Dorothy Dandridge. Diana Ross. Eartha Kitt.
As long as I can remember I have crushed on vintage beauties before ‘girl crush’ was trendy. I admired the smile, fearlessness, glamour and heart of these women. My DNA possesses a file marked “Vintage Beauty” right beside the file marked “Bathing Beauty”.
Ms. Dandridge owned the art of smiling with her eyes long before I was aware you can do such a thing. Not to mention she made history as the first African American to receive a best actor or actress Academy Award nomination for her role in Carmen Jones. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a must! She gets to sing, dance and be unapologetically sexy while Harry Belafonte swoons over her, not bad at all. Her ability to contribute to the confidence of brown girls like me growing up, and open doors that were bolted in Hollywood due to racism makes her forever and always a “vintage beauty”. She just happens to be gorgeous too.
If you know me, you know my love for Diana, the original diva. A smile that melts, power combined with strength in a soft voice, and a zest for life on her turns makes her my ultimate girl crush. Just thinking about her contribution to more than a few monumental and historic periods in music gives me energy. She was born with whatever ‘it’, is. Her iconic and legendary performance in Central Park in the rain may or may not be older than me (wink), but has me truly ecstatic to see her LIVE in concert in less than two weeks! My mom put me on to her acting skills in “Lady Sings the Blues” years ago, so it’s only right I let her be my date. Okay…I’m actually her date, tickets to see Diana Ross in concert was her Mother’s Day present.
Sex kitten was coined with Eartha Kitt in mind. But understand that does not box her in to anyone’s stereotype. This woman was and still is a substantial representation of confidence for ALL women. I adore Ms. Kitt for more reasons than you care to read. Multi lingual, choreographer, actress, frequent dinner guests of royalty! The list goes on. She will always be the Sugar Honey Ices Tea to me (with shot of top shelf cognac on the side). One of my favorite classic films to revisit at least a half-dozen times a year is “Anna Lucasta”. This movie is older than my mom, and I LOVE it! If you watch it for nothing more than the mambo scene, it’s so worth it. By the way, cutie pie and equally influential in his own right, Sammy Davis Jr is co-star in it.
The great thing about living a life of simple pleasures is the ability to pay attention to what inspires and motivates you. From beautiful roses, to sunflower seeds to classic movie posters. They all have the power to be a contributing factor for more joy. I bask in the simple pleasures of these vintage beauties through artwork that I own, movies that I watch and books that I read.
Get creative about how you embrace your own. I am taking mine to the next level with a photo shoot next month inspired by one of the these ladies. Can you guess which one? 🙂