Like: Sophia Loren (1955)

July 20, 2010

“It’s Not Just Who But When…”

This statement was made by an acquaintance of mine some years ago when the question was prompted, “Who would you like to meet more than anyone else?” And from that very moment I fully and completely realized how important timing is when it comes to the reality of a person. Often the ideal timing is that ideal cusp where the fame is new and surprising to the person themselves. Where they are overcome with both the humility of that responsibility and possibly even embarrassed by it. It is certainly when they are most thankful. And certainly ever since that initial conversation I’ve always reiterated when it comes to any such list, “It’s not just who but when…”

Now as a wrinkle, this ongoing series of portraits will only specifically deal with the women of the last 75 years of so who I consider to be the Most Beautiful and Alluring in the world. I’m well aware that the internet can quickly descend into  a game OMG SHE’S HOT, LET’S OGLE HER! (though ogle is probably not used that often) and we find ourselves skirting into objectifying and ultimately even exploitative territory. Please know that that is anything but the goal here. The goal is reflect on moments in time, go over some film and television history, talk about the nature of image, and engage the subject of sexuality in media forms. And yes, most of it will be in adoring circumstances so don’t expect much of sterile criticism, but that is definitely the world of thought it will be coming from.

This ongoing series will attempt to go chronologically.

I believe they call it “Va Va Voom”

It bears mentioning that I’m not one of those who is gaga over Sophia Loren. There’s this weird thing that doesn’t translate to modernity about her (or at least for me), but believe me I get it. Folks have been obsessed with her for a good long while and I’m not going to argue with it.

For a whole heckuva lot of people, Sophia Loren was exotic, beautiful, curvaceous, but the word I’m actually going highlight is “intrinsic.” See there is something very special about Sophia Loren coming around in the 50s that makes the love of her something inherent. I don’t think it really has to do with acting necessarily (that career seems sort of incidental to me, academy award and all). Part of it taps into the “exotic” angle because there really was just no one else like her in the limelight (was there? Maybe I’m wrong). But there’s something more, something that translates beyond that. An allure that seems to have a great deal to do with Sophia’s amazing and well-documented confidence.

What is that allure in totality? I’m not really sure.

I’m also not sure how the gender lines break on this one. I know both men and women loved Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn. But is Sophia Loren one of those guy’s girls?… I don’t really know. This also brings up issues of sexism and whether or not it’s entirely healthy for any icon to be valued solely by one sex (it implies more one-dimensionality to said like rather than something more rounded).

Since I’m unsure about so much of this, consider this post an invitation. What is it about Sophia Loren that you like?

… Honestly, for a bunch of you, it probably has something to do with this:

… or this

Or these…