Why Hello There!
Hello my lovelies! Clara Cupcakes here, resident hula hooper, fan thrower and aficionado on all things baked and sugary. I thought I would start my string of postings by introducing you to my delightful namesake and how I came to decide on my bejeweled alter ego.
I spent forever trying to decide on what my burlesque name should be. I trawled through old movie starlets, character from books, musicians, drinks, gemstones, animals and even pastries. But when I made the decision on what moniker I should give myself for my impending burlesque stardom, there was only one lady for the job. She was a true comedienne. Sarcastic, sweet and just a little bit naughty. She didn’t seem to mind being a little bit goofy and silly. She was super cute and utterly charming. All things I wanted to embody in my character.
My I introduce the incomparable Clara Bow!
Born in Brooklyn on the 29 July 1905, Clara Bow was THE original it girl. Movie stardom at this time was a relatively new concept. In the early days of silent film, actors didn’t even get named in the credits. It was due to the hard work of pioneers like Mary Pickford (arguably the first true female movie star to achieve celebrity status) that actors started to get some recognition. The hype and celebrity that surrounding Clara at the height of her fame in 1927 was unprecedented. People fell in love with her bubbly flapper personality. She was a damn fine actor to boot. She embodied everything women wanted to be in the youth obsessed 1920’s. Ladies rushed out to get their hair coloured red with henna and the act of putting on lipstick became known as putting on your “Clara Bow”. Despite all her cuteness, she was also a sex symbol and had men falling all over her left right and centre. She quite offen had 2-3 boyfriends on the go at any given time.
She personified the tomboy aesthetic that was very desirable. This was fairly easy to achieve for her as she grew up in a poor area of Brooklyn and knocked around with a whole bunch of lads in a gang instead of playing dolls like all the other girls. She loved baseball and rollerskating and I wouldn’t put it past her to sock someone right in the kisser for lookin’ at her sideways. She had a pretty tough upbringing (absent father, an insane mother who was a prostitute and who tried to kill her. She was eventually committed to an institution) and I think this is why she was such a great actress. She had so much life experience to draw from.
Clara is my favourite silent starlet. I love her eyes so much! Forget Bette Davis! She could tell the whole story just with those eyes. But her whole face is so wonderfully expressive. She seems like the sort of girlfriend that might be a bad influence, in the best possible way. She’d have the most wonderful, spontaneous ideas of how to liven up a dull night out. She would make a fabulous night out even more spectacular. She’d be as happy being out at a cocktail bar sipping a gin and tonic as she would be playing a game of soccer in the park.
Despite her popularity, things started to go wrong for Clara with the arrival of the Talkies (sound in film). Hollywood’s elite had always seen her as common due to her upbringing, her language (apparently she swore so much, she could make a sailor blush) and her habits (gambling, drinking and smoking cigars). She had a thick Brooklyn accent which was associated with a lower class at the time. Despite the fact that audiences thought her accent suited her characters, the roles started drying up. She was also the target of a lot of tabloid gossip, mostly about her sex life, most of it untrue. She retired from hollywood in the early 1930.
So, there is just a little bit about my muse. The other half of my name was obvious really. I was originally Clara Bell but that just didn’t suit. I decided to give into the cliche and go with my favourite adorable, icing laden cake. And so was born Clara Cupcakes, the flapper, the gin soaked floozy, the complete and utter goofball. I hope I am doing Ms Bow proud!
I’ll leave you with a little clip of Clara. I hope you are as enamoured with her as I am!
Until next time my sweets!
All photos courtesy of The Clara Bow Page