Polaire (1874-1939)


Pauline Emilie-Marie Bouchard (1874-1939), stagename Polaire/Miss Polaire (Pole Star) was a French singer and actress.

Toulouse Lautrec portrayed her on a magazine cover in 1895, making a name for herself she tried her luck in New York without succes. When she returned to Paris she went on to act in serious theatre. Friend of the prominent couple formed by Willy and Colette – co-authors of the Claudine series -, she obtains in 1902 at the theater the role of Claudine in Claudine in Paris at Bouffes-Parisiens , which is a huge success, and occurs in the United States. in 1910 , then in London .

When aging she struggled to find roles on stage, she returned to films in 1922 but had to take the lesser parts. Her last movie was in 1935, she passed away in 1939 (age 65) and was buried at the Cimetière du Centre, in the eastern Paris suburb of Champigny-sur-Marne.

What made her stand out during her career were her skills in using her appearance to attract attention. As café singer in her early days she wore very short skits and cropped her hair, this fashion found its way into society in 1920. She became known for her tight laced corsets, her striking appearance both off and on stage contributed to her celebrity. She even allowed to be presented as the ‘ugliest woman in the world’ and departed on a transatlantic liner accompanied by a ‘black slave” . When returning to the states in 1913 she brought a diamond collared pet pig and wore a nose ring. People talked about her, and she knew this was what would made her become known by everyone.

I feel her presence on this site is needed because she knew how to use fetishes (way before we found out the term). She used fashion, strange appearances and different roles to confuse gender traditions. It took me some time to built a collection I felt does justice to her past and presentation.

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