Sunday, June 19, 2011

Weekend Reading 14: Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields

When I was fifteen, I wanted to be shipwrecked on a drop dead beautiful island in the Fiji Islands.  I wanted to have lush long brown hair, wear a necklace of shells and tattered dresses of white lawn that eventually fell away to nothing more then a bikini bottom with my long haired glued (quite literally I might add!) to my breasts.

I also wanted to wear and maybe in fact did, but I am neither confirming or denying it ☺, Calvin Klein jeans that were so tight, nothing could come between me and my Calvin's.

Weekend Reading for you from RARE vintage.  Read on...

Brooke Shield's carrer began at age 11 months as a model.  The photographer was Francesco Scavullo.  Scavullo once said, "Brooke is the only young woman I know who needs no make up at all".

She was also photographed by Richard Avedon for Colgate in 1974.

Avedon went on to shoot Brooke in her very famous Calvin Klein jeans ad when she was fifteen years old.

"You want to know what becomes between me and my Calvins?  Nothing."

This ad is so iconic, it even made its way into the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute exhibit, The Model as Muse in 2009.   (Actually here the Met made a mistake because the Calvin Klein jeans on the mannequin (in the same pose as this ad) were too baggy.  I remember those jeans: I had to lie down flat to zip them up!

Louis Malle was casting for his film Pretty Baby based on the infamous turn-of-the-century photographer  Bellocq.  Bellocq photographed young prostitutes in New Orleans. 

Louis Malle auditioned Tatum O'Neal, Jodie Foster, Linda Blair (yikes!) and Melanie Griffith - all turned down the role.  He also auditioned Diane Lane, Michelle Pfeiffer, Meg Tilly, Ally Sheedy and Ellen Barkin for the role of Violet but Malle liked 11 year old Brooke Shields for the role of Violet.  

Louis Malle and Brooke Shields on the set of Pretty Baby

Brooke Shields said she was "just playing a role.  I'm not going to grow up and be a prostitute.  If I were in a Walt Disney movie people would not ask me if the part would affect my life.  That's just dumb."

Scenes from Pretty Baby:

And then in 1980 there was much talk about Brooke Shield's movie "The Blue Lagoon'.  She studied algebra and gave an interview at the L'Hermitage Hotel in 1980 to the Associated Press:   

"The three most important things in my life are my schoolwork, my horse and my work.  Not necessarily in that order.   The director Randal Kleiser asked me, 'Are you sure you want to do this movie?  It's low budget.  I thought to myself: How bad can it be on a South Sea Island? "

Turtle Island she discovered was so obscure that it does not appear on some maps.  The film company lived in tents, a tin house was erected for the camera and wardobe.  The food was basic, including some local pigs - "How could I eat them after I had named them?"

"I was always busy.  If not acting, I would do schoolwork or go scuba diving or collect shells.  I even learned how to crack a coconut without using a knife."

Brooke Shields who will be fifteen on May 31st, has been working since infancy, first in soap ads, then in television commercials.  Her acting debut came at age 9 in Alice Sweet Alice.  Then at 11 she played the whorehouse child in 'Pretty Baby'.  

She downplays the controversy.  "The only questionable thing I did in Pretty Baby was the nude scene.  What did it matter at that age?  At 11 you go to the bathroom with the door open."

Brooke Shields in Blue Lagoon:

And this is what made me think about Brooke Shields for the Weekend Reading:  Brooke Shields in Yves Saint Laurent haute couture in Vogue.  1980.

Images from Vogue
Some text from The Associated Press.

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