The world was not quite ready
For you in your satin teddy..."
Bettie Mae Page (April 22, 1923 - December 11, 2008) was an American model and pin-up of the Fifties.
She was famous for her fetish modelling and often called the "Queen of Pinups". Her signature look has influenced several celebrities from Katy Perry to Dita Von Teese and she was one of Playboy Magazine's earliest Playmate of the Months. Even Batman antagonist Poison Ivy was created as her Expy. Her fame was mostly in the 1950s but experienced a resurgence of popularity the 1980s that has carried through to the present day.
Bettie disappeared at the height of her popularity in the early 1960s, leading to numerous rumors that she had died. In the late 1990s, she was discovered alive and well, though living in poverty and completely unaware of her cult following. Various admirers (including Hugh Hefner) united to insure that Bettie would receive royalties for reproduction of her image. With this security, she lived comfortably until her death in 2008, though she made no public appearances, stating that she preferred fans to "remember [her] the way [she] was."
Dynamite Comics has her starring in her own series where she ends up having adventures between modeling. Getting involved with strange mysteries ranging from spies, giant monsters, or even aliens.
- The '50s: Bettie's heyday.
- '50s Hair: Her signature bangs are prominent for the essential pin-up girl look.
- Biopic: The 2005 film The Notorious Bettie Page, portrayed by Gretchen Mol.
- Bound and Gagged: An infamous sequence of photos played up this trope.
- Brainy Brunette: Graduated salutatorian of her high school (although poverty kept her from going to college). A math whiz. Those costumes she wore? All designed and sewn by her. Almost everyone she ever worked with recalled both her magnetic personality and her surprising intellect—she loved to read and would read almost anything, and remembered everything she read, too.
- Burlesque: Though Bettie herself never did burlesque, she is associated with it due to many modern performers adopting her style for the stage.
- Darker and Edgier: Compared to most '50s pin-up girls. Also, her more modern interpretations tend to paint her as much Darker and Edgier than she was.
- Dominatrix: Many of her fetish photos had her in this role.
- Fur Bikini: Bettie's other distinctive look was wearing fuzzy bikinis.
- Good Bad Girl: By all accounts (including her own) Bettie felt no shame about either her love life or her modeling...but also felt one did not reflect on the other. Those who worked with her recall her as a consummate professional. She had no problem with nudity, which she viewed as natural, but she hated profanity, which she viewed as vulgar.
- Hauled Before A Senate Subcommittee: For a committee investigating claims of pornography causing juvenile delinquency. Although she never ended up testifying in public, during the committee investigation, a lot of negatives of her modeling work were destroyed.
- High-Class Gloves: Standard part of her wardrobe. Probably 60 to 75% of all the pictures popularly circulated of her had her wearing them. At least one pair even found their way into a museum collection. This helped popularize the long gloves which are part of the dominatrix look.
- Jungle Princess: In 1954, Bettie did some modeling work in South Florida, and model/photographer Bunny Yeager took her to an animal park in Boca Raton to pose with various animals while wearing leopard-pattern bikinis. Those photos are considered some of her most famous works, and had been used for postcards and Florida tourism promotional materials for years.
- Kinky Spanking: This was her specialty, more or less (as both spanker and spankee).
- Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: Betty in The Rocketeer.
- Memetic Hair: Those bangs! Her signature look came about when a photographer suggested she cover up her forehead instead of pulling the hair back in a ponytail. It's now considered the go-to look for any woman posing as a dominatrix or 50s-era sex kitten. In Death Proof Rosario Dawson sports this hair as a direct Shout-Out to her.
- Ms. Fanservice: She surely didn't look bad...
- The Muse: Men (and women) wanted to photograph her in The '50s. Men (and women) have been using her as a drawing model and fetish icon since The '80s.
- Of Corsets Sexy: Many of her costumes included corsets.
- Older Than They Look: She was in her 30s during her heyday in The '50s, but looked about ten years younger.
- Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Famous for her flawless fair skin, jet-black hair, and brilliant blue eyes. Some photographers played up this combination by presenting her as a sultry vamp or a Femme Fatale.
- Reclusive Artist: After retiring from modeling in 1959, she seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth. Many efforts by curiosity seekers to locate her had failed, and a common assumption was that she'd died. When she was finally located during her popularity resurgence in The '90s, the actual story of what had happened to her was quite remarkable. She converted to evangelical Christianity, attended Bible college with hopes of becoming a missionary, worked for Rev. Billy Graham at one point, had two short-lived, very volatile marriages, began struggling with schizophrenia, was arrested for assault on more than one occasion, and even served a spell in a state mental hospital. Even after she was located, she elected to stay out of the spotlight.
- Stocking Filler: Many of her costumes included stockings.