Glamorless Ella Raines (1947) 🇺🇸
Down with Glamor
True beauty comes from within, says Ella Raines, a Hollywood rebel who hates false eyelashes and phony makeup
by Paul Marsh
“I hate glamor girls!” Ella Raines exploded with flashing eyes.
“I detest artificiality of any kind, and when I see the members of my own sex parading around made up to the hilt in garish costumes under the mistaken belief that they’re irresistible, I really want to blow my top. Why do they do it? Why can’t they be themselves?”
We were lunching in one of those elegant Hollywood restaurants which bears a name that is famous around the world wherever smart people congregate. The prices on the menu are staggering when you consider that, after all, it’s only food. Yet this is one spot where Hollywood’s glamor girls love to promenade.
Ella and I watched these girls as they made their entrances, halting slightly as though they had just stepped onto a lighted stage. While they checked their effect upon the house, they glanced haughtily over the room. They were swathed in elaborate, expensive costumes.
“These are my sisters under the skin,” said Ella sarcastically. “And notice how the glamor girls are trying to live up to their conception of great charm. They cover their faces with pancake, and wear false eyelashes a half-inch long that create a breeze whenever they flutter them. Don’t you wonder what they’re really like under all that paint and powder? What sort of expressions do they have when they aren’t coated with all that base?”
The high tones of their voices mingled with the clink of glasses and the sharp ring of silverware. “Listen to them babble,” Ella observed. “They’re saying all the smart things that a glamor girl should say, and they’re rehashing all the chi-chi gossip that’s told them in the last 24 hours. Meanwhile, they’re scrutinizing all the competition in the room, and mentally noting some new effect they might try tomorrow.
“These glamor girls spend all their lives trying to look beautiful, and they don’t do a thing about developing their minds or improving their voices. . Listen to the over-all tones they create — it’s a chitter that doesn’t even sound human.”
Just then a foreign film star entered. She paused momentarily on the upper level and surveyed the small sea of faces below her. It was obvious that she had spent considerable time in preparation for this appearance, because her make-up and costume were splendid indeed.
“That,” said Ella, “is what I mean by a glamor girl. She makes a profession of it. All her great beauty comes from tubes and jars. Don’t get me wrong,” she added quickly. “I don’t condemn girls for trying to improve their looks, but why must they overdo it? Why can’t they understand that a girl is most attractive when she is her natural self?”
Ella has argued the point pro and con with friends. Her inevitable conclusion is that phony glamor girls cause too much harm, and their influence is too widespread to be ignored. Too often these girls are accepted as the standard of fashion, Ella believes, and women all over the nation struggle to emulate them. As a result, every community has its women who ruin their own God-given charms with excessive make-up and too many — or too few — clothes.
If you take a look at Ella’s own career before the movie cameras, you’ll see that she has been doing a good job of practicing what she preaches. She’s famous for her well-groomed, well-scrubbed natural beauty on the screen. She is just as beautiful offscreen — perhaps a bit more so — because her coloring seems more warmly obvious. She’s intelligent and alert on a wide variety of subjects and world events, not because it makes good conversation but because she believes it’s an important part of living.
Ella’s screen rise has been rapid. In a little more than two years she has been seen in nine films, and in eight she has played leads. Now 24 years old, she entered the movie world soon after her graduation from the University of Washington. She had no professional acting experience when she was assigned her first film part.
She has withstood efforts of studio make-up artists to glamorize her, and she has studiously avoided any characterizations which
bear a tinge of anything phony. “No slinky, bejewelled ladies for me,” she said. “I’m not the type. Remember me — I’m Ella, the typical American girl.”
She describes herself as a girl with stores of energy, who is persistent and therefore not easily discouraged or defeated. Once she makes up her mind, she generally carries through to the finish. On the not-so-good side of her personal ledger she lists a lack of organization and a mind that is slightly harem-scarem. Her likes and desires change from day to day, and she points out that she hates to sit long in any one spot. In ten minutes she’s all over the house.
She cordially detests housework, especially washing dishes, which she must do on the maid’s day off. On the other hand, because she is an outdoor girl, she gets a big kick out of broiling steaks over a charcoal barbecue, and building salads with fancy and sometimes gruesome salad dressings.
She is generally even-natured except when she is driving her car and her right of way is challenged by a bus driver. “They’re so smart,” she complained, “just because they’re so much bigger.”
Her clothes tastes run to well-tailored suits and smart dresses, but Travis Banton has been designing individual costumes for her which are different from anything she has ever worn, but which are suited to her particular personality. “And I like them very much, naturally,” she said. “What girl wouldn’t?”
While in college, Ella was married to her childhood sweetheart of Snoqualmie Falls, Washington, Major Kenneth Trout, but was divorced several years later. Recently, she was married to a longtime West Point friend, Major Robin Olds.
In the men of her choosing, she lists as imperative requisites a sense of humor and a genuine lust for life. She deplores men who lack vitality for the fun of living, and she thinks the commonest fault of men in general is their possessiveness.
Ella fiercely defends her right to do as she pleases, and there are times when she wishes she were in another business of a less demanding nature. This mood soon passes, though, because acting is the thing she likes to do best.
Ella has some rules about personal beauty and poise she’d like to pass on to her younger readers. She says: “Scrub your face with soap. Don’t use cold creams constantly. Don’t smear on a powder base. Don’t overpaint your lips.” She keeps her complexion ruddy by participating in daily sets of tennis, followed by a swim in the pool. Good health, she points out, is the fundamental basis for beauty and an effervescent personality.
“Leave perfume alone, except in very small quantities, and use a scent that doesn’t assault people. Use very little jewelry, especially if you’re young, and don’t make the cheap mistake of glittering like a Christmas tree.
“Don’t slump or slouch when you walk, and learn to move easily and naturally. Plenty of exercises and outdoor sports will give you the muscular coordination necessary for this.
“Remember that a pleasant voice is an important part of your charm. Practice by reading aloud to improve your diction, if it isn’t all you’d like it to be. Learn to relax in company, and don’t force conversation. There are times when silence can be very attractive.
“Here’s one final observation,” Ella concludes. “If a girl has a desire to try for a career in the movies, she should keep her youthful freshness and natural beauty. Hollywood is full of phony glamor girls who will never get to first base. The moment a real, sincere beauty arrives in town, she is given a royal reception. She’s different, like a cool breeze on a hot day, and she wins attention without trying. People are very tired of pseudo-glamor queens.
“In the long run, naturalness pays high dividends. You don’t have to spend hours primping and fussing, and men like women whose personalities and feminine charms aren’t built each day at the dressing table. I’d say that simplicity in all things, based on a genuine sincerity, is the goal for which every girl should strive.”
As we got up to leave the ornate dining room, the foreign actress and a friend moved over to our table. There were quick introductions and the foreign woman pounced upon Ella to explain that she had seen one of her films and enjoyed her performance.
You couldn’t avoid comparing the two as they faced each other. Ella looked young, clean, honest to her natural attributes, while the glamor girl reminded you of an unreal figure cleverly painted by a portrait artist on a cold canvas. Ella’s our choice!
Kodachrome by Ray Jones
Husband Robin Olds must like glamor — see how Ella dressed up for this date in sleek gown.
Tomboy clothes are more to Ella Raines’ liking. Her latest film is “Time Out of Mind.”
Collection: Movieland Magazine, June 1947