directed many of the photos and designed and made her costumes.
This is her official site and there is a really nice obit that proves how interesting and innovative she was.
A very cool lady and I really enjoyed meeting her. I don't say that often about famous people I've met (I think I've only said it about James Garner, Alan Alda, Danny DeVito, and Elizabeth Ashley).