From Clara to Scarlett: A History of “It” Girls

Begin Slideshow

“It” was a term invented by Elinor Glyn, a writer of trash bestsellers like the 1907 Three Weeks, which featured a love tussle on a tiger skin rug. Glyn’s 1926 novel It claimed to explain the phenomenon of sexual charisma, which in Glyn’s view mainly amounted to confidence and not caring what others think of you. Reviewing the book, Dorothy Parker joked, “It? Hell, she had Those.”

There are dozens if not hundreds of actresses who’ve had “It” at some point of their career. Of course for most of them, Glyn’s prized virtue of confidence is a staple of their sexual attractiveness. On the other hand, certain types of insecurity can also be alluring, as was the case with some of the most iconic sex symbols. I’ve selected one actress for each decade, starting with the original “It” Girl, and ending with my choice for the “It” Girl of our time. (Hint: her name is not in the title of this article.)

Begin Slideshow


Did you like this article?
Give it a vote for a Golden Bowtie


Keyframe is always looking for contributors.

"Writer? Video Essayist? Movie Fan Extraordinaire?

Fandor is streaming on Amazon Prime

Love to discover new films? Browse our exceptional library of hand-picked cinema on the Fandor Amazon Prime Channel.