Get a double dose of pinup power with the Queen of Pinups & the Goddess of Glam
Although Bettie Page and Marilyn Monroe share space at the pinnacle of pinup stardom, people often like to pit these queens against each other – as in, “Are you a Bettie or a Marilyn?” But these two actually have lots in common, along with their own unique attributes worthy of our adoration and emulation, so why draw inspiration from both of these powerful, trailblazing women?
You learned all about being a Bettie in my book that was released last year, The Little Book of Bettie: Taking a Page from the Queen of Pinups. Now you can learn how to use Marilyn as your muse in Michelle Morgan’s wonderful new release, The Little Book of Marilyn: Inspiration from the Goddess of Glam, the second book in the “Little Book” of badass women series by Running Press. This gem is organized in a similar framework to the one I created for the Bettie book, so you can look forward to beauty and fashion how-to’s and DIY crafts, in addition to learning more about Marilyn’s backstory and the modern-day women she inspires.
I had the pleasure of interviewing this delightful author to get the full scoop on her latest Marilyn tribute. Check out our chat below.
Tori Rodriguez: How did you first learn about Marilyn, and what is it that feeds your interest in her?
Michelle Morgan: When I was very small – probably no older than four or five, I watched Some Like it Hot on the television. I absolutely loved it, and for ages afterwards I asked my mum when “that film with the men dressed as ladies” would be coming back on! The funny thing was that I don’t even recall noticing Marilyn in the film at that point, because I was so busy laughing at Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis! Of course, growing up she was always on my radar because everybody knew about Marilyn and her career. However, by 1985 (when I was 15), Marilyn was even more noticeable to me because I was a huge Madonna fan and she dressed up as Marilyn in her video for “Material Girl.”
Later that year I went on holiday with my parents and my brother, and I saw a photo of Marilyn in the gold dress. It really struck a chord with me, and that night I told my parents that I was going to buy a book about her to read on the beach. The next day we went to a book shop and I was lucky to find an excellent biography by Fred Lawrence Guiles. I read it and was absolutely hooked. I spent all of my holiday money on postcards and pictures of Marilyn, and I remember my mum being concerned that I might be wasting my hard-saved money on what could be a passing fad. Little did she know – and little did I know – what was going to happen in the future!
I think for me, what feeds my interest is that I am deeply inspired by Marilyn’s life and career. She didn’t have the best start in life, and she suffered from depression and anxiety, but my goodness she was determined to make the best of her life. She is a brilliant role model and has brought so many wonderful people and opportunities into my life.
TR: How did The Little Book of Marilyn come about, and what can readers expect to find within the book?
MM: My publisher – Running Press – had just published your book about Bettie Page, and they were looking to do others in the series. My editor asked if I’d like to do one about Marilyn, so of course I said yes! I sent her some ideas, and we brainstormed back and forth until we came up with what we both thought would be a really worthwhile book. Readers can expect to see a short biography, interviews with fans, make-up and hair tutorials from the wonderful Suzie Kennedy, crafts, photos of items Marilyn owned, places she visited, and so much more!
TR: What was something new you learned while writing this book?
MM: One of the things I learned was that I can actually coordinate craft projects and photo sessions! I had never done that before, and it was definitely the hardest part of the book, but I thoroughly enjoyed the learning experience. In the end, these parts of the book turned out to be something of a family affair: My good friend Suzie Kennedy did the make-up and hair tutorials, while my parents’ neighbor took the photos, then my aunt wrote the bag and hat tutorials, my mum and I helped cut out the material, and my dad photographed it all! So, I was very lucky with those sections, and the book means even more to me because of that.
TR: What are a few of the top takeaways you hope readers will gain from your book?
MM: I hope that readers will gain an insight into just how inspirational Marilyn can be and what a joy and life-changing experience it can be to be a fan! I spoke to various fans in the book, and each one has a lovely story to tell about how Marilyn has inspired them and changed their lives. She’s certainly changed mine, so if readers take away anything, I hope it’s the joy that being a fan can bring and just how much inspiration they can gain from Marilyn’s life and her career.
TR: For new fans of yours who love this book, they’ll be happy to know you’ve written others about Marilyn – tell us a bit about those and what’s next!
MM: Yes, I’ve written many books about Marilyn over the years. My first one was back in 1995 and was called Marilyn’s Addresses. Then in 2007, I wrote a full-length biography called Marilyn Monroe: Private and Undisclosed. That was expanded, revised and republished in 2012. After that I co-authored Before Marilyn, which was a book dedicated to Marilyn’s modeling career, and then last year saw the publication of The Girl: Marilyn Monroe, The Seven Year Itch and the Birth of an Unlikely Feminist. All of these books have a place in my heart, and I consider myself extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to write them. Will I write another Marilyn book? Watch this space!
I’ve got four projects coming out next year (so far!), and while I’m extremely excited about all of them, I’m sworn to secrecy until the publisher announces them. Rest assured, I’ll be shouting from the rooftops when I’m able to share details, so please check my social media (@MMWriterGirl) and my website (www.MichelleMorgan.co.uk) for all the latest details!
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