Beauty and the Geek

My friend Patrycja Slawuta reminded me today about a  great woman who is my real idol and inspiration. Patrycja posted on her Facebook profile an article 12 Historical Women Who Gave No F*cks. Hedy Lamarr was certainly one of the most stunning person I’ve ever heard about. But what do You know about Hedy? If the answer is ‘nothing', it’s high time to make up for those lost years. So let me introduce You Miss Hedy Lamarr.

How Beauty changed the film industry

Lamarr wanted to be an actress since her childhood. And she achieved her goal very quickly. By the age of eighteen, she was busy breaking the rules for what women were allowed to do in a film. In the 1933 in Czech movie Ecstasy, she appeared fully naked in a skinny-dipping scene and faked an onscreen orgasm. So she changed the movie industry forever. She worked with Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy and Lana Turner and she had been known as one of the most beautiful women that ever lived. But Hedy wasn’t a bimbo at all. She even said that: "Any girl can be glamorous. All you have to do is stand still and look stupid”, but she wasn’t stupid. Hedy was a GEEK.

Everything happens for a reason

But a geek married a jerk who was a Nazi actually. Fritz Mandl was said to be extremely possessive and controlling of his bride.  He tried to buy back all the copies of the Ecstasy that he could. It was said that even Benito Mussolini had a copy that he refused to sell.
He forbade Hedy from pursuing her film career and kept her a virtual prisoner in their home. He also demanded Lamarr accompany him to meetings with business associates where military technologies were discussed. Everything happens for a reason. Hedy listened to those discussions very carefully.

How GEEK changed our communication

Fortunately, she left her jealous husband and moved to Hollywood to resume her acting career. But it’s still not the reason why I’ve wanted to introduce her to You. The actress made a lesser-known contribution to wireless communication when she tried to defuse a potential military threat during World War II. To prevent remote-controlled torpedoes from being hijacked, she helped develop an early version of spread spectrum communication, which is part of the basis for wireless technologies such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Almost three years before Lamarr died in 2000, the Electronic Frontier Foundation gave her an award for her contribution to wireless communications.

On the hiring of men over women in computer science roles, Janet Abbate, a professor at Virginia Tech, says, "It's kind of the classic thing. You pick people who look like what you think a computer person is, which is probably a teenage boy that was in the computer club in high school."
Hedy Lamarr certainly did not "look like what you think a computer person" would look like but she was a computer genius.

3 things we can learn from Hedy

1)   Any girl can be glamorous. But You can’t stay still and look stupid!
2)   You can be beautiful and You don’t have to be a bimbo! You can be a beauty GEEK!
3)   You don't have to be a tech whiz to change technology. You don’t need an education to change the world. Just be brave and curious!
Hedy was awesome, wasn’t she? And so can You!

Painting: Hedy Lammar
Photo: Beauty

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