In what is most likely the best thing that could possibly happen after last night’s disappointing mid-term election (REALLY, right now, Tennessee? REALLY?), Entertainment Weekly has published an interview with Italian soap opera queen Sophia Loren that discusses the iconic image of Sophia and undeniable bombshell Jayne Mansfield. The infamous photo was taken in 1957 at a party Paramount was hosting in Sophia’s honor and if you’ll need me, I’ll be over here seething in latent teenage angst because I could barely get my parents to throw me a birthday party.
In case you have never seen the photo (probably because you have been living under a rock or on another planet or are “too good” for paparazzi scandals), it features Sophia and Jayne sitting next to one another at ultra-classy super-fancy Hollywood dinner table. Jayne happened to be not-so-surprisingly sporting a mind-bogglingly low cut dress for the event and Sophia is somehow managing to stare directly at Jayne’s desperate-to-escape nipples without actually staring directly at them. This is some advanced-level staring. I thank Harvey Levin (he’s the TMZ guy) every DAY that photographer Joe Shere was there to capture a photograph of the side-eye heard around the world, over and over again, year after year, all the time, constantly.
In EW’s interview with Sophia, she tells a slightly different story. Jayne was the last to arrive to the soiree and that is when, according to Sophia, “For me, that was when it got amazing.” I’ll say! Upon arrival, Jayne made a beeline for the honoree’s table, sat with Sophia, and here is where her story diverges just a bit from the photographic evidence. Sophia explains, “I’m staring at her nipples because I am afraid they are about to come onto my plate. In my face you can see the fear. I’m so frightened that everything in her dress is going to blow—BOOM!—and spill all over the table.” I would be willing to believe her if we didn’t have the picture to prove otherwise. I have both been around a woman who is dangerously close to experiencing a wardrobe malfunction and been the woman having the wardrobe malfunction. The look of fear women share in that moment is wide-eyed with mouth agape, not tight lips and eye slits. I’m just saying!
I think Sophia should own this picture! It was her party and Jayne showed up and stole the show in a low-cut dress and the first incarnation of the #freethenips campaign. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and this one is speaking volumes. Sophia’s expression in this picture is absolutely legendary and I have spent hours practicing Sophia’s exact expression in the mirror because I know, I just KNOW, that the moment is going to come where I will need to throw some Sophia Loren Mega-Shade at someone, and I will be damned if I am not ready. Do you wanna try me?