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The Fabulous Miss Bettie Page

Aug 18, 2007
Before there were supermodels like Heidi Klum, Tyra Banks and Naomi Campbell, there was Bettie Page. She is known as the model of the century and Playboy magazine has called her "the Queen of the pin-ups." Bettie Page has become a legend in her own time, becoming an icon to many.

Early Beginnings

Bettie was the second child born to Edna Mae Pirtle and Walter Roy Page of their six children, on April 22nd, 1923 in Nashville, Tennessee. Her family was poor and they moved around looking for financial stability. Bettie was caring for her younger brothers and sisters and helping her mother with the household chores at a young age. It wasn't long before problems in her parents marriage led to a divorce and Bettie's mom Edna had to work doing laundry at night and worked as a hair stylist during the day. Bettie was just ten years old when her mother put her two sisters and Bettie into an orphanage so she could save money while she worked.

Bettie and her sisters spent many hours trying to imitate the latest hairdos and makeup styles that their favorite stars wore once they became teenagers. In high school, Bettie led her class in academics and was coeditor of the yearbook and school newspaper, a program director for the Dramatics Club, as well as the secretary treasurer of the Student Council and was voted the most likely to succeed. She learned to sew and cook at the local community center which served her well later on when she made her own costumes and bikinis.

Bettie attended Peabody College when she won a scholarship for $100. It there that she studied education while she nursed her dreams of becoming an actress. She married her sweetheart of 2 years, Billy Neal. When Bettie finished college she was on her way to join her husband in San Francisco, and it was here she began modeling fur coats for clients of a local furrier. Betty traveled extensively and in November of 1947, she finally divorced Billy and relocated to New York.

Bettie was walking along the Coney Island shoreline when she met a police officer named Jerry Tibbs who was an avid photographer as well. Bettie's life was going to change forever after Jerry took Bettie's pictures and put her first portfolio together. Bettie's career was off and when her pictures began appearing in Robert Harrison's publications that she became a pin up queen without rivals. She won "Miss Pinup Girl of the World" in 1955 and she was featured in Playboy magazine as the January 1955 centerfold. Another of her titles became "Girl with the perfect figure," as her photos appeared everywhere, on playing cards to record albums.

Bettie ended her modeling career at its peak in 1957, when she left New York for Florida. She married twice more and both of those marriages would end in divorce. She dropped out of sight and because she was never one for publicity or interviews, speculation across the country ran rampant. Her photographs were provocative during a time when America had still not lost its innocence. They even were a topic of discussion before a United States Senate Committee probe. When the truth was finally revealed, it was found that Bettie had given her life over to Jesus Christ and was totally unaware of her impact upon the sexuality of the American public and the industry that arose around the image of her beautiful face and figure which is still going on even today, fifty years later.
About the Author
James Brown writes about ADASA.com discount codes, LabelSpree deals and Macy's discounts
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