Bettie Page passed away yesterday.
Bettie was a 1950’s pin-up girl and icon to the rockabilly community, all the cats and kittens. To me, she was everything a gal was supposed to be. Larger than life (yet standing just 5’5), curvy but with a sharp-edged hourglass figure; I envied how the crease of her ribs cut into a deceptively tiny waist. She was creamy white with jet black hair, heavy bangs cut above eyebrows and curled tight like a cigar; a look I could never pull off, not with my round face. She wore red lipstick and black platform pumps.
Along with glamour photography, she did fetish, bondage and nude, some of it shocking even now, back in the days of petticoats and good girls keeping it under wraps until marriage. She showed it all, right down to full-on, curly doodle; funny how a woman in her natural state looks so unnatural now.
Out of her extensive portfolio, her image captured in black-and-white short movies, for all the bikinis and the nakedness, Bettie never looked sexier than she did in a candid I found, red lips smiling, bra peeking from underneath a red-and-white polka dotted blouse blown by unseen wind, movement I imagine coming off a lake or boat. It mirrors perfectly in Kodachrome how I see (and want to see) myself as a woman; alluring and beautiful and colorful and lovely and warm.
Bettie had a bit of trouble in the head, spent time “away” and had a violent streak. She went after not one, but two people who'd done her wrong, wielding a butter knife as a weapon. True kitten with a whip.
She eventually ran from debauchery, after a failed marriage sent her by happenstance into a church and into God. And although she denounced a good deal of her past work, said she had regrets, she didn’t regret the money. She did, however, refuse to be photographed, saying she wanted fans to remember her as she was then, full of life. I will.
Rest in peace, Bettie.