Monday, July 21, 2008

Piece of Work: George Masters

"I have never thought of myself as being glamorous, but when George Masters does my hair and makeup I feel glamorous."
--Ann-Margret

George Masters was a real-life version of the womanizing hair stylist Warren Beatty played in best-movie-ever, Shampoo. Even that frump Ann-Margret could pass for pretty if she bent to his will.
Click to enlarge the photo and meet George's gaze. He knows what is best. You will submit. He's a pretty boy with a scarred cheek that hints of danger, and a sharp weapon in his hand. The model is clearly and justifiably terrified. And she looks fantastic.
George Masters was a stylist to the stars who is credited with creating Marilyn Monroe's signature look. Like the George played by Warren Beatty, the real George got very involved with his clients. Much of the book describes their private lives. He whispers that Doris Day kept a flask of vodka in her purse, and that Jennifer Jones slipped away from her own parties to have full bath, hair and makeup redone, then changed into a duplicate of her party outfit. She sometimes repeated this ritual several times per evening. And why not? This way she got to spend all her time in the bathroom; hers had "wall-to-wall carpeting, crystal chandeliers, a wood-burning fireplace and three Renoirs over the tub."

Beyond all the gossip, George wants you to know that the illusion of great beauty is a learned skill that can be yours:

"There is only one difference between your face and the three movie stars you are always asking me about. It's a three letter word spelled E-G-O. And I'm all for it as long as you don't carry it to extremes."

Truth be told, George does suspect you may need a little help beyond extreme confidence:

"I believe one of the most important beauty habits that should be started early is a face-fix fund-- for your nose bob, eye job or anything else that needs fixing. Mothers should start this for their offspring in a child's piggy bank... Older children should be encouraged to save a certain amount of money regularly in their face-fix fund, just as they save each year in a Christmas Club fund."

Of course George also offers practical, every day advice, such as a tip he picked up from Mae West: the self-administered daily enema. If you need to lose a few pounds, George recommends his sensible Sex-Cal, Whip-Off Diet, which consists of a bit of fish, and a few tall Scotch-and-waters.

But the Masters piece de resistance is more state of mind than mere beauty tip:

"Crucial to your total look of beauty is body control. If you don't have it, start working on it instantly. You can begin this very second and here's how" Pretend you're naked with forty cameras shooting you from all angles...
Anyone can do it. You start by pretending that you're naked with forty imaginary cameras shooting you from every possible angle-- up, down, front, back, sideways-- on your cheekbones, chinbone, nose, neckline, shoulderline, hipline, bosoms, stomach, thighs, arms, and legs, all over, anywhere and everywhere...
It's a trick you can practice anywhere, even out in public. Maybe you have a secret yen to be a streaker. Here's your chance. Pretend you're nude with a cameraman chasing you. (Be sure you're pretending or it could be the cops.)"


And lest you ever relax while alone at home, George offers his own twist on affirmations:

"You might need to pin notes in a few strategic spots in your house to jog your memory: I'm naked with forty cameras shooting."