Ask Morgana 056: Polaire

Just one photo today – the fascinating face and tsunami of hair belonging to singer and actress Émilie Marie Bouchaud (1874-1939), otherwise known as ‘Polaire’. Maybe it was her Roman nose and sixteen-inch waist, maybe her surreal sense of humour, that made her bill herself as ‘The Ugliest Woman in the World’. Her provocative persona led her to tour with Jimmy, a young man of African heritage, whom she proclaimed to be ‘Mon esclave noir‘, with a diamond-collared pet pig called ‘Mimi’, and to wear a nose ring. In the 1890s she appeared on stage in short skirts and with bobbed hair, thirty years ahead of the fashions of the 1920s. I think her face is strikingly beautiful. Would you agree?

Emilie Marie Bouchaud

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