I had to do more research because this blew my mind. I found this article on Crack.com
One of the defining silver screen sex symbols, Rita Hayworth was born with the much less American-sounding name, Margarita Carmen Cansino.
She was raised in a Spanish dance family, and spent much of her childhood dancing in bars (see? It’s totally a legitimate way to raise a kid.) After Hayworth, er, Cansino’s father moved the family to Hollywood, the 16-year-old signed with Fox studios. She tried a few minor roles, but never got her big break. Fox studios decided not to renew her option.
Columbia Pictures came along and, not being much for political correctness, pretty much told Cansino that her lack of success was due to her being way too Spanish-y. So, Cansino agreed to go along with a few surgical processes, such as:
A. Painful Hairline Electrolysis
Cansino had a low hairline, which pegged her as a Latina. This is the same discrimination which kept Vega out of the World Warrior tournament, until he wore a mask to conceal his hairline.
Cansino submitted to getting electric shocks to kill her follicles and stop them from growing. Keep in mind this is the 1930s, when “anaesthesiology” usually meant “stroking your hand while you chugged from a flask of bourbon.” Next time you have a hot hair curler or a live wire, poke yourself in the forehead with it several hundred times. Now you’re as pretty as Rita Hayworth… well, not yet, you still need some…
B. Skin Lightening
Now that you’ve got fresh shock marks on your forehead, scrub them with this bleach solution. That’s exactly what Cansino did, all over her entire body. Skin lightening is a dangerously unregulated practice even now, but it was significantly worse 70 years ago. But, Cansino wasn’t done yet, before she signed with Columbia, she also had to have a…
C. Hair Color and Name Change
Carmen Cansino became Rita Hayworth. Her dark hair was died auburn. The transformation complete, Rita Hayworth now looked Saltine enough for Columbia:
Not five years before, the young immigrant’s daughter was dancing in smoky bars for coins. After her “honky-fication,” she became the hottest thing in sanctioned Armed Forces self-pleasure. A picture of her kneeling on a bed in a nightgown sold 5 million copies. Her likeness was fashioned on the side of atomic bombs.
Columbia starred Hayworth in many successful pictures, most notably, Gilda. Rita Hayworth found herself dancing with stars like Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly. Eventually, she settled down and married a prince.
I can’t believe people didn’t know this? It’s been generally known stuff about Rita for years…
I have had this picture open in a tag for weeks, so I figured I’d reblog it. Just, the contrast…perform a hugely painful and utter transformation of yourself: it’s scary to think that’s what women are asked to do.
its scary to think that’s what popular women of color are forced to do to assimilate into white culture.
dont think this is a simple case of “go on a diet and you’ll be famous!”
this a complete erasure of this woman’s race so she’d appear more white.
Santoine: I think we reblogged this before, but here it is again
she was so pretty. and this is really horrifying. however, I would like to point out that this was a long time ago, when blackface was still used for the portrayal of black characters. We’ve come a long way. I’m not saying it is not hard for a woman of color to get a job in show business, it probably is. At least harder than for a white woman. But it isn’t nearly as extreme as this.