What Age Did Marilyn Monroe Start Modelling: Expert Tell You

Marilyn Monroe started modeling at a young age, and her breakthrough in the industry propelled her to fame, leaving a lasting impact on fashion and culture. [summary-of-content]

Marilyn Monroe’s Early Life and Aspirations

Born Norma Jeane Mortenson in 1926, Marilyn Monroe aspired to be an actress or model from a young age. She competed in her first beauty pageant at age 16 and soon after, started posing for local photographers as a part time model to earn extra income. Marilyn coveted an independent career from a young age and aimed to become artistically fulfilled and financially secure through her work as a performer.
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marylin monroe, magazine cover, black and brown book on brown wooden table
Photo by Jeet Dhanoa / Unsplash

Rising to Fame: Marilyn Monroe’s Modeling Journey

Marilyn Monroe’s real modeling career took off after she signed with the Blue Book Agency in 1945 at age 19. She modeled for catalogs, magazines and commercials in the years following. She signed with 20th Century Fox as an actress in 1952 but also continued to model, posing for famous photographers like Andre de Dienes.

Some of the companies and organizations Marilyn Monroe modeled for:

  • Knox Hat Company
  • Emmeline Frocks
  • Wallach’s Department Store
  • Velvety Line Cosmetics
  • Blue Book Modeling Agency
  • 20th Century Fox

Some of the magazines and catalogs Marilyn Monroe appeared in:

  • Border to Border Magazine
  • Smart Group Catalog
  • Blue Bird Hat Company Catalog
  • Elle Magazine
  • Life Magazine
  • Vogue Magazine

Her mainstream breakthrough came with her 1949 nude calendar shoot which caused an uproar but also made Marilyn a household name and launched her career into the stratosphere.

marylin monroe, magazine cover, the complete first season dvd
Photo by Mat Napo / Unsplash

The Turning Point: Marilyn Monroe’s Breakthrough in Modelling

Marilyn Monroe’s 1949 nude calendar shoot, which she did for money, kickstarted her mainstream modeling success. The photos were published in a number of magazines and created a huge uproar, but also thrust Marilyn into the spotlight and onto the path to stardom.

The nude calendar photos were shot by photographer Tom Kelley in 1949 when Marilyn Monroe was struggling financially. She agreed to pose nude for $50, not realizing the impact it would have on her career.

The impact:

  • The photos were published in over 30 magazines including the most widely circulated men’s magazines at the time like Argosy, Art Photography and US Camera Annual.

  • The photos created a massive scandal and controversy but also put Marilyn Monroe on the cover of every newspaper and magazine practically overnight.

  • The publicity from the nude shoot helped Marilyn land her first film contract with Fox soon after.

  • While many decried the photos as indecent at the time, they paved the way for Marilyn to become the ultimate pin-up girl and sex symbol of the 1950s.

As photographer Ernest Bachrach who worked with Marilyn said:

> “Thatcalendar made Marilyn a famous name almost overnight. Without it, she might have just been another pretty blonde model and actress.”

The nude photos truly marked the turning point that transformed Marilyn Monroe from an unknown model into one of the biggest stars of her time.

marylin monroe, magazine cover, woman in black leather jacket wearing black sunglasses
Photo by Birgith Roosipuu / Unsplash

Monroe’s Impact on the Fashion Industry and Cultural Legacy

Marilyn Monroe redefined beauty standards and represented a new ideal of femininity in the 1950s. Her iconic modeling photos shaped popular culture and influenced the fashion industry for decades to come.

Marilyn’s impact can be seen in the following ways:

  • She popularized a new voluptuous and sexy figure that became the 1950s beauty standard. Her curves, platinum hair and heavy makeup became synonymous with glamour and sex appeal.

  • Fashion brands like Christian Dior and Givenchy cited Marilyn as a muse and influence who helped shape their designs during this period.

  • Her photos redefined what was considered attractive and desirable for women at the time, prioritizing femininity, sex appeal and confidense over waif-like figures.

  • Marilyn marketed herself as a brand and persona that transcended her modeling and acting roles. Her image and flair for publicity helped make her an international style icon.

  • Decades after her death, Marilyn Monroe continues to influence fashion and popular culture. Her iconic styles are frequently referenced and recreated by models and designers.

Photographer Milton Greene who worked with Marilyn summed up her impact:

> “More than any other model, Marilyn Monroe made modeling an art. She transcended photography.”

Marilyn truly revolutionized the fashion industry and ideals of femininity, leaving a timeless imprint through her modeling work that will continue to influence fashion and culture for generations to come.

marylin monroe, magazine cover, woman in white zip up jacket and black skirt
Photo by Fer Moreno / Unsplash

More Helpful Guide

Frequently Asked Question

What was Marilyn Monroe’s net worth when she died?

When Marilyn Monroe died, her estate was worth around $370,000.

What was Marilyn Monroe’s IQ?

Marilyn Monroe’s IQ was estimated to be between 155 and 168.

How many times was Marilyn Monroe married?

Marilyn Monroe was married three times.

What mental illness did Marilyn Monroe suffer from?

Marilyn Monroe suffered from mental illnesses like depression and anxiety.

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