From Kennedy to Kardashian, there are actually only a few letters. Two families fascinating America — if not the world —, with every single one of their actions scrutinized. Each in their own way, they have established themselves as true clans, whose simple membership allows any member to enjoy unequalled influence, possess more followers than there are inhabitants in France, and claim half a million dollars for a single Instagram post.
Fifty years later, Joseph and Bobby leave their places to Kendall and Kylie, while their older sister invites herself to the White House to talk about the prison system. Yet, apart from her political commitment, it is difficult not to make any comparison between Kim and Marilyn Monroe. Could we even go so far as to say that the most famous of the Kardashians is the millennial version of the platinum blond diva? What if, for once, Kanye was right when he already made this assumption in 2013...?
A new beauty cannon
90-60-90. This is not the combination of a safe, but the “perfect” measurements to become a model. Far from being arbitrarily set, this ideal is directly inherited from the proportions of Marilyn Monroe’s body, still serving as references for top models today.
The actress’ inprint doesn’t stop there. In her lifetime, every look is copied. Women burn their scalps with bleaching products, then paint their lips bright red. They wear Chanel No. 5 to share the smell of their idol, taste her dream.
In the iPhone age, the narrow waist turns into an XXL hourglass figure. Naked selfies manage to reshape beauty canons, we want boobs and butt. Those who swore only by jeans now give in to the sweatshirt-leggings-thigh-high-boots look. Blond is replaced by stiff and black lengths, the reign of the diaphanous skin ends in favour of a golden complexion. Drop the carmine mouth, long live the contouring. If you still doubt the Kardashian effect, simply take the subway…
At this point, you might think the comparison ends here. That there is a notorious difference between shooting in Hollywood, and shooting a sex tape…
However, Monroe is known for her curves long before she is for her acting. Far from Los Angeles and its film studios, she poses as a pin-up, gets nicknamed the Mmmm girl. Erotic photographers open their arms to her when directors do not yet do so. As for her filmography, from Some like it hot to Gentlemen prefer blondes, it remains based on her plastic.
The blonde and the brunette owe their fame to the expression of their sexuality, which they exploit until they gain the status of sex symbol first, that of icon then. They inspire a cult, are simply called by their first name. Each one shapes the aesthetics of its time, a muse for artists as well as the masses, who influences and inspires.
After her death, there is thus a good chance that we will see auction sales dedicated to Kim K. appearing at Christie’s… as well as Walmart pillows bearing her effigy. •