An American fashion icon who was the first lady of the US, contributing to the rise in the link status of the arts in the administration.
Jackie Kennedy, aka Jackie O, was born as Jacqueline Lee Bouvier in 1929 to a wealthy New York family. She started writing and publishing at an early age, and at 12 she won the Vogue magazine contest to work in Paris, but had to decline it due to her mother’s opposition. A few years later, she lived for a period in Paris while studying for her B.A. in French Literature. At 22 she started working for Washington Times-Herald, publishing a column of photo-interviews with city residents. Among her interviewees was John F. Kennedy (JFK), whom she married at the age of 24 years old.
In 1960 John was elected as the 35th US president, and 31 years old Jacky Kennedy became one of the nations’ youngest First Ladies. Her time in the White House was marked by high publicity. She restored the residency and later hosted a televised tour, which was watched by 80 million viewers and won her an Emmy Award.
Her main contribution was in raising the recognition of the arts in the White House – hosting jazz and ballet performances, appointing the first in-house curator and establishing a Fine Arts Committee. She also made a notable contribution to the fashion world, presenting new trends such as the pillbox hat, oversize sunglasses, and headscarves.
Her marriage to Kennedy was notoriously clouded by his infidelity, as was the case with her parents’ marriage. At 34 she lost both her newborn child to lung disease and her husband in a historical assassination. Five years later she married Greek Aristotle Onassis, one of the wealthiest men in the world, who was 23 years older than her. Her nickname then changed to Jackie O.
She spent her last two decades as an editor in American publishing houses, and died of cancer at 64, then buried beside her first husband in Arlington National Cemetery.
“I am a woman above everything else”
More Interesting Anecdotes:
- In a step which was unusual at its time, her parents divorced when she was a young girl.
- Following her mother’s footsteps, Jacky was an award-winning horse rider, her accomplishments were mentioned in the New York Times as early as age 11.
- At the age of 24, she flew to London to cover the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II for Washington Times-Herald.
- During her husband’s presidential campaign she was pregnant, and supported the campaign from home by writing the weekly column “Campaign Wife”.
- She turned the sun porch of the White House into a racially integrated kindergarten for a dozen of children, including her daughter.
- She brought to the US the famous Mona Lisa painting on loan from the Louvre Museum.
- In her time at the White House, she spent more money on her wardrobe than her husband’s annual salary as the president.