30 December 2009

Charis Wilson, model and writer, died on November 20th, aged 95

Charis Wilson

Dec 10th 2009
From The Economist print edition

THE first time she modelled for Edward Weston, in March 1934, Charis Wilson knew she didn’t look good. At 20 she was “a piece of jailbait”, a mere child, especially with the stumpy plaits into which she sometimes twisted her hair. She was a drifter, moving in a miasma of angry despair in and out of speakeasies and other people’s beds because her father had refused to let her go to college, even though she’d won a full scholarship to Sarah Lawrence, and even though he would certainly have let her brother go. There was nothing to do but work in her mother’s dress shop, sleep around in San Francisco, get pregnant, have an abortion. She had taken a solemn vow of chastity since then, like one of her made-up childhood rituals of lying in freezing cold water, but to someone with her natural generosity it was a heartless, bitter thing. She looked pale, her chin jutting out in defiance and her whole face needing something—like warts on her nose, her mother told her—to make it remotely interesting. READ MORE

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1 comment:

  1. Very moved by this. Thanks for tweeting this. x
    ash (bottle bell)