Make Trouble Pay Dividends In Beauty—Wanda Hendrix
Every girl, at least once in her life, faces an emotional crisis. It’s easy at such a time to fall to pieces, that’s no trick. It’s the easiest thing in the world at such times, too, to lose interest in your personal appearance, to spend hours, days, weeks, feeling sorry for yourself, until it becomes a lifetime habit.
No use to ask, “Why did it have to happen?” It did happen. There’s nothing you can do about it. It belongs to the past. But you can do plenty about the future. Take stock. Then start to make yourself over, as a more attractive, exciting, interesting woman. This personality therapy isn’t just a pretty theory. It works. It’s working right now for Wanda Hendrix. At twenty-one, Wanda’s love life was a big question mark. When she and Audie Murphy separated after eight months of marriage, Wanda wouldn’t give up without a fight. She wanted to try everything before she would admit her marriage was a failure, and persuaded Audie to agree to a three months’ trial reconciliation.
This critical period will have an important bearing on the rest of Wanda’s life. Knowing her, we’re not worried. She’s got both small (size 3½) feet on the ground, both sharp blue eyes straight ahead of her. And she’s not wasting one minute on self-pity. She can’t spare the time. She’s fighting for her marriage and is making herself over.
In the personal renovation department, the first thing Wanda did was to have her hair cut short. And her new bob is very gay, very dancey, very chic. A devilish bang does a lot for a girl. Next, Wanda went out and bought herself a whole new wardrobe. Clothes more chic than she had ever bought before. The suits are tailored and well-fitted, in bright bouncy shades, greens, oranges, lavenders. The dresses are slick and body-hugging, and mostly black. And one of her new formals is molded to the body, with long sleeves, plunging neckline, and a divine slit all the way up one knee. Dreamy, but what’s more important, exciting. Wanda is turning enchantress on us, and, surprisingly, she can do it. Her odd cheekbones, her finely molded jaw, her broad forehead are not the usual Hollywood pretty-pretty features.
“I’ve never been much for clothes,” she says. “Other things seemed so much more important. Now I know that clothes can be fun, remake you inside as well as out. I’ll probably never be the best-dressed woman in the world, but I’m going to try awfully hard.”
All her underthings, by the way, are strictly from the dream-stuff department. She was engaged to Audie during the filming of “Prince of Foxes,” for which she traveled to Italy and France, you’ll remember, and she took advantage of that fact by buying exquisite personal things for her trousseau in France and Italy. “Makes a woman feel ultra-feminine, exciting, to be all satiny and delicate under her street clothes. I’m all for tailored clothes in public; for my undies, though, I like the fanciest I can find.”
Although Wanda was able to solve her clothes problems, she is still more conscious of her extremely small size than any other girl I know. She isn’t trying to be cute when she bemoans her lack of hips; she’s quite serious. As I’ve said before, there isn’t really a “cute” bone in her entire body. “It’s nice to be slim,” she corroborates, “but not like me. It’s not womanly. I’m all right up here. . .” and she points to her shoulders and her chest, “and I guess I couldn’t use much more waistline on such a small frame, but these hips, oh, how I want to be fatter!”
It’s a constant struggle for her to gain weight. She’d like to weigh 110 pounds, and for her 5 feet 2 inches of height, I admit twenty extra pounds wouldn’t hurt a bit. “But I’ve been down to seventy-eight pounds,” she goes on with a shudder, “so I guess I shouldn’t complain too much now that I’m up to ninety.”
Her eating habits are all pointed to the ultimate desire; to gain weight. But she eats healthily. She doesn’t stuff herself with chocolate or cookies or candy between meals. She doesn’t want to sacrifice her fine skin, her bright eyes, or her good, strong hair. No, when she wants to eat between meals, she has a bowl of soup or a glass of milk. And at regular mealtimes she eats everything in sight.
Actually, she likes to cook her own meals more than she cares to eat out. She’s an excellent cook; she’s been cooking since she was a child. Her specialty is Southern fried chicken, which, when prepared right, is fluffy and delicate and delightful. She makes her own batter and uses only butter in the cooking.
In addition to Audie’s other ailments he has two ulcers, which require special diet. Wanda takes good care of him in that respect. “I’ve always cooked simply,” she continues, “so Audie can eat most everything I make.”
Wanda is so fragile and delicate that she refrains from exercising, although she is an outdoor girl and loves sports. Only physical therapy she has is a light massage twice weekly in the Paramount gym. “It helps to stretch the skin over my bones,” says Wanda, “and it works wonders.”
Her facial contours are extremely different and she’s wise enough to allow them full play, instead of trying to conform to a pretty look, a common Hollywood mistake.
At night, Wanda covers her face with baby oil; it’s absorbent and non-sticky and carries with it a rather pleasant and subtle scent. That’s all the beauty ritual she follows; at twenty-one, a naturally attractive girl like Wanda hardly needs more.
She has naturally curly, dark red hair and a redhead’s complexion to go with it. Her skin is covered with freckles. For the screen, she covers the freckles with a thick pancake make-up. But for personal wear, she rarely uses more than a thin veil of foundation. She dislikes heavy make-up; thinks it robs women of both naturalness and interest. “I’d rather have an interesting face than a pretty one,” she says.
She’s doing fine.
—BY ANITA COLBY
It is a quote. PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE MARCH 1950