Bettie Page had practiced doing modeling poses for years with her sisters and had always dreamed of being a model since she was very young. So when the recently divorced Bettie Page divorced her husband and went to New York it was finally time for Bettie to chase down that dream.
Bettie Page started off trying to become a traditional fashion model. She went straight to the top and talked to Ford Models in New York. They rejected her because back then you had to be at least 5’7 to be a model (it’s now 5’10) and Bettie was only 5’5. Also, they told her that she was ‘too hippy’ and was too curvy to be a fashion model. Bettie went home and looked at herself in the mirror and thought, “Well that’s just wrong. Men really like this.”
Then in 1950, Bettie went to the beach on Coney Island. While she was sunning herself, she was approached by a policeman named Jerry Tibbs who told her that she would make a good pin up model. He had a studio
and he would take her pictures free of charge and give her a portfolio that she could take around to the studio. (He had no ulterior motive whatsoever. 😉 ) He did suggest however that she bring bikinis (because that would be best for the portfolio, of course) and he also suggested that she cut her hair so she had bangs. “I think you’d look good in bangs.” Well, she went home and cut her hair — and gave herself what became known as ‘Bettie Page bangs”. Bettie never looked back. She wore her hair with bangs until her death.
So with portfolio in hand, Bettie Page began her modelling career at the age of 27 (almost 28). Interestingly, for years she had her age published as 22. And Bettie never refuted it. 😉
This was the very beginning of a modelling career that would take her to the top of the Pin Up world and make her an icon even years after her death.