Marilyn Monroe is an enigma, and for good reason. Whether she's praised for her wit, her style, her seemingly accidental sex appeal, or her talent, she's truly earned her spot as an icon.

However, Monroe's rise to fame was far from easy or even fast: The actress unintentionally posed nude for Playboy, which caused issues in her career, and reportedly battled major demons

Here's how the Hollywood icon went from Norma Jeane to, well, Marilyn Monroe.

Norma Jeane Mortenson — aka Marilyn Monroe — started modeling in 1945.

Monroe was introduced to Emmeline Snively, the owner of Blue Book Modeling Agency, when she was 19. She was then told that she had to enroll in modeling school and "fix" her naturally brown, curly hair by straightening it and dyeing it blonde.

Monroe's now-infamous nudes were taken in 1949, after she was too broke to afford rent.

Marilyn Monroe playboy nudes
photo: Limited Runs

After failing to book more than small background roles, Monroe was totally broke. She turned to photographer Tom Kelley in 1949, and was paid $50 for the shots. The photos were eventually used in Playboy's first edition in 1953.

Monroe got her first major acting credits for "The Asphalt Jungle" and "All About Eve."

Marilyn Monroe in "Asphalt Jungle"
photo: Wiki Commons

Both films were critically acclaimed, and though her roles in both were fairly small and received little screen time, her performance was praised.

In 1951, Monroe was invited to present an award at the Oscars.

Monroe presented the award for Sound Recording to "All About Eve." It was the only Oscars appearance she'd ever make.

Monroe kept being typecast as an aloof, sexy blonde.

Marilyn Monroe blonde bombshell
photo: Wiki Commons

The 1952 film "We're Not Married!" reportedly only cast Monroe to have her in bathing suits, while her role opposite Cary Grant in "Monkey Business" consisted of her playing a sexy secretary.

By 1953, Monroe was a star. 

Marilyn Monroe Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend
photo: Wiki Commons

With appearances in "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" and "How to Marry a Millionaire," Monroe was one of the biggest stars of the time. 

Monroe's white dress shot was actually a publicity stunt.

Marilyn Monroe white dress
photo: Wiki Commons

Monroe's infamous subway grate moment was actually a major publicity stunt. While shooting "Seven Year Itch," the studio decided to hype up publicity by doing a shoot of Monroe on Lexington Avenue in New York. While the shots didn't make it into the final cut of the movie due to the 2,000 onlookers of the now-iconic moment, Monroe's status as a sex symbol was more than solidified.

"The Misfits" was Monroe's final film.

Marilyn Monroe final film
photo: Wiki Commons

She starred opposite Montgomery Clift and Clark Gable. It was Gable's last film performance, as well.

Another film — "Something's Got To Give" — was shot after "The Misfits" but was ultimately never made, after Monroe was dismissed from the movie over her continual absence from set (reportedly due to illnesses). Monroe was set to be the first major Hollywood star to appear totally nude in a feature film, though that honor eventually went to another actress.

Monroe's rendition of "Happy Birthday" to John F. Kennedy was her last major public appearance.

Marilyn Monroe Mr. President
photo: Wiki Commons

The dress reportedly cost over $12,000 in 1962, and was sold for $1.3 million in 1999, only to be re-sold for $4.8 million in 2016.

Next time it's being sold again, mind giving us a ring (and some time to pool our coins together)?

Despite Monroe's rise to fame, she had very little control over herself or the projects she took.

photo: Giphy

Monroe was contractually obligated to star in certain movies and was reportedly mistreated by men in the film industry, including her male costars. From her very first photos being sold without her consent to her eventual superstardom, her story doesn't seem all that far off from what female stars are put through today.

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