Even before this month we had already seen Lindsay Lohan half-naked. However, her recently leaked shoot for the January issue of Playboy magazine has garnered lots of attention for the actress, the first roughly related to her career since her brief stint in the fashion industry before her last stint in rehab. The world wanted to know: would Lindsay flash her legendary "fire crotch" for $1 million?
Obviously the money was a big draw to going topless, but for her much-talked-about idolizing of Marilyn Monroe, the cash-strapped Lindsay did little to embrace the opportunity and make it the type of event that could relaunch her career, much like posing for Playboy launched Marilyn's career decades ago.
Eternal playboy Hugh Hefner has gone on record saying that even though the Lindsay issue is breaking sales records, he was hesitant when the actress first came onboard. "I kind of had mixed emotions about it initially," he told E! News. "And then it turned into something bigger than life."
Hugh, guilty of a Marilyn fixation himself, convinced Lindsay that a tribute to the red-velvet, Tom Kelley photos of Marilyn Monroe as Playboy's very first Playmate would be the most memorable. Lindsay, of course, looks full-bodied and beautiful, but overall, the pictorial comes off uninspired -- like we have all seen it before, even though we knew we were seeing a tribute. Lindsay has already done a half-nude Marilyn tribute for New York magazine. And even then it was not that great.
If Lindsay wants to be remembered as a sex symbol, she must embrace her own sex appeal and stop trying to recapture Marilyn's. Not only is Lindsay closer to being a Liz Taylor protégé in the pop culture canon (the self-destructive ingénue whose tumultuous personal life overshadows her once-praised acting talent), but walking in Marilyn's hooker heels will only lead to prematurely posing six feet under.
In her Huffington Post piece last week, Margaret Cho wrote:
The sadness I feel about Lindsay has more to do with the media's casting her as Marilyn Monroe, swaddled in red velvet, sad eyes and vermillion lips, and framing her story as if it has already ended. These magazines constantly show her as if she is already dead, and I feel scared and freaked out and mad, like why can't they just give this kid a fucking chance?
One man who did give this freckled kid a fucking chance was director Richard Phillips, whose short film Lindsay Lohan featured a brief but fierce performance by the actress, evoking a young Sharon Stone as a Bond girl. This summer the art film was presented at the Venice Biennale by the Garage Center for Contemporary Culture.
Lindsay has never been one shy of taking risks. "She's just so daring. She's a character in herself and she is very good at it," Tyler Shield told ArtInfo. The Hollywood photographer depicted Lindsay yielding a knife close to her face, a kind of high-art version of this photo. "I shoot her a different way than I think anybody else shoots her, and I think she knows that."
So why not have Shields shoot her for Playboy? Why not show Lindsay at her edgiest, glamorous, most dangerous self-sabotage? Give her the power to claim her own tragedy and make something lasting out of it.
A version of this post originally appeared on Confessions of a Boy Toy.