Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sophia Loren - Icon of the 1960s

Cropped screenshot of Sophia Loren from the fi...Image via Wikipedia

Sophia Loren - A Woman Born Wise by Tatiana Sidorova

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Sophia Loren is someone truly special in a row of the world's famous glamorous women. Her inner beauty and nobility, the warmth of her personality, and the fascinating story of her life and success make her an outstanding role model for millions of women.

She did not seem to have taken anything in her life for granted. Her beauty, family, success and wealth have been the result of hard work, determination and her inner vitality. Sophia is an actress, writer and designer. She looks at her life as a process of self-discovery.

"...The two big advantages I had at birth were to have been born wise and to have been born in poverty...It gave me one big advantage: none of my troubles or problems as an adult could throw me."

Sophia was born in a charity ward for unmarried women in Rome in 1934. The name entered in the hospital records was Sofia Scicolone. Her father Riccardo Scicolone officially recognized the child, but refused to marry the mother.

Loren still has vivid memories of her younger years.

"When I was a child, fear was common to my life - fear of having nothing to eat, fear of the other children taunting me at school because I was illegitimate, and particularly fear of the big bombers appearing overhead and dropping their lethal burst from the sky" ("Sophia: Living and Loving - Her Own Story by A. E. Hotchner).

Loren was a very young girl, when she saw her first Hollywood films. This is how she describes it: "I was suffused with the feeling that that's what I was put on earth to do, to act, to express myself, to let out whatever feelings I had inside; and perhaps a need to escape anonymity" (Sophia: Living and Loving - Her Own Story).

At the age of thirteen Sophia Loren entered the Queen of the Sea beauty contest in Naples. She was chosen one of the Queen's twelve Princesses. Her prize included a train ticket to Rome. Sophia and her mother took this chance and went to Rome to look for work as film extras.

Sophia' first work was posing for "fumetti" (photoplays) and postcards. She met the successful producer Carlo Ponti through her participation in a beauty contest. Carlo Ponti immediately felt the magic of her personality, what her later described as "a kind of illumination" about her.

However it took a long time before Sophia was offered her first role in a film. She failed the screen tests one after the other, and it seemed as if there was no way for her to become an actress. She was not a classical beauty: with her nose too long, her mouth too large, her chin and her hips too broad. What the cameramen could not see at first, was that the total of all her face parts, her body language and her inner beauty made her stunning. Remembering the difficulties of the early days of her career, Sophia said:

"I was so boldly confident about myself...I have never sold myself short. I have never judged myself by other people's standards...At sixteen I already knew certain self-truths: I was a survivor; I relied on myself and no one else; I would get to wherever I was destined to go and it was futile to try to alter my fate"("Sophia: Living and Loving - Her Own Story by A. E. Hotchner).

Sofia's acting career began at the age of eighteen in 1952 with her role in a film "Africa Under the Seas". The film did not create a sensation, but it did provide a good start for the young actress. The dream of a skinny little girl, sitting in a dark movie house, was finally to come true.

In Hollywood Sophia Loren won over the public with her acting performances and beauty, and in 1962 won the first best actress Oscar ever given for a performance in a foreign film.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association gave her the Golden Globe for World Film Favorite in 1964, 1965 and 1969. Among her numerous awards is an honorary Cesar (France's Oscar) for lifetime achievement and an honorary Oscar as "one of the genuine treasures of world cinema." She graced numerous magazine covers and television specials.

She was soon referred to as an international celebrity. In this status, Sophia had been associated with the House of Dior, Valentino and Giorgio Armani. Her name itself has become a brand of her Italian beauty, glamour and taste. Sofia seems to have a natural ability to enhance every dress she wears.

In 1980, Loren established her first entrepreneurial venture by launching the perfume bearing her name. She also launched her signature line of eyeglasses, promoting them as a fashion item. They became a permanent part of her look.

Sophia Loren is known for her devotion to many charities. For her generosity she received a NATO/ShoWest award for lifetime achievement in 1996. This award is a recognition of her work on behalf of the National Alliance for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Maltreatment, and her long service to the United Nations as a goodwill ambassador.

The lesson we can learn from the biography of Sophia Loren is priceless. It can be summarized in her own words: "I firmly believe we can make our own miracles if we believe strongly enough in ourselves and our mission on earth."

Tatiana Sidorova is the owner of the website:

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