by Yoon Joung Lee
A former French fashion model, actress, singer and animal rights activist, Brigitte Bardot, was born in 1934 in Paris, France to an affluent Roman Catholic family. Her father was a businessman who worked with his own father in the family business. Her mother was 14 years younger than her father.
Her mother was very encouraging and supportive for her daughter so that Brigitte was able to learn music and dance from her young age.
When she was 15, she began her modeling career and found herself in the French magazine “Elle.” Her outstanding beauty gradually appeared and she next tried films. At the same year, she met her future husband Roger Vadim. They wanted to marry but they had to wait until she turned 18 due to her parent’s refusal. However, the marriage did not last long, they divorced 5 years later.
When she was 22, she played a 17-year-old nymphet in Vadim’s And God Created Woman. Her role in the movie - natural but innocent sexuality- made her very popular internationally. Her such attraction flowed well with the sexual liberation movement of the 1960s. During the 1960s, her image was that of the blonde and wild, but innocent. So many people knew her as a “sex kitten” off the screen.
In 1953 her incredible success lead her to make her first Hollywood production in Act of Love, alongside Kirk Douglas while she continued to make films in France. Even in America, her explosive sexuality hit like a storm. All her French films were dubbed into English as well due to her millions of fans in America. Though, she never worked in America, the country itself. After filming the movie The Edifying and Joyous Story of Colinot in 1973, she retired. She was only 40.
The relentless paparazzi and media attention from her international fame wore her down and she wanted refuge. However, this popular figure in France still makes headlines on occasion in her role as a spokesperson for animal rights. In 1986, she founded, Foundation Brigitte Bardot, dedicated solely to that cause.
by Yoon Joung Lee
American poet and novelist, Sylvia Plath, was born in 1932 in Boston, Massachusetts to middle class parents. Her father, Otto Plath, was a professor of biology at Boston University and a well-known expert on bees. When she was eight in 1940, her father died from untreated diabetes. She was letft with feelings of guilt, grief and anger, and those feelings led her to create most of her works.
She was a girl who compelled toward perfection in everything she attempted. She was popular among peers at school, and she always earned straight A’s and won the best prizes. In 1950, she entered Smith College in Northhampton, Massachusetts, on a scholarship. There, she again excelled in her studies academically and socially. She was teacher and peers’ favorite. While at Smith she wrote over four hundreds poems.
In 1952, she earned an opportunity to work as a guest editor at Mademoiselle magazine in New York City after she won their fiction contest. However, her life in NYC was depressing for her and later her famous work The Bell Jar was written based on her NYC life. Such depression led her to attempt to kill herself by swallowing sleeping pills. She survived and was treated with electroshock and psychotherapy. Later, she went back to Smith from 1957 to 1958 and achieved academic and literary success. She graduated from Smith with honors and won a Fullbright scholarship to study at Cambridge, England.
In 1956, she married Ted Hughes, an English poet and she published her first book, The Colossus in England when she was 28. In The Colossus, she showed a clear dedication with which she pursued her apprenticeship. In early 1961, she began writing more poems.
She and her husband, Hughes, settled for a short period of time in Devon, England, but they divorced in 1963 two years after their first child was born. By the time of their divorce, she was ill and low on money but had two small children to take care of in their small apartment in London, England during the coldest winter in years. She was living on the edge of another breakdown.
In 1963, she killed herself with cooking gas. She was only 30. The last things she left for her children were two mugs of milk and a plate of buttered bread. Two years after her death, a collection of some of her last poems, Ariel, was published. These published poems were edited by none other than Ted Hughes.