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The promise and the peril of the Hollywood dream can be embodied in one person: Marilyn Monroe. It’s been over half a century since her death and her image seems stronger now than ever. Many who recognize her don’t know her movies, yet they accept her as the classic example of glamor and stardom.
She is the ultimate symbol of Hollywood, but also a cautionary tale of the cost of fame. But despite the dark side of her story, she represents a place that inspires the imagination and offers a faraway glimmer of hope, generation after generation.
When photographer Emily Berl moved to Los Angeles in 2012 with a television writer and an actor, both pursuing the Hollywood Dream, she began to notice the face of Marilyn Monroe everywhere: T-shirts, murals, magazines. Her image was so ubiquitous that it blended into everyday life. But what Marilyn Monroe represents is not restricted to one city. All over the world, there are women who dress as her, whether as impersonators, tribute artists, or simply fans. For them, Marilyn is more than a storied icon. She represents an important part of their lives, in some cases a lifelong career, in others a focus of deep love and dedication. Her timeless celebrity inspires her admirers to channel, protect and pursue a traditional image of fame.
These photographs of women who dress as Marilyn Monroe examine the star’s endurance but more importantly, they are a look into these women who channel the classic yet powerful notion of the Hollywood dream that still thrives today.
Emily Berl is a photographer living in Los Angeles. This is her first book.
Marilyn - Emily Berl
first edition, 600 numbered copies
96 pages, color
24.5 cm x 25 cm
Sturm & Drang publishers 2018