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.