This project began as an exploration of my new home. I moved to Los Angeles in 2012 with a television writer and an actor, both in pursuit of the Hollywood Dream. Soon, I started to notice the face of Marilyn Monroe everywhere: T-shirts, murals, magazines. Her image was so ubiquitous that it blended into everyday life. I began to think of Marilyn’s story as a symbol for this place people come to in order to achieve fame, the promise and peril of the Hollywood Dream represented in one life.
I found that all over the world, there are women who dress as Marilyn, whether as impersonators, tribute artists, or simply fans. For these women, Marilyn is not just a passing fascination. She represents an important part of their lives; in some cases a lifelong profession, in others a deep love and admiration. These people are the embodiment of an idea that reaches far beyond Los Angeles. Her timeless celebrity inspires her admirers to channel and protect a traditional image of fame in a modern world where celebrity is constantly expanding and changing.
This project became a study of Marilyn’s endurance and her lasting relevance in modern celebrity culture. It’s been over 50 years since her death and her image is stronger now than ever. Many who recognize her don’t know her movies, but they do know that she represents glamour, celebrity and stardom. She is the ultimate symbol of Hollywood, but also a reminder of the downfall that the pursuit of fame can lead to. But despite the darkness her story exemplifies, she represents a place that inspires the imagination and offers a faraway glimmer of hope, generation after generation.