Before she launched her career in the acting world and became “The Queen of Comedy,” Lucille Ball was a model.
Lucille Ball had one of the most iconic careers in television history. She paved the way for women working in television for her achievements. One of which was being the first woman to own a production company, Desilu Productions. She was one of the first comedic leads on television.
She destroyed the glass ceiling in television and allowed other shows to garner success as well.
What was her career like before she was fake wailing and getting herself into trouble on “I Love Lucy?”
Lucille Ball Modeling Career
According to IMDb, Ball had worked as a model at Hattie Carnegie’s in New York prior to starting her film career.
She dropped out of school when she was 15 to pursue her passion for acting and art in 1933. By the time she was 22, she had gotten herself a spot as a model.
However, the company had mostly made her model very heavy fur coats. This was because Ball was considered “very thin” at this point in her life. At the time, the modeling world was strict in its body image portrayal and only showed what they deemed as a “perfect body type.”
At the time, her hair was actually bleached blond and she did not have her iconic curly red hair. In reality, Lucille Ball was a brunette, not a redhead. Her stylist on the show called it a nice “golden apricot” color.
According to HuffPost, Lucille Ball’s look at the time could best be described as a “casual American look.” She was often seen in the fit-and-flare silhouette as well as jeans. She is often credited as helping to launch the casual trend at the time. In “I Love Lucy” her character was always wearing American-based clothes and clothed as the basic housewife. She was meant to be relatable to audiences.
She slowly began to incorporate more stylish features a few decades later when the ’70s brought some more exuberant looks to the forefront.
This would include sparkles, feathers, and a level of glam the ’50s would have gawked at in disbelief.
Ball and Physical Comedy
Lucille Ball became known for her physical comedy skills on “I Love Lucy.” She wasn’t afraid to cover herself in chocolate or eggs to get a laugh from an audience.
One of her very first roles was actually as an uncredited Goldwyn Girl in the movie “Roman Scandals” from 1933. She played a small role as a slave girl in the movie. It had also given her the start of a career that allowed her to make people laugh on her own terms.
“Eddie Cantor and Sam Goldwyn found that a lot of the really beautiful girls didn’t want to do some of the things I did—put on mud packs and scream and run around and fall into pools. I said I’d love to do the scene with the crocodile. He didn’t have teeth, but he could sure gum you to death. I didn’t mind getting messed up. That’s how I got into physical comedy,” Ball said to People in 1980.
The show explored slapstick humor in ways that were entirely new. It also was the first sitcom with a multi-camera setup and a live studio audience. All of it helped contribute to the realness and uniqueness of the sitcom.