As many fans of the cultural icon may know, before being a famous actress, Marilyn Monroe was a pin-up model. While her first husband, Los Angeles factory worker James Dougherty, was battling in the Pacific in early 1945, Monroe, then 16 and named Norma Jeane Baker, met photographer David Conover and decided to pose. for him. She finally signed a contract with the Blue Book Model Agency in August 1945, when she was 17, defying her deployed husband.
At the time, Monroe’s hair was curly and brown. However, since she had eyes for Hollywood, she decided to straighten it and dye it blonde in order to become more employable. “For Marilyn, going blonde was like the Hollywood star-building machine,” photographer Nancy Lee Andrews told CNN. “She saw what it could do for her.
Of course, this tactic would eventually work for her; through modeling agency owner Emmeline Snively, Monroe signed a contract with an acting agency in mid-1946. In September, she divorced Dougherty, in part because the studio stipulated in her contract that she had to be single. Dougherty confirmed this himself in a 1984 interview with UPI, saying “the studios wanted no-marriage clauses – a pregnant starlet wouldn’t do them any good.”