What’s With Lindsay Lohan’s Marilyn Monroe Obsession? (And Is It Healthy?)
Lindsay Lohan’s Marilyn Monroe obsession seems to be growing. But is it healthy?
First there was the Playboy spread; now there’s the new Terry Richardson photo shoot; and the question that I can’t help but think each time something like this emerges is this: What’s with Lindsay Lohan’s obsession with Marilyn Monroe?
Maybe it explains why she keeps bleaching the life out of her hair. I don’t know. But what I do know is that a) the Marilyn-inspired shoots are starting to get a little old, and b) come to think of it, it’s probably extremely unhealthy that LiLo is so preoccupied with her in the first place. She also probably shouldn’t be letting her hair get so close that gas burner up there, but whatever. Apparently no one bothered to teach her about fire safety.
Flammability aside, though, here’s the thing: Yes, Marilyn is fascinating and beautiful; yes, she’s an essential part of both film history and Americana; but she’s also phenomenally tragic. I am by no means a Marilyn expert, but here’s what I do know about her: She was loved for her persona more than who she actually was—Marilyn Monroe was so much more glamorous than Norma Jean Baker—and ultimately, this is a horribly depressing way to live. Her personal life was fraught with failed relationships, and she battled more demons in her 36 years than most people fight in a lifetime. And the biggest point? She died far too young, and of an overdose at that. Stop me if I’m totally off base here, but this doesn’t sound like the greatest role model for a troubled young woman like Lindsay Lohan.
As a professional blogger, I poke fun of celebrities a lot. The jokes kind of write themselves; Lindsay’s habit of making terrible choices, for example, has become so predictable that each one she makes just seems more ridiculous than the last. And to be fair, a lot of them really are her own damn fault—she seems to have long harbored the belief that since she’s a celebrity, that somehow means that she warrants special treatment or that she won’t have to face the consequences of what she’s done. Over the past couple of months, it looks like she’s finally learning that that’s not the case, which is good; and given her good probation record this time round, it also looks like she’s sorting herself out, which is better. But if Marilyn is who she’s using as her touchstone… well, let’s just say that it’s troubling. The bottom line is that when it comes to drugs, alcohol, and a whole variety of other vices, Lindsay has an illness, and it’s one that can be deadly.
No, I don’t particularly like Lindsay Lohan. Though the prevailing point of view these days is that she never achieved her full potential because of all of the junk that got in the way, I’m not totally convinced she was that special of an actress to begin with. But just because I don’t like someone doesn’t make their life null and void, and any premature death is a tragedy, no matter how I feel about the person. (Unless it’s, say, a tyrannical dictator, but that’s a whole ‘nother story).
So: Does adoring Marilyn mean that Lindsay is in danger of falling prey to the same problems? I think it all comes down to whether she’s idolizing her because she truly loves her (for lack of a better word), or because she thinks it’s “cool” or will project a certain image of her. And with LiLo? I honestly don’t know which one it is. It could be either. There is, however, a third option—though I think we can pretty safely say that Lindsay isn’t following it: It’s using Marilyn as a cautionary tale, something to keep in mind to steer her onto the right path. Given how much Lindsay seems to want to emulate her—indeed, we might infer from all her Marilyn-themed photo shoots that she’s trying to become her—this seems unlikely.
Lindsay is 25 right now, a little over ten years younger than Marilyn was when she died. Is she on a fast track to self-destruction the way her apparent idol was? Often I think yes, though lately, I wonder if maybe there’s still some hope left. At least we know that she probably won’t actually play Marilyn anytime soon; Michelle Williams’ incredible performance in My Week With Marilyn will most likely be considered the definitive one for years to come, making it unlikely that another biopic will be made about the star for a while.
I hope Lindsay avoids Marilyn’s fate. I really do. As much as I may dislike her, I don’t have a deathwish for her. Living fast and dying young isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Wouldn’t you rather be a beautiful human than a beautiful corpse? I know I would. And I hope Lindsay does, too.
Lucia Peters is BettyConfidential’s associate editor.