It’s terrible the things I have to do to be me

Philippa Snow in The White Review:

Here was a woman who had modelled her life so closely on Marilyn Monroe’s that doing so eventually helped drive her to her death – the blonde waves and the fake breasts; the pill addictions and the airheaded pronouncements about men and sex and diamonds; the years spent tumbling down the rabbit-hole in search of somebody with cash willing to play at being Daddy; the PLAYBOY cover and centrefold, and the unwise sexual exhibitionism, and the occasional moments of bleak honesty that nodded at some formative abuse – and yet still she achieved twice the thing that Monroe never did: for four days, from 7 September 2006 to 10 September 2006, Anna Nicole Smith was a mother to two children. As it had for Monroe, who confessed in her last year that she had wanted children ‘more than anything’, motherhood held as much significance for Smith as big-time fame did, her desire to be the world’s hottest chick only commensurate with her certainty that she should procreate. ‘I’m either going to be a very good, very famous movie star and model,’ Smith told ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY at the height of her success, in 1994, ‘or I’m going to have a bunch of kids. I would miss having a career, but I’ve done my acting, and I’ve done my modelling. I’ve done everything I wanted to do.’ She did not become a great actor, even if for a short time she was one of the biggest models on earth. She did not make it to 40, even though she outlived Monroe by 3 sad, medicated years, dying at the Hard Rock Hotel in Florida at just 39 years old, in 2007.

One thing she did make was herself. Vickie Lynn Hogan, born 28 November 1967, was a flat-chested brunette. At five, she announced her intention to become a supermodel; shortly after, she revised her statement and suggested that, in fact, the thing she really wanted to be was the reincarnation of Marilyn Monroe. (Not an impersonator, note, or an entirely different starlet who took Monroe as her inspiration: the same woman, occupying the same body, not to mention the same obviously troubled mental space.)

More here.