I don’t know when I became aware of Bettie Page. Which is kind of strange, because in her heyday in the 1950s, I was just discovering girls. Well, I guess I wasn’t reading pinup magazines when I was ten years old. Never the less, as a baby boomer and as the editor of an online magazine that showcases the nude female, I know the impact she has had on the classic nude female pinup.
I got all of the photos of Bettie Page for this blog post from Tumblr. This is what Wikipedia has to say about Bettie Page:
Bettie Mae Page (April 22, 1923 – December 11, 2008) was an American model who gained a significant profile in the 1950s for her pin-up photos. Often referred to as the “Queen of Pinups”, her jet black hair, blue eyes, and trademark bangs have influenced artists for generations.
A native of Nashville, Tennessee, Page lived in California in her early adult years before moving to New York City to pursue work as an actress. There, she began to find work as a pin-up model, and posed for dozens of photographers throughout the 1950s. Page was “Miss January 1955”, one of the earliest Playmates of the Month for Playboy magazine. “I think that she was a remarkable lady, an iconic figure in pop culture who influenced sexuality, taste in fashion, someone who had a tremendous impact on our society,” said Playboy founder Hugh Hefner to the Associated Press in 2008.
In 1959, Page converted to evangelical Christianity and worked for Billy Graham, studying at Bible colleges in Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon, with the intent of becoming a missionary. The latter part of Page’s life was marked by depression, violent mood swings, and several years in a state psychiatric hospital suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. After years of obscurity, she experienced a resurgence of popularity in the 1980s.
This is Guy Hogan reporting for the Pittsburgh Flash Fiction Gazette.
Hail to Pitt!