Can you imagine Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s with taut, sculpted arms? Can you imagine Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2 without them? Celebrity arms have been something of a fashion statement ever since talkies began. Today I’d like to explore the evolution of Hollywood Arms. The 1930s were all about the dramatic face, the arched brow, the porcelain complexion. I’m quite sure the only form of arm toning anyone did was holding cocktails at Clark Gables infamous parties. I found a great publicity shot of Greta Garbo “working out” with a track team and a lovely cocktail gown shot of Marlene Dietrich. You’ll notice there’s no tone at all in the arms.
In the 1940s things hadn’t changed much. Apparently Rosie the Riveter, a cartoon, could be strong but real ladies still needed to be demure. I found a bathing suit still of Veronica Lake, a stunning, beautiful woman. How many of you think she’d make it in Hollywood today?
By the 1950s there were a few pics of the stars working out. There is a famous one of Marilyn Monroe with weights, but this didn’t translate much into sleeker arms. You can notice a little more muscle tone though. If anything voluptuous was the buzzword for the 1950s and our screen idols reflected that.
The 1960s brought us back to a thinner period. Perhaps the somber news from Vietnam toned down the curves. We were treated to such delightful actresses as Audrey Hepburn and Bridget Bardot. The ideals of beauty slimmed down and arms right along with them.
The 1970s brought the first extreme body type. The actress/model Twiggy best exemplifies the waif look, a look that reappears from time to time on the pages of Vogue. These girls didn’t exercise. They couldn’t have, they had to conserve what little calories they ate just to function! I added the other famous bathing suit shot here, Farrah Fawcett’s block-buster poster.
By the 1980s the fitness craze was roaring along. People were “jogging” and “working out” There were even movies set in those new fangled things called “health clubs.” We watched Olivia Newton John get Physical and we watched Jane Fonda make a small fortune with video workout tapes. The two words thin and toned started to be put together with regularity.
And then there was 1992. An explosion happened: Terminator 2 and Linda Hamilton. Linda trained for the role as a Commando Mom with heavy weight training. You can pretty much single-handedly credit the entire modern Hollywood fitness industry to Linda. When I heard about how she looked I had to see the movie. Not for the plot or special effects, I needed to see those arms! This decade has brought a combination of the previous decades. We’ve had moments of really toned arms (Drew Barrymore’s Charlie’s Angels), the waif look comes through every once in a while (Gwyneth Paltrow) and we’ve had the sleek, svelte look from the 1960s too (Charlize Theron). What is clear is that celebrity arms will continue to change as our society does. We might get more toned, we might get more sleek and there will be lots of celebrity trainers there to give us fitness tips and help us get there.
I’d love to know your thoughts. This is one of my favorite posts to date! I hope you enjoyed it. Lisa