The Making of a Sex Symbol, 1993

How Mexia’s Anna Nicole Smith became the model of the moment.

It takes a lot to distract Hollywood’s power players when they gather for lunch at Le Dome on Sunset Boulevard. Tight-skirted starlets stroll past their tables ever day, but the middle-aged producers, directors, and agents barely notice. Bent over their $25 entrées, they whisper about movie deals like Roman conspirators.

On this sunny May afternoon, however, history is about to be made. As the doors of Le Dome open, the maître d’ bows slightly for famous model Anna Nicole Smith—formerly Vickie Smith, waitress at Jim’s Krispy Fried Chicken in Mexia (population: 6,933). In Mexia, eighty miles south of Dallas, Vickie smith was a poor little wild girl who dropped out of high school after getting into a fistfight. In Hollywood, Anna Nicole Smith is fifteen minutes late for her lunch reservation because she has spent the morning at Fred Hayman’s on Rodeo Drive, purchasing a $1,400 dress.

This way, Miss Smith,” the maître d’ says, leading the young woman, her linebacker-size bodyguard, and two publicists into the dining room. The world-weary Hollywood types glance at the entourage, and suddenly the conversation stops—totally stops. Smith, in a black-and-white vertically striped bodysuit, clears a path through the closely packed tables as if some invisible force field surrounds her. The dealmakers, men and women, swivel in their seats. Tom Snyder, the talk show host, rises halfway out of his chair to get a better look. A movie producer eating with actress JoBeth Williams murmurs, “Who could

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