Life in Pictures: Celebrating the Legacy of Jackie Kennedy Onassis

Jackie Kennedy Onassis is the definition of timeless grace. Through her contribution to the American cultural scene, she proved that she was so much more than just the

First Lady of the United States or a fashion icon.

The vintage photos take you back in time to the era where everyone aspired to be like her or aspired to wed her. There have been too many ups and downs in Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’s life before and after her marriage to President John F. Kennedy. To celebrate the legacy of Jackie O., let’s peer into the rare vintage even during the worst of times.

She Grew Up as Jaqueline Lee Bouvier

Jackie Kennedy came from the elite class as her father was a Wall Street agent, and her mother was a well-known public figure. Her glamorous style was her trademark, and you would never find her in an unfashionable attire. Aside from her fashionable lifestyle and intellect, she also cared immensely for animals.

She Was A Fashion Icon at Every Age

In this picture, young Jackie Bouvier makes us stop in our tracks; look at how regal she looks. Her attitude and composure show that she was born to be in front of the camera. The camera indeed loved her. Horse riding was a favorite hobby of Jackie’s mother, and Jackie herself joined the sport at the young age of one. She went on to win several competitions. She was regularly featured in The New York Times for her achievements.

She Could Charm Everyone In Front Of Her

Jackie was a master of many trades. As a child, Jackie was an avid reader, with her favorite characters being Mowgli, Robin Hood, and Scarlett O’Hara. Imagine Jackie had read books from way above her age group. However, this did not mean she was introverted; she was just as naughty as she was intelligent, as described by her kindergarten teacher Ms. Platt.

She Often Got Into Trouble

Jacky led a carefree life. At school, she was the naughtiest student, which resulted in herself visiting the headmaster quite often. As shocking as that might be, it is entirely true that Jackie got a D for disrupting a geography class and had to be kicked out. We wonder what type of mischief she created in class that would cause her to get in such big trouble. We find it hard to believe that the elegant Jackie Kennedy had caused havoc in the school.

Her Parent’s Divorce Was Hard On Her

Her lively persona was not enough to help her with the trauma of her Parent’s divorce. She was only ten-years-old when her life turned upside down. It was challenging for Jackie to cope with the divorce, which was considered a stigma in those times. The family’s religious background of Catholicism did not make the situation any better, which led to Jackie becoming detached from the world and becoming an introvert.

She Admired Art In All Its Forms

As we mentioned above, Jackie was a master of all trades; she learned French and even performed ballet at the Metropolitan Opera House; furthermore, she was also a talented writer. Throughout her teenage years, Jackie dipped her toes in different arts such as poetry, essay writing, and a literature award-winning cartoon strip. It’s a fact that Jackie was talented in everything while also being jaw-dropping beautiful.

The Turning Point

Jackie fell in love with Paris. It was in the City of Romance that she truly blossomed into a young woman. “I learned not to be ashamed of a real hunger for knowledge, something I had always tried to hide, and I came home glad to start in here again but with a love for Europe that I am afraid will never leave me,” she later recalled. Jackie got the best opportunities in life; things were more accessible to her than other girls. She got into Vassar College in New York and later studied in Paris for a year. Paris holds an important place in her life. It is where she transformed into the woman that we all know, the fashionista Jackie. She claims that Paris taught her to embrace her love for knowledge rather than suppressing it and polished her dressing sense tremendously.

The Start Of Her Writing Career

George Washington University was Jackie’s next choice after returning from Paris. She continued her studies to become a writer. After graduating in 1951, she took part in and won a writing competition held by Vogue the magazine. She wrote the essay on Oscar Wilde, Charles Baudelaire, and Serge Diaghilev as people she wished she had known.

I always wanted to be some kind of writer or newspaper reporter. But after college… I did other things.

Jacqueline Bouvier

Vogue magazine, impressed by her writing skills, offered her a unique one-year internship in Paris.

She Did Not Accept Vogue’s Offer

As much as Jackie wanted to pursue the top fashion magazine offer, she could not do so because of her parents’ wishes. They weren’t comfortable with the idea of Jackie going back to Paris as they feared she wouldn’t come back. Her parents forced her to refuse the offer and go on a tour to Europe and later get married. However, Jackie had set high goals in her life, and settling as a housewife was not one of them

Washington Times-Herald Hired Her As A Journalist

Jackie never backed down from being recognized for her worth as a writer; she thrived to work at a place that would appreciate her talent and appreciate her mind, so she took a job in Washington Times-Herald as a journalist after her tour in Europe. She never disappointed with her work; she reported many iconic historical events such as the crowning of Queen Elizabeth II and the inaugural function for Dwight Eisenhower. She also interviewed Richard Nixon, the President of the United States, without knowing what the future had in store for her.

She Almost Became A Husted

As her career blossomed, she was noticed by a young bachelor by the name of John… Husted…. no, it wasn’t Kennedy. He was a stockbroker, which meant he had money, plus he was good-looking. The engagement did not work out, though. She broke the engagement for the reason that Husted was a bore. Later in 1953, she crossed paths with Jack Kennedy, a young and aspiring politician. They both clicked and soon fell in love and got engaged to be married. She was dressed elegantly in a ball gown, known as the Anne Lowe, for her wedding, adding to the details with a lace veil.

She Had A Miscarriage 

The couple had happy times at the beginning of their marriage. They would travel, spending a lot of time together although it was for work. While Kennedy lost the election for vice president, Jackie was pregnant, but the pregnancy resulted in a miscarriage. This incident brought a lot of sorrow and turmoil in Jackie’s life, distracting herself entirely from her surroundings. However, she wasn’t the one to lie low for long. Therefore, she busied herself with her husband’s political campaign. The couple was blessed with their first child ‘Caroline Kennedy’ in 1957.

Motherhood Gave Her A New Perspective

After her husband became the new President of the US, she made it her responsibility to care for, support, and be there for her husband and family. She held her head high as she fulfilled all her first lady duties. No matter what, she dressed to perfection always. Jackie was never out of style; through this, she became an ideal for many American women who would look up to her for style tips. She became the face of American fashion.

Jackie As The First Lady

Jackie represented the US with her iconic sense of style and fashion. If she was the first lady, she made sure she dressed up as a First Lady. She would wear designs from all over Europe, especially French designers, despite her fathers-in-law’s worries over her non- American fashion choices. Her father-in-law helped out by requesting the famous American designer Oleg Cassini to design Jackie’s clothes. His clothes were an American favorite back in the 1960s. Oleg created the most elegant beige suit for her that made Americans go crazy in awe after Jackie was seen wearing it.

Jackie In The Pink Dress

Jackie became a fashion inspiration for ladies all over America and beyond since her husband was elected. She would wear clothes that would ooze elegance and class while being reasonably priced. The pink dress she wore for the French President at a dinner hosted by Jackie herself became a rage. She wanted to convince the French President to let the Mona Lisa visit America. Her love of art has been evident throughout her life. She wanted the ordinary American people to experience it as well. Andre Malraux failed to refuse to her charm.

Symbolizing Fashion

The pink dress started a trend that is relevant to this day. Every woman of her time would copy her clothes. She left behind the puffy sleeves, gloves, and petticoats by keeping it simple yet classy. Her fashion choices are an inspiration to this day. The Jackie trademark of the A-line cut is used by various designers to bring her essence in their clothes. She preferred pastel colors, coupled with the powder pinks and blues for her outfits. She rarely wore colors that were bright or dark.

Her Love for Shoes And Accessories

Jackie had a figure with which she could wear anything and look good in it. She would keep it simple always even at important events, the maximum she would accessorize it with a brooch or a pearl necklace. Due to her height, the First Lady would be apprehensive of wearing high heels as not to look taller than other politicians. She was particular about her shoes; she knew what she liked, so she expected to get her the exact thing. Jackie O described her shoe choice by mentioning she likes shoes from Eugenia of Florence and preferred a subtly pointed toe. 

Passion For Horseback Riding

As we mentioned before, Jackie had a love for horse riding that she got from her mother; she continued her hobby even at the White House, riding horses in the evening with her kids. While Jackie was on an official visit to Pakistan, the then President of Pakistan, Muhammad Ayub Khan, gifted her a beautiful horse. Even the Iranian President was mesmerized by her skills, granting her a necklace and his ten-year-old horse. She, however, was apprehensive about accepting the gifts.

Strong Genes

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis lives on in her grandchildren. Her granddaughter Rose Schlossberg is carbon copy of Jackie as she has an uncanny resemblance to her grandmother. Rose is the daughter of Jackie and John Kennedy’s eldest daughter, Caroline Kennedy and Edwin Schlossberg. Rose is a 27 year old New York comedian who with her friend Mara Nelson-Greenberg launched End Times Girls Club, a six-episode web series from Above Average was actually inspired by Rose’s time at New York University.

The Privileged Life As A First Lady

Jackie was more than ecstatic with the President’s gifts; she accepted them even with the million eyes judging her. Sardar became her favorite gift ever, requesting her husband to let the horse clears customs too. He joked that the whole government had dropped everything to give special attention to Sardar the horse. He, however, did not refuse his darling wife despite getting into trouble with the government officials.

No One Disrespects Sardar

Not being able to get a seat on a military aircraft while Sardar, the First Lady’s horse got one, made Republican Congressman Walter McVey furious. The congressman complained about it by saying that a horse was more influential than a congressman. This comment did not go well with the First Lady. Later, McVey had to apologize to Jackie Kennedy for making fun or complaining about her horse. Jackie loved her horse Sardar to bits. Here you can see her riding Sardar..

Jackie was the Queen of Diplomacy

Being the President’s wife, Jackie had to don many hats, one of which was serving as a goodwill ambassador. The former US First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt set this precedent. Part of her duties was traveling on behalf of the President and creating alliances in the country’s best interest. Her trip to Vienna, Paris, and Greece was so successful diplomatically that the President himself sent her a note of gratitude. Jack wrote that she is a tactful and charismatic individual and an asset to the nation.

She Knew Many Languages

Jackie O was a woman of many talents. Not only was she aware of many languages, but she was interested in understanding foreign customs. Not many people know that she could speak French, Spanish, Italian, and Latin fluently. That’s why she was successful at all her foreign missions. Within no time, she became a role model for women around America due to her elegance and articulateness. However, we never expected that her life was going to take such a drastic turn.

Staying Strong Amidst a Crisis

Even during her life’s darkest hours, Jackie didn’t disappoint the nation that looked up to her for guidance. No one knew why such a popular president was assassinated. There were many questions than answers. In such a crisis, Jackie, the former First Lady, and the grieving widow had to remain strong and help her little children adjust to their new lives without their dad. She decided to move on but was determined to keep her husband’s legacy alive. Therefore, she established the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. In 1968, Jackie married Aristotle Onassis.

The Supremely Talented Jackie O

After JFK’s unfortunate demise, Jackie remained in the limelight because of her many philanthropic ventures and emerged as an iconic national figure. She had already done a lot for America as a First Lady, and one of her most significant achievements was her contribution to reviving the real American culture and arts. She had renovated the White House while she was living there. She dedicated her life to promoting American arts and culture at every possible forum.

Who can Forget that Camel Coat?

While she was the First Lady of America, Jackie organized many dinners for famous public figures and diplomats. From scientists to artists, musicians to poets, and political figures, the White House welcomed everyone. She had this brilliant trait of connecting with people from all walks of life almost effortlessly. Her choice of dresses always made headlines more than her activities, though. Her love for camel coats remains etched in the minds of her fans. She made camel coats a raging trend back then, and it still is, as they say, a good fashion trend never goes out of style.

Yet Another Tragedy

When Jackie remarried, almost five years after the death of her husband, many were disappointed. Her marriage to Aristotle Onassis outraged the public. For Americans, she was their iconic First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, and they wanted her to remain so always. However, we believe that she made the right decision to move on. But. Tragedy struck her again when Jackie’s second husband also died early and left her in mourning. She again had to pick up the pieces of her life and start over. She decided to become an editor.

Becoming the Ultimate Diva

Jackie wasn’t one to be the stereotypical grieving widow. She was too strong to let any tragedy push her back. She moved on by joining Viking Press as a consulting editor and revived her old passion for journalism. Her experience and her status as the former First Lady helped her in the new job. Later on, she joined Doubleday publishing as the senior editor and continued working there until she died in 1994. Many bestselling books of that era were published while she was the editor, such as Michael Jackson’s Moonwalk, and Larry Gognick’s The Cartoon History of the Universe.

Hounded by Paparazzi

TJackie O. was a fashion icon and had a charismatic personality. That’s why wherever she went, photographers followed her. Even when she was going through her life’s biggest tragedy after JFK’s death, she was photographed relentlessly. One pestering paparazzi Ron Galella stalked her for years, and she filed a case of harassment and breach of privacy against him. Jackie won the case, and the photographer wasn’t allowed to stay anywhere near the former First Lady or her children within 30 feet distance.

Farewell to our Beloved First Lady

After remarrying, Jackie chose to settle down and stay away from the public eye. She wanted to enjoy some time alone and rebuild her life without having photographers capturing her every move. Jackie wanted to give her children a normal life. She enjoyed her newfound privacy. That’s why there aren’t many pictures of her from the last few years of her life. Nevertheless, she will always remain the most admired First Lady Americans ever had.

I always wanted to be some kind of writer or newspaper reporter. But after college… I did other things.

Jackie Kennedy

This is the last-known photo of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis clicked in 1994.

The Ultimate Diva

Jackie Kennedy Onassis continues to live in Americans’ hearts even today. American first ladies remain in the limelight always for being one of the most important public figures in the country. However, Jackie Kennedy was an exception because she used her fame and popularity to bring to light many different social causes. She indeed was much more than a First Lady. She was a diva, a fashion icon, multi-talented artist, journalist, philanthropist, and a symbol of strength for women worldwide.

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