Paris Icons: Jane Birkin

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Paris Icons: Jane Birkin
This is the second article in a series on famous residents of Paris It’s said that Jane Birkin ⁠— the long-legged, waif-like beauty of the 1960s ⁠— was so unsure of her looks, despite being the epitome of everything young girls aspired to be, that she hid an eyeliner pencil under her pillow. She was teased at school for her androgynous body, but it was her intense love affair with Serge Gainsbourg, who claimed that he was afraid of breasts, that finally made Birkin realize that she was loved and beautiful. There was never a love affair for Birkin that ever matched the one she had with Gainsbourg. After Gainsbourg died, Birkin’s 11-year partnership with Jacques Doillon ended. Doillon famously said that he could not compete with Birkin’s grief for Gainsbourg. Birkin embraced France and Paris with a passion that never abated. The love affair was reciprocated. Jane Birkin is as much a French icon as a British one.   View this post on Instagram   A post shared by Jane Birkin Daily (@janebirkindaily) She was born in London in 1946; Birkin’s mother was the acclaimed stage actress Judy Campbell, Noel Coward’s muse. Campbell’s beauty eclipsed Birkin who felt “diluted” by her. Birkin recalls people asking if she was Judy Cambell’s daughter, and when she said yes, to be told with obvious disappointment that she didn’t really look like her. Birkin’s first film part was in the Graham Greene play, “Carving a Statue.” With Birkin’s customary dry self-deprecation, she recalled that she’d admitted that she had forgotten all the text and was told it didn’t matter as she was to “play a deaf and dumb girl.”  Birkin remarked, “So what good luck. I got my first part by making a fool of myself.” Birkin with her second daughter Charlotte Gainsbourg in 2010 (C) Olivier Pacteau, CC BY 2.0
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Lead photo credit : Jane Birkin (C) Roland Godefroy, CC BY 3.0

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After some dreary years in the Civil Service, Marilyn realized her dream of living in Paris. She arrived in Paris in December 1967 and left in July 1969. From there she lived in Mallorca, London, Oman, and Dubai, where she moved with her husband and young son and worked for Gulf News, Khaleej Times and freelanced for Emirates Woman magazine. During this time she was also a ground stewardess for Middle East Airlines. For the past 18 years they've lived on the Isle of Wight.