“I am a woman above everything else.”
― Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
This post is a tribute to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, who is known not only for being the wife of John F. Kennedy. She’s admired for strong character, hard work, elegance, and bravery. When I’m reading her biography and quotes, the first word that comes to my mind is ‘wise’ and it makes me think that she’d be an excellent role model for any girl or woman.
Special thanks to my lovely subscriber Laura for inspiring this post ❤️
As always, I like writing these posts in form of lists so that I don’t miss anything. By all means, it’s simply impossible to cover everything about these iconic women in one post (well, unless it would be as long as a book)! My goal is to list some of the most outstanding features of every personality I focus on in this category. Same as in my post about Dita Von Teese, I’ll write about 5 qualities that made Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis an icon.
1.She always worked on improving herself. For sure, Jacqueline had a wealthy background and had access to the best education at the time. She was born in on July 28, 1929, to Wall Street stockbroker John Vernou “Black Jack” Bouvier III and socialite Janet Norton Lee and her family was very well off. However, this wasn’t her achievement – nobody chooses the family they are born into. In my opinion, it was truly admirable that she didn’t simply use the family wealth to live a comfortable life, but was truly studying. She was fluent in Italian, Spanish, and French and books were one of the things she always cherished.
“There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.”
― Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
“Everything from Colette to Kerouac.”
― Jacqueline Onassis
2.She had high standards and refused to settle for less. When Jacqueline got her first job as a receptionist, a week later she approached editor Frank Waldrop and requested more challenging work; she was given the position of “Inquiring Camera Girl” meaning random ‘man on the street’ interviews. Around that time Jacqueline met John Husted – a stockbroker who she briefly was engaged to. After just a few months, she broke the engagement herself, stating that he was ‘immature and boring’. Now, that’s a lesson women have to think about – not settling for less and having standards.
She also had high standards for her own achievements. After her second husband, a Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, died in 1975 after 7 years of their marriage, she started working in publishing. She worked for Viking Press and then Doubleday. While working for Doubleday, she worked on Michael Jackson’s autobiography Moonwalk and Larry Gonick’s The Cartoon History of the Universe, among many other books.
3.She used her power as the first lady for good and to the full. To be in a position of power and not use it to the best of her ability wasn’t on the ‘to-do’ list of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. When she became the first lady in 1961, she focused on restoring the elegance of the White House and protecting its holdings. Her attitude to the White House wasn’t trivial – she considered it to be the museum of the history of the nation and cherished it. She wasn’t afraid to cooperate with the media and told the Life mafazine about her plans to renovate the White House, inspiring many Americans to support her undertakings. In 1962, on Valentine’s Day, she gave a full tour of the White House for CBS, gathering an 80 million audience in front of their televisions. As a result, she received an honorary Emmy award for her contribution to television.
The renovation of the White House served a purpose – soon Jackie Kennedy started inviting the intellectual and artistic elite as well as politicians for elegant state occasions. She encouraged the public interest in art and became a trendsetter. Due to her great language skills, she became widely popular worldwide as well for she accompanied her husband in his international trips. She never was just a first lady – she was a distinct persona of her time.
“The one thing I do not want to be called is First Lady. It sounds like a saddle horse.”
― Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
4.Her bravery and self-discipline were outstanding. After JFK was assasitanated, Jackie demonstrated an outstanding level of self-discipline and courage. She was collected enough to keep herself together and her inner strength was admirable for the nation in the time of tragedy. The shock she must have gone through witnessing her husband being shot sitting near her on the dreary day of November 22, 1963, is unimaginable.
What truly stood out to me in her behavior is that she refused to take her pink suit stained by her husband’s blood after the assassination. She stayed next to Kennedy’s casket as they drove to the Air Force One and then on the plane she found a change of clothes. She refused to take the blood stained suit off and later admitted to the Life magazine journalist that she regretted doing it:
“One second later, I thought, ‘Why did I wash the blood off?’ I should have left it there; let them see what they’ve done”
During the inauguration of Lyndon B. Johnson, she stood near the now President in that same pink outfit (see photo). The inauguration took place only 99 minutes after the moment of Kennedy assassination.
5.Her sense of style was one of a kind. It wouldn’t be fair to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis if this post wouldn’t mention her unique sense of style that inspired millions of women worldwide. Her style was classic, chic, and elegant – never over-the-top. While being the first lady, Jacqueline received quite a backlash for wearing expensive designer clothes. In order to respond to the public’s expectations, she wore American-made clothes. The aforementioned pink suit was actually an authorized ‘line for line’ copy of Chanel suit made by Chez Ninon in New York.
Her style was effortlessly classic:
By all means, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis was an admirable woman. She didn’t get involved in politics while being the first lady, but she managed to contribute to many areas. She was an icon and inspiration of her time and beyond.
Hope you enjoyed this post! Who do you think I should devote the next ‘Icons’ post to? Leave a comment below!
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