I was born in Rosebush, West Germany. It was a very little town, with a population of around 50. I stayed there until I was 4, then my mother took me to America. As a child in America, I spent most of my time in private boarding schools. The remaining time I lived with my mother in New York City.
When I was 12 years of age, my mother took me back to Germany to meet my father for the very first time. He didn"t speak English and I didn"t speak German, but my mother had left me with him anyway, and she flew back to America.
I lived with my father maybe 6 months then he passed me on to my grandmother. I lived back and forth for a while, then I was placed back into boarding schools.
When I was only 14, I started looking for work to support myself. My first job was working in a laundry, then I moved to another job working for a hotel (I ended up living there too.) At this time, I began to pursue a modeling career. I soon became very successful as a model in Europe and was beginning to create an image for myself.
When I was 21, I moved back to America to further my career in modeling. Believe it or not, I had no idea I was a Marilyn Monroe look-a-like. Until my trip to the United States, I"d never even seen one Marilyn Monroe film let alone know who she was! I found that modeling in the United States was lot harder than in Europe. I was often told that most of my photos were, "too Marilyn Monroe." I still didn"t see this similarity. I"d always seen myself as myself.
After 3 months I was so broke I desperately needed a job. Luckily, there was an ad looking for models. I sent my portfolio to the company in California, and they called me 2 weeks later saying they wanted me to enter a beauty contest in New York. It was not really a "job", but because I lived in New York and there was always the possibility I could place, I decided to give it a shot.
When I arrived there I was quite surprised. There were tons of girls running around in blonde wigs, fake eyelashes, and make-up applied in layers. I didn"t know that this was one of the biggest International Look-a-Like Contests sponsored by 20th Century Fox ever held! After a while I soon realized this was not a beauty contest; it was a Marilyn Monroe look-a-like contest! Being unaware of this, I did not come made-up as Marilyn. I came as myself. Despite that fact however, I ended up being the first place winner! My prize was a 1 year contract with a look-a-like agency in California.
I soon began making numerous appearances on television programs, magazine covers, talk shows, advertisements and commercials, and quickly established a reputation as a highly sought-after Marilyn Monroe impersonator.
After that, no one knew me as Bettina. No matter what I did, I was compared to or did as Marilyn. References to our similarities were also made a few times in Germany, but no where near as many times as in America. The thing is that even though there was all this talk about how much I looked like Marilyn, I still didn"t even know who she was! No one understands what I went through; people believing I looked like someone and my not even knowing who she was!
From that time on everyone wanted me to be Marilyn. And soon that would be my new name. I had lost many potential jobs because of the fuss people made over this. My modeling career went down-hill and basically came to a stop. They didn"t want a look-a-like. Again they said that most of my photos were, "too Marilyn Monroe."
Wanting a change in my life, I moved to San Fransico with my friend and together we opened a construction business. I laid tile, paved driveways, hung sheet rock, and I even used the jackhammer. I just loved my business. I owned it for almost 6 years. No one believed that a woman could do the the jobs I did, but they were always pleased and we had a lot of return business.
During my time with the construction company, I also worked numerous acting and modeling jobs on the side. So many that I can"t even remember them all! Some people with "Legends in Concert" saw my Marilyn shots and called me. They asked me to audition for them, so I did. I immediately got the job and sold our business to move to Las Vegas. After a month I moved to Hawaii for the Hawaiian "Legends in Concert" show. The first day I had arrived in Hawaii I went to the current production of "Legends in Concert" as an audience member to get familiar with my new job. I met an Elvis impersonator named Robert Manis in the showroom. We immediately liked eachother and found ourselves down on the beach next to the showroom talking for hours.
That was Robert"s last day in Hawaii. Work commitments forced us into a long distance relationship. After Hawaii, I went home. Robert soon followed me to Las Vegas, proposed, and we were married Valentine"s Day 1994. It was one of the biggest weddings in Las Vegas; "Marilyn Monroe to wed Elvis Presley!" "Good Morning America" flew in to tape our wedding, and tons of reporters and celebrity impersonators were there. The news of us getting married went around the world. It was a fairy tale how we met; we"d knew from those first few hours on the beach that we were meant to be together.
Last year, I became an American citizen. Everyone that knew me called me Marilyn. I hadn"t gone by my real name, Bettina, for years. Upon my citizenship, they told me I could Americanize my name. So after a little hinting, I legally became Marilyn Monroe.
Now I work for some of the largest Companies in the world. At night, we"re known as the Elvis and Marilyn of "Legends in Concert". In the day, we moonlight as entrepreneurs. Through our companies; we manufacture pillows and shirts complete with my silk-screened and puff-printed image right on them, and through our production company, "Marilyn Monroe Enterprise", we supply entertainment and put shows together. Together we have decided to use part of our proceeds from sales towards the building of a habitat for endangered species.
Marilyn still resides in "Las Vegas" and is constantly in demand.
Blondes have more fun...