Ava Lavinia Gardner was born into a poor family of cotton farmers on Christmas Eve, 1922. When she was 18, her brother-in-law displayed a photo of her in the window of his studio; it caught the eye of an MGM executive, and the stunning green-eyed brunette was on her way to stardom.
Ava enjoyed a successful film career, most notably starring in The Sun Also Rises and Mogambo, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award. She was married three times; her final marriage to Frank Sinatra was the longest, but it was also the most tumultuous. Her reputation as a strong, sexy screen siren was compounded by the fact that she was consistently more successful than the men in her life.
A lifelong smoker, she lost her battle with emphysema in 1990 at the age of 67. And even though it was more than 30 years after their divorce, it is said that Frank Sinatra was so wracked with grief over her death that his daughter discovered him slumped in a room, crying, and unable to speak.
Ava's look is the epitome of classic glamour. To see how to recreate it for yourself at home,
- Hair: Loads of soft curls were Ava's trademark style. Start with blow-dried hair, parted deeply to one side (follow the outside corner of your eye up to the hairline, and part back from there). Roll two-inch sections of hair under into medium-sized hot rollers, working from the front of your hair towards the back. Mist lightly with a medium-hold hair spray. Let rollers cool completely, then unravel carefully. For tight curls, don't brush; instead, fingercomb them to loosen slightly, then finish with one last spritz of hairspray.
- Eyes and brows: Ava's look features well-defined eyes and brows. With a soft black eyeliner, smudge a light line across the upper and lower lash lines. Rather than connecting the point at the outer corners of the eye, line the inner corners instead. This opens up the eyes and adds extra oomph. Ava was known for her long, feathery lashes, which are best recreated with falsies, or a super-defining mascara like Lancôme High Definicils. For brows, bold and natural is key. To get that unplucked look, check out this post.
- Lips: If you're a dark brunette like Ava, try a deep, fiery burgundy red lipstick like this Benefit Silky Finish Lipstick ($16) in Ruby Vibes. If your hair is lighter, go with a color with more pink or cherry undertones, such as that same Benefit lipstick in Nice Knickers.