Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Picture Polish Monroe Review - Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

I picked up my first order from Australian company Picture Polish recently, and in keeping with my efforts to support local industry I deliberately picked out two of Picture Polish's own brand polishes. As far as I understand, Picture Polish started out reselling other Australian brands, but eventually branched out into their own line. Having stocked such awesome products as Ozotic, they know good polish, and I'm very happy to report their own creations are just as beautiful as anything Ozotic ever put out. The one I want to show you today is called Monroe - I wanted to talk about this one because a) it's GORGEOUS and b) as someone with a mental illness, I find Marilyn Monroe a really fascinating figure.
But before I get all serious, here are some pictures. These are all three coats of Monroe, with a slick of topcoat over it.

I think Marylin would have really dug this polish. It's so beautiful and sparkly, but totally classy at the same time. It also really reminds me of one of the costumes from "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes", one of my favourite Monroe movies.

She and Jayne Russell are not only drop dead gorgeous in that film, but also surprisingly funny. Russell does my favourite kind of humour - dry, fast, and super sharp. But Monroe largely plays on her public perception as a dumb blonde to get the laughs in this film - she has a great line right at the end of the film that cracks me up every time. When asked if she wants to marry the handsome rich hero just because he's rich, she answers perfectly straight faced, "Don't you know that a man being rich is like a girl being pretty? You wouldn't marry a girl just because she's pretty, but my goodness, doesn't it help?"

Even in natural light it glows!

Have I mentioned how much I love my Photojojo Macro Lens?
 You can see, especially from the macro, that there is a lot more to this polish than there seems at first. Not only is it packed full of glitter, there is a strong holographic shine that gives it a real fire - it glows from the inside like an opal in the right light. Which brings me to the serious part of why I find Monroe so interesting. The woman inside seems to have been so very different from the woman she appeared to be on the outside. The first impression of her is one of polished perfection, but inside she had a burning fire of ambition and emotion.

On the outside Monroe was undeniably beautiful, but in very controlled and deliberate way. Just look at how many pictures there are around where she is projecting the exact same expression - lips slightly parted, eyes lidded, and just a hint of a smile. This was a carefully composed facade, calculated to project exactly the right amount of sexy without being "slutty", the right amount of mystery without being inaccessible. There is a reason people go so bananas for the "lost" photos that surface every now and the. Monroe was so constantly "on" that photographic evidence of any crumbling of that facade is endlessly fascinating.

But on the inside, it was a totally different story. She struggled with mental illness all her life, and it's generally believed this struggle led to her suicide. While I'm not aware of any official diagnosis that was ever made public, the generally accepted theory is that she suffered BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder), which makes her particularly interesting to me because that's what I have. It's always nice when famous people have the same illnesses as you! For those who haven't heard of it before, BPD is more or less a kind of very rapidly cycling bipolar disorder - we get the same manic highs and depressive lows as people with bipolar, but it tends to cycle up and down much quicker. There are several fragments of diary that have surfaced that indicated an inner turmoil totally unseen on her public surface. One particular snippet has stuck with me since I read it, considering how often I am kept up by insomnia -
"on the screen of pitch blackness
comes/reappears the shapes of monsters
my most steadfast companions …
and the world is sleeping
ah peace I need you—even a
peaceful monster."

This difference between perception and reality is both one of the hardest things to deal with about mental illness, and one of the hardest things to explain to neurotypical people. Christine Miserandino wrote a very moving piece about her experience with having an invisible illness, and while she was actually writing about Lupus, her observations are so applicable to mental illness that a lot of her shorthand is used regularly by almost all the non neurotypical people I know. When we say to each other, 'I'm out of spoons", it's understood that this means "I simply don't have the resources to do what I need to/what you're asking me to do right now". This sort of shorthand is crucial to my ability to function while also having an illness people can't see from the outside. If you know me extremely well, you might be able to read a lack of spoons on my face - but not reliably, and very very few people know me that well. I need a way to communicate that what people see on the outside is not what is going on inside.

I find Monroe fascinating because her interior world and the way she was perceived were so very different, but I find her inspirational as well. And no, not because she was "plus sized". She was stunning, but she was never plus sized by any sane person's reckoning. Marylin Monroe inspires me because she's a great example of how having mismatching insides and outsides doesn't have to stop you getting what you want, and getting where you want to be. Her eventual suicide isn't such a great example, and I'm not particularly keen to emulate that part of her life. But the success she achieved before her death is remarkable, and I find it comforting that her inner turmoil didn't completely cripple her ability to achieve her ambitions. I worry sometimes that my mental illness makes me simply incapable of achieving the success I so dearly want - but looking at how much she achieved in such a short time through talent and sheer force of will reminds me it doesn't have to be so. And Monroe is hardly a lone example, even though this sort of thing isn't talked about a lot -this article over at has a fascinating list of a bunch of other successful women who suffer from mental illnesses.

Do you have a particular celebrity you relate to?


  1. i tend to collect bipolar heroes - Stephen Fry, Richard Yates (who was a remarkable writer, though was probably a bit of a dick due to the poorly treated bipolar) Phillip K Dick, and probably most of all - Kristin Hersh, who wrote one of the best 'bipolar stories' i've read, 'Rat Girl'. i relate probably most to Kristin - her variety of crazy is very, very close to my own, to an almost uncanny degree - the strange, dreamy, abstract nature of euphoric mania and psychosis turning into a very odd, sort of beautiful, exceedingly unliveable view of the world. (i once wrote her an email when i was in LA, saying i wished i could buy her a drink - she said she had just left to go back to orleans, otherwise HELL YES. a very bipolar response...)

    1. It's pretty awesome how many bipolar heroes there are out there to collect once you start looking. I didn't know Stephen Fry was among them! I follow him on Twitter because he's so DELIGHTFULLY British it makes me happy.

      Your description of the manic end of your condition is fascinating - it sounds very different to how I experience mania. Mine is more....well, furious? You know the scene in Sin City where Gail is mowing down all the corrupt cops with a machine gun and laughing her head off? That's more how I get.

      I think I should go track down Rat Girl sounds like that was a hell of a year for Kristin Hersh. I love that she was interested in getting a drink with you - that's brilliant. Fingers crossed it works out another time!


Thank you for taking the time to comment! I live for comments, good or bad.

Anonymous commenting IS allowed on this blog, but in order to reduce the amount of spam, comments on posts more than 14 days old will be moderated.