A History of “It” Girls: The ’30s

Jean Harlow

Jean Harlow

In the 1930s, Jean Harlow was very much the “It” girl of the moment, and she shares many similarities with Clara Bow, not least her troubled off-screen life, but their main difference is visual; whereas Bow still looks natural and sexy to modern eyes, Harlow, with her white platinum hair, heavy make-up and penciled eyebrows, looks like an attractive young woman who has been turned into a kind of commodity by her studio, MGM. To her credit, Harlow always managed to mitigate the artificiality of her studio-created looks with her frankly vulgar and likable comedy playing; she died, under still mysterious circumstances, in 1937.

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