"I'll never forget the day Marilyn and I were walking around New York City, just having a stroll on a nice day. She loved New York because no one bothered her there like they did in Hollywood, she could put on her plain-jane clothes and no one would notice her. She loved that.
So as we we're walking down Broadway, she turns to me and says 'Do you want to see me become her?'
I didn't know what she meant but I just said 'Yes'- and then I saw it.
I don't know how to explain what she did because it was so very subtle, but she turned something on within herself that was almost like magic. And suddenly cars were slowing and people were turning their heads and stopping to stare. They were recognizing that this was Marilyn Monroe as if she pulled off a mask or something, even though a second ago nobody noticed her.
I had never seen anything like it before."
~ Amy Greene, wife of Marilyn's personal photographer Milton Greene
I’m going to tell you a secret. I’m terrified of public events, parties, and any time I have to be the center of attention and sometimes when I don’t. I can spend an entire day mentally preparing myself for a party amongst friends and if it’s a public event the preparation starts the night before. I’ll analyze, overthink, come up with every situation that could go wrong and turn the brightest shade of red right before I’m about to leave.
As my career has grown I’ve had to get used to being seen more publicly. It can be rough when your self critical or feeling insecure. In order to help ease the panic I started to ritualize my process and delve into glamour magic. Often on trips you’ll find a collection of compact mirrors, and a mirror and brush set packed within my luggage. These are my tools in glamour magic. Glamour magic itself is an illusion, a seductive beautiful allure around you that demands attention. It can be tapped into in numerous ways and can be turned off at any time when you feel like blending in.
As a child I was obsessed with Hollywood and Marilyn Monroe. All I could think about was one day I’d go to Los Angeles and see the Chinese Theater and stay in the hotels that all of the stars stayed in. I wasn’t fully concerned with modern day movies but I loved the old greats. I wanted the glamour of silent films, the transition to talkies and films through the 50s. I’d look at images of these starlets and dream of long dresses and fur stoles. I wanted the dream I had created in my head.
The Roosevelt Hotel is alluring in every way, from the history it possesses to the location right across from the Chinese Theater. The moment you walk into the Roosevelt, the air changes, you know you’re walking in between ghost. Hollywood has glamour, although sometimes you have to breathe deep to catch the layers. As part of my glamour magic I would tap into the Roosevelt. I would breathe it in. Land memory has a great deal to do with glamour. It can remember steps, it has the imprint of everyone who has walked over it and through it. I arrived early and checked in. I looked at my room and noticed it was right across from Marilyn’s room. A picture of her hung in the stair way from the cabanas to the pool. I walked out to my balcony and smiled at the green plants folding over onto the rail. I was starting to get the tingle.
The tingle happens when you first connect and you and the land or place are speaking to each other. The tingle means you’re accepted. It runs through your body and tickles your insides. Sometimes your breath becomes heavier. I was on little sleep that day so the tingle was strong. I had already stepped into the portal when I visited a friend only to find out she lived in Marilyn’s adolescent home. I headed out to the pool to have a drink and relax before getting ready for the party. That friend joined me and recounted tales of Los Angeles from the beat and punk days. I dipped my feet into the pool and visualized Marilyn’s shoot. I asked her if she was there. The delightful afternoon wind lapped at my neck a blew my hair gently. I could tell the glamour would come. I didn’t know how much, but it would allow me to be social that night and I needed to be social.
The hotel had accepted me. We share some similar dates. The hotel itself is the baby of filmmakers Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Mary Pickford, and Louis B. Mayer. It opened its doors on May 15, 1927. Two years later it would host the first Academy Awards. This date, May 16th, happens to be my birthday. I always feel a bit of connection with places that have a historical connection to my birthday. I spent some time at the pool and then made my way back into the hotel to admire it’s beauty, take some photographs, and make my way to the Chinese Theater. I placed my hands onto Marilyn’s imprints and traced her name with my finger. There’s energy in that cement. It’s imbedded into the prints and deep down into the earth. you can feel it when you touch it. Energetic Imprints of hope, happiness, sorrow, fear, want etc. I tapped into the laughter and glamour. While Hollywood is filled with stardust and hope there is also an underlying dark side. I didn’t want to tap too far in so I focused only on the imprint in front of me. And no, Marilyn’s hands were not that big. I pulled mine back a bit as I was turning towards the camera.
My face became warm and then hot. I walked back to the hotel to prepare for the evening. Inside I wrote notes on hotel stationary. There is nothing more romantic than writing letters, poetry, entries, and notes on hotel stationary as I travel from city to city. It becomes a captured moment in time. A fragment of that sliver of magic. I carry them with me and send them out. Sometimes I take the stationary and carry it with me using it as a journal to tap into the energetic frequency of the building and time.
Before the party started I slipped into my sequined dress. I took out my mirror, an old Versace pressed powder compact. As a poor student in NY, I would stop into Sephora and look at the makeup. Versace was everything to me and those compacts meant luxury. I couldn’t get them out of my head. When I made my first large amount of money I bought one. They were discontinued but I tracked it down. I knew only to hold it would encorcel any place, room, or person. And as a relatively shy person, I was glad for any help I could get. Mirror magic was my sweetest friend. In mirror magic you become friends with the looking glass. You wipe it down with oils and whisper your secrets. You blow on it three times, waking the other world and peer in watching as you transform through the glass. I took a deep breath. “There she is.” The transformation is subtle, a blank of an eye and a sly smile. The redness in my face would fade. I was here and now in this moment. Even my dress fit different. I snapped a picture.
As the time came, I walked into the party, lifted my shoulders, took a deep breath and stepped into the doorway. My friend and bombshell Veronica Varlow taught it to me. In one minutes time, you can command an entire room. I lifted myself and walked in, heading to the bar for a cocktail. It was beautifully crowded and I was happy to see so many people there celebrating my friend. There was a psychic there that described my bedroom in detail, knew about my Versace compact, that I carry it with me like a small treasure, saw Al Capone with me, asked about my book with Burroughs before it was in formation. Told me Burroughs wanted me to visit his home again because in a way it was my home too. Then went on to tell me about how my love life would go when I asked about work. I would end up with someone I would work with who loved my art, and liked my quirks even if he didn't always understand them. It would be unnerving and a little bit scary, it may take some time. We'd create something big together and to keep moving along as I was because, the path was clear even if I wasn't fully seeing it. Glamour is trusting the path as well. It’s saying to yourself every morning, “I’m worth it.” even if you don’t particularly feel it.
Part of glamour magic is frequency. If you want to tap into frequency go to a place that has the frequency you want. Have a drink at a fancy hotel or explore a place that has deep ties to what you are working with. This is always the first step in conjuring glamour: Frequency. Take a deep breath every day and visualize tuning into a radio station, some parts will be static and some will be clear. Get as clear as you possibly can. This alone can raise a frequency. Do this daily and often.