The strangely and hauntingly beautiful Alek Wek by
Wendelien Daan. She influenced the perception of beauty in the fashion industry.
Dark-skinned models were rare, if not unheard of, in the high fashion industry. Wek was “the first black model who didn’t conform to a Caucasian aesthetic(like Naomi Campbell), the first with an uncompromising, sub-Saharan beauty her industry saw her as new and exotic – a savage beauty. (I hate that they described her as “exotic” and “savage”). Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong'o mentioned Wek, stating that she had been a self-conscious, insecure teenager before seeing Wek in the spotlight: "When I saw Alek I inadvertently saw a reflection of myself that I could not deny,” she added, “Now, I had a spring in my step because I felt more seen, more appreciated by the far-away gatekeepers of beauty”. Alek got that beauty that can haunt/eat your soul and you’d be okay with with it.
Tura Satana [Tura Luna Pascual Yamaguchi; 10.07.38 - 04.02.11]
Considered by some as the first rock groupie, Tura Satana was was an actress and exotic dancer. She was born in Japan and her family moved to the U.S. when she was a child. At 15, she had already been married, and adopted her husband’s surname Satana. Using fake identification to hide the fact she was a minor, Tura began burlesque dancing. She was hired to perform at the Trocadero nightclub on the Sunset Strip, and became a photographic model.
She returned to Chicago to live with her parents and started dancing at the Club Rendevouz in Calumet City, Illinois, where she was known as Galatea, the Statue that Came to Life. She was offered a raise to become a stripper. After singer Elvis Presley saw her perform at Chicago’s Follies Theater, the two began a romantic relationship that some reports say ended in a marriage proposal she declined. She eventually became a successful exotic dancer, traveling from city to city. She became an actress in the early 1960s, and her most famous role is that of Varla in the 1965 cult classic Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! which turned her into an icon.
“When [Elvis Presley] wondered how she moved the way she did, Tura told him her routine was based on martial arts. He wanted to know how she did the slide and the splits at the same time. How she did the shimmy, how she shook all over. He was quite intrigued.” -Pamela Des Barres
“Once I showed him the difference between how he was kissing and how I kissed, he said, ‘Oh God, that feels so good.’ When I said, 'Yeah, it feels good all over too,’ his eyes lit up.” -about her makeout sessions with Elvis
“I took a lot of my anger that had been stored inside of me for many years and let it loose. I helped to create the character Varla and helped to make her someone that many women would love to be like.”
“I told [Elvis] if anyone knew about us being engaged it would cost him his career. I tried to give him his ring back and he told me to keep it. He said, "You will always have part of me with you.” And I still have it. It’s a solitaire diamond, about three carats.“