In an interview for Cosmopolitan, TV presenter Danica Kennedy looks back on her stint as a Marilyn lookalike at Universal Studios.
“For wardrobe, all of the Marilyn impersonators always wore that classic white dress from The Seven Year Itch. That includes pantyhose, Spanx shorts for when the fan blew up our skirts, and this corset bustier that was totally crazy … I would step on a platform and a fan would blow my skirt up. Then I’d have to say, ‘Oops!’
When you play somebody for two years, sometimes their characteristics can blur into your personal life accidentally. If I’m out and drinking champagne, which was Marilyn’s favorite, I’ll accidentally slip into using my sexy baby voice. It’s so awkward, especially since I’m not trying to be Marilyn.
I don’t think playing Marilyn has affected my psyche, but that’s probably because I never took playing the character too seriously. But when people want to debate with me about how she died or what she was like, I find myself standing up for her … We have all been through tough times, and her story is so tragic yet relatable.”
- Photo by Emily Berl
Over at Feature Shoot, an interesting series of portraits by Emily Berl, documenting several Marilyn lookalikes in her hometown of Los Angeles – including Holly Beavon, Jami Deadly, Gailynn Addis and Monica Shahri.
“My main criteria for photographing these people is that Marilyn has to be a large part of their lives, either as a profession or something they personally draw inspiration from. I’m less concerned about how much they look like Marilyn and more concerned about their motivations for becoming her. The women I have met through this project want to portray the real Marilyn, not the overly sexualized, overly simplified version of her.” —Emily Berl
If you’re finding it hard to keep track of all the celebrity Monroe impersonations, check out this handy graph from StyleCaster.
Recovering bottle blonde Beth Cleavy writes thoughtfully about the ongoing trend for MM impersonations – by celebrities like Lindsay Lohan, and professional lookalikes.
“The more you look like Marilyn, the more you become what she so wanted to escape. She didn’t want to be the blonde, red-lipped, wiggle-walking object. She wanted to be an artist, a dedicated performer who should not be just an image. She was human.
I adore all the Marilyn impersonators, I think they have Norma Jean’s ‘character’ to a tee. Wiggle, Purr, Sigh, Open mouthed smile, Quiver lips, It all works in a wonderfully sexual and comical way.I was even offered to do Monroe impersonating but decided it was not for me. So as much as I love impressions, I still think they resemble a seaside caricature of what the lady was all about.”