Believe it or not, even if you consider yourself a celebrity connoisseur who buys every tabloid magazine and stalks their respected social media pages every hour on the hour, there is still a personal side to them you’ll never know. During a press preview on Thursday for Mana Contemporary’s new Marilyn: Character Not Image art exhibit in Jersey City, curator Whoopi Goldberg explained just how Marilyn Monroe‘s “sex symbol” image overshadowed her as a person and how the female image is dissected in Hollywood.
Marilyn Monroe will forever be remembered as an icon, not just for starring in movies like Some Like it Hot or for singing to former president John F. Kennedy in a sparkly hip-hugging dress (currently on display at the exhibit), but also for the way she helped transform views of beauty in Hollywood. While viewers were used to seeing her typecast as the ridiculously beautiful ‘dumb blonde,’ the exhibit set out to reveal a more intimate portrayal of the star.
“With this exhibition I wanted to show a glimpse of the woman behind the icon using, before now, never-before-seen images, some of her personal writings, and some pieces of her artwork,” the 60-year-old West Orange resident said at the press preview.
It also features different secluded rooms streaming rare footage of Marilyn, while narrated readings of her poetry play in the background.
While explaining her involvement with the project, the Oscar and Tony award-winning actress admitted to sharing a deep connection with Marilyn formed by her work as a fellow actress and as a woman desperately trying to show the world her true colors.
“When I think of her, and I think of her often, because I can’t imagine what that must’ve been like to try to be the only artist that she knew she was and keep getting pigeonholed as T&A (tits and ass),” Whoopi continued. “So, I guess it’s kind of a cautionary tale. Make sure you know who you want to be and what the cost of that is.”
If anything, the Emmy-nominated co-host of The View wants viewers to take home one lesson from the show: what you see, isn’t always what you get. The women we see and sometimes idolize in the limelight are living, breathing people who feel the same emotions as the rest of us. Whoopi emphasized the importance of looking beyond the titles placed upon the ladies of Hollywood and even those placed on ourselves.
She advised the crowd to take time to discover the true person they are inside, while also realizing there will be others out there who’ve already created another identity for you.
Marilyn: Character Not Image will be open to the public for your viewing pleasure from September 25 through October 22. For more information about the free exhibit, click here.