In May 1950, Marilyn sits for this pleasingly natural portrait (by Earl Leaf) that is free of affectation. She was several months away from signing her second and lasting contract with Twentieth Century Fox.
By the time she achieved stardom two years later, she had perfected an arsenal of facial expressions to convey a myriad of moods. With her head tilted back, eyelids lowered and lips moist and parted she sent a clear message of sexual availability. Larger than life exuberance was expressed with an open-mouthed smile that showed off her perfect teeth, and a wide-eyed “who me?” look brought to mind the innocence of a child. Marilyn finessed these expressions (and many others, of course) so naturally that they became organic. Soon, every starlet in Hollywood was being encouraged to copy Monroe’s poses, but none succeeded with the same impact.