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6 Women Who Conquered the World So Skillfully That No One Noticed Their Imperfections

“A woman, firmly confident in her beauty, will eventually be able to convince everyone else in her,” said gorgeous Sophia Loren. It’s true that feeling confident about your irresistibility is half of the success. There are many examples of women who got the reputation of heart-stealers and fatal beauties but who in fact were far from the beauty ideal. Still, men and the whole world would fall to their feet exclusively thanks to their ability to present themselves.

We at Bright Side have carefully looked through memoirs and archives, hoping to reveal the secrets that helped ordinary girls leave a huge mark on history.

1. Marlene Dietrich

A plump German girl, who had no hint of the slim body shape that the gorgeous Marlene Dietrich had, with a typical face, simply couldn’t become a part of the Hollywood world. Her voluminous hips, the cheekbones of a commoner, and an upturned nose were far from the beauty ideals of that time. Before filming in the movie The Blue Angel, which brought her world fame, Marlene Dietrich had to work hard on her appearance.

First of all, the director made her maintain a strict diet, her brows were plucked out in order to get a thin arch, and her hair was dyed. What’s more, they enhanced the languid heaviness of her eyelids, her face later developed sunken cheekbones that gave Dietrich that special charm. However, it is believed that the actress had to get several of her molars removed to get this effect.

Relationships with men were a kind of a game for Marlene Dietrich. She had a box at home where she kept letters from numerous lovers. Marlene easily broke the hearts of men, who remained grateful for the rest of their lives, rejoicing in the happiness that they were lucky to get a chance to have her in their life. Erich Maria Remarque, Jean Gabin, and Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. — none of them could resist the diva’s captivating charm. Ernest Hemingway, who was also in love with her, once said, “If she had nothing more than her voice, she could break your heart with it.”

2. Liza Minnelli

Though her round face and a snubbed nose in no way outlined any hint of aristocracy in Liza, still, her deep black eyes, that were aglow with sadness gave Liza a special charm. She refused the help of her famous parents (who were an actress and a director in Hollywood) and started to coin her destiny by herself: she worked as a model, give solo concerts, and she patiently waited for her finest hour.

Her world fame started with the movie Cabaret where she played the singer Sally Bowles. A hat, a bow tie, fishnets, and a witchy, slightly vicious look — this unforgettable image helped her find her way into the hearts of many men. Her love affairs were widely gossiped about in Hollywood society. Once, Martin Scorsese’s wife applied for a divorce, having called Liza Minnelli the reason. However, each of Liza’s 4 marriages ended in divorce too.

Liza Minnelli and her husband Peter Allen, 1967

3. Édith Piaf

The woman with the voice of an angel that bewitched millions of people and caused tears of admiration was called “a sparrow” in real life. Sometimes she was even called “a lizard” due to her small hands. Her first marriage took place when the singer was 17 years old — she married the owner of a small shop. One year later, Piaf gave birth to their daughter, who soon died of meningitis. After having lost the baby, Édith broke up with her husband and had no more children.

Edith Piaf and Marcel Cerdan

After that, she met the love of her life — French boxer, Marcel Cerdan. But he was married and had 3 kids. Still, he would rush to his “sparrow” whenever she called, even to the edges of the earth for her. Unfortunately, this impulse tragically stopped his life. One year after starting the affair with Piaf, Cerdan was flying to see her from Paris to New York when his airplane crashed.

Édith Piaf had many love affairs within her life that she would start and stop without any regrets. Once she started to realize her feelings were cooling down, she would stop the affair and go on searching for new adventures. Even shortly before her death, Édith married a 26-year-old hairdresser.

Théo Sarapo was the actress’s second husband. The singer renounced Catholicism so that, according to Théo’s wishes, their wedding could take place in a Greek church. Édith died one year later and he inherited her debts — around 7 million Francs, which caused him to lose his apartment.

4. Frida Kahlo

Her appearance was far from the ideal of beauty, but it still attracted men and women. The girl’s left leg was thinner than her right one due to the fact that she had polio in her childhood. Frida hid this imperfection behind long skirts. Nevertheless, Frida looked impressive, she was an incredibly charismatic person: bushy eyebrows, black hair styled in a bun, and always decorated with bright flowers. She collected Mexican national outfits and dressed up brightly, creating the image of a total badass.

Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera in Mexico

Frida married the famous Mexican artist Diego Rivera, who was 20 years older than her. Her husband unfolded her talent in painting. They broke up several times but got back together repeatedly. Frida had many love affairs including Leon Trotsky, a Russian revolutionary. But she was psychologically dependent on Diego Rivera and stayed with him despite his infidelities.

5. Lilya Brik

She was suspected of creating a “ménage à trois” (an arrangement in which a married couple and the lover of one of them live together). She wasn’t perfect and didn’t hide it, and yet she knew how to behave in society and adored the attention. Many people didn’t see the beauty in Lilya but when she smiled, the real magic began.

This memory about her speaks for itself, “The first impression about Lilya was “Oh my god, she is ugly, she had a big head and slouches... But she smiled at me and her whole face started to shine, I saw a gorgeous woman in front of me: huge hazelnut eyes, a beautifully shaped mouth, and almond teeth. She had a charm that attracted others at first glance.”

When Lilya passed by, people would look at her: red hair, bright makeup, huge brown eyes. They didn’t know who she was but still realized that this woman was incredible. Still, Lilya didn’t see herself through rose-colored glasses — she realized she had imperfections and would hide them behind clothing.

Here is what her stepson’s wife Inna Gens-Katanyan would say about her, “Her body shape wasn’t the best. She had thin legs that she would carefully hide behind long skirts and trousers. She was the first woman in Moscow who started to wear trousers. Her sense of style was outstanding. But her mystical charm was mainly in the fact that she was a perfect conversationalist. When talking to a man, she would sink into him and start to live with his interests. Which man wouldn’t like that?”

Lilya Brik and Vladimir Mayakovsky in Yalta

6. Mata Hari

From her very childhood, Margaretha Geertruida Zelle dreamt about a luxury life that had no place for boredom. So she decided to make her dream come true with the help of men. She found her future husband, Dutch Colonial Army Captain Rudolf MacLeod, using an announcement, married him, and moved to Indonesia. The marriage was a complete disappointment for both of them, so they decided to break up.

Finding herself on the verge of poverty, the girl went on to earn a living in Paris. This is when her fame as an “eastern style” dancer with the nickname Mata Hari began. Some of her performances were something close to a modern striptease. The immodest diva was invited to the best theaters in Europe. One wealthy patron was replaced by another.

During the war, Germans decided to use this pretty dancer as a spy. However, she started to work for both sides in order to earn more money. She would sell information about Germans to the French and vice versa. Soon Mata Hari was arrested. At the trial, everyone sympathized with her, men were sending requests for clemency to the court, her lawyer, who was also her lover, even knelt in front of the judge. But that didn’t save her. On July 25, 1917, this spy was sentenced to death.

Obviously, visual beauty is not enough to help anyone to succeed. Which features, in your opinion, should a woman have to reach the ultimate heights in her career and personal life?

Preview photo credit East News, East News