Helen Gurley Brown – The Eternal Cosmo Girl
” Good girls go to heaven. Bad girls go everywhere else … ”
Helen Gurley Brown, the iconic editor of Cosmopolitan magazine and author provocative of the 1962 bestseller “Sex and the Single Girl,” a book that helped spur the sexual revolution by declaring that women could “have it all” — including a career, marriage and great sex — died Aug. 13 at a hospital in New York City. Her death, of undisclosed causes, was announced by the Hearst Corp., the owner of Cosmopolitan. She was 90.
The glamorous Ms. Brown, known to the fashion world as HGB, spent four decades at the helm of Cosmopolitan magazine Previously an advertising copywriter, she turned a failing little general interest rag into a newstand powerhouse which reigned through some of the most exciting decades of our era all from the home plate of her pink flowered office. With more than 2.5 million subscribers, ‘Cosmo’ was not just a magazine, it was a bible.
Way back in the pre-computer era, Cosmo was the place to go to keep up with the latest in fashion, society & beauty info. It used to take a good two hours to get through one of those magazines if you were to glean every little sinful morsel of information out of it. I still to this day own stacks of vintage Cosmo’s from the late 70’s & 80’s including the infamous Gia Carangi edition.
In the dawn of the Supermodel era, Helen Gurley Brown helped bring some of the most memorable faces into the limelight. 70’s Faces like Patti Hansen, Beverly Johnson, Christina Ferrare, Cheryl Tiegs, Brooke Shields & Lauren Hutton paved the way for the 80’s crowd, the “Supermodels“; Gia Carangi, Christy Turlington, Paulina Poriskova, Linda Evangelista, Claudia Schiffer, Kim Alexis, Kelly Emberg, Cindy Crawford & Christie Brinkley.
With her articles, she also made sure we were kept up to date with the latest going ons in celebrity and fashion society. How else would a gal stay abreast with who was snorting what and with who during the decadence of Studio 54, Max’s, Zenon and 21 and the latest in haute couture & makeup ? ‘Cosmo’ also helped boost the careers of many famous stylists such as Way Bandy & John Sahag, and photographers such as Fransesco Scavullo.
She wrote ” Having It All ” in 1982, which was a roadmap for many a young woman. Among HGB’s most famous quotes, “I think marriage is insurance for the worst years of your life” she wrote. “During your best years, you don’t need a husband. You do need a man of course every step of the way, and they are often cheaper emotionally and a lot more fun by the dozen.” She aimed to inspire women by encouraging them to take more responsibility for the direction of their lives while having as much fun as possible.
Helen Gurley Brown gave new meaning to burning the candle at both ends & single handedly transformed millions of “Mouseburgers” into divas … Phew ! I’m still tired !
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