Bettie Page suffered more than her share of troubles, but the late pinup star never succumbed to victimhood, biographer Karen Essex writes in the Huffington Post. Essex tracked down the model in 1991 expecting the born-again Christian to denounce the men who "hijacked her beauty and sensuality for their own gratification," and was surprised to discover that Page looked back on her modeling days with fondness.
"God created us naked," Page said to explain her lack of inhibition in front of the camera, and the bondage photo shoots were "fun," even "hilarious." Page refused to let herself be shamed by her sexuality, Essex writes, but instead delighted in the "full-blown sexual power" that made her an American icon. "I hope that Bettie is remembered for her sexual joy," Essex writes, "and for the gleeful spirit she brought to sexual imagery."