Written by


  • Marlene Dietrich
  • Betty Grableraque
  • Grace Kelly
  • Elizabeth Taylor
  • Jane Fonda
  • Madonna
  • Lauren Bacall
  • Twiggy

To be a star you need to rouse the senses, but to be a siren you must touch the heart. Their vulnerability, their daring and their sheer courage match the intensity of human beauty concentrated in the most famous female sex symbols of the twentieth century.


To say they had real social power would be an injustice. Mata Hari, wrongly accused of espionage, wound up decapitated after her execution, with her head embalmed and kept in the museum of anatomy in Paris. It’s hardly a state funeral or a fitting homage to a woman who wriggled public consciousness out the Victorian era dressed as Hindu priestess.


Hollywood royalty such as Grace Kelly and Elizabeth Taylor seemed to exercise more choice; having come from cultivated backgrounds and targeted their ambitions on the “costumed” work of big screen acting and the social mobility of ambitious marriages.