HOLLYWOOD HAS displayed sheer technical genius in the science of moviemaking, but in its attitudes toward sex appeal, the film industry still clings backwardly to the age-old maxim that brains don’t belong in blondes-or, for that matter, in sexpots of any other shade. Hence, you find Jayne Mansfield, who professes to an I. Q. of 156, acting in public like a nitwit. Jill St. John, who measures 162 on the intelligence quotient chart, is far better known for her 36-21-35 figure. And so it goes, until we run into a girl named Lilli Shan.
Offering challenge to colour camera, Lilli Shan’s glowing epidermis is rendered skilfully by RBK Photography (opposite). Even in monochrome (right, below), no one would guess she rates brains as her greatest asset.
Lilli, a Canadian-born blonde who wanted to become a writer until the magnetic pull of Hollywood interrupted her studies at U.C.L.A., is a not-so-terribly-rare combination of beauty and brains. She spent most of her youth reading Plato, Cervantes, Jean Paul Sartre, and other "deep" novelists and philosophers, when most girls her age were seeking entertainment at drive-in movies and then not even paying any attention to the movies.
When the Hollywood boys got a look at her, Lilli was swept into a whirlpool of minor successes in television and modelling. Stints in TV commercials, and appearances on the Steve Allen and Bob Hope shows, came in rapid succession-until Lilli started spouting her thoughts on the early writings of French author Antoine de Saint-Exupery. And then, like an autumn cold front, an icy chill swept away all of Lilli’s summer sunshine, just at a time when it appeared a movie contract was in order.
Fortunately, Lilli is made of firm stuff emotionally as well as physically, and she refuses to be disturbed by a "temporary" halt in her career. By the time a few photographs like these get around to the movie moguls, she figures, who’s going to notice what she has tucked away between her ears?