Seduction secrets from Cleopatra, Marilyn and Demi

February 14, 1994|By Robin Westen | Robin Westen,Special to the Sun

No man can resist the seductress.

Since the beginning of time, men have flown into the femme fatale's arms like bees to a honeysuckle.

Once under her spell, smitten guys give her everything -- their hearts, their money, their health plan.

Naturally, we'd all love to possess a little (or a lot) of the seductress in ourselves.

What's her secret?

Let's learn from history's hottest ladies:

* CLEOPATRA. The last queen of Egypt, Cleopatra embodied decadence, cunning and exotic beauty.

Historians say Cleopatra staged various forms of debauchery. Not a great plan for the '90s.

But we can certainly learn from the Egyptian queen's seductive interior decorating: rich silk fabrics, incense and warm baths of fragrant water.

* MATA HARI. Europe lost its biggest sensation of the 20th century when Mata Hari was executed by a French firing squad '' for spying.

She was an exotic dancer famous for her sensational nude performances. Try gyrating naked in front of your home mirror first before going public.

* SARAH BERNHARDT. One of the best-loved actresses of the modern theater, Bernhardt was reputed to have had more than 1,000 affairs.

Her lovers included Victor Hugo, Oscar Wilde, the Prince of Wales and all her leading men.

Among Bernhardt's eccentricities was her satin-lined rosewood coffin where she often slept -- and where she sometimes demanded her lovers keep her company.

* JOSEPHINE BAKER. In the 1920s and 1930s, dancer/singer Josephine Baker became the first black female entertainer to star in the Folies Bergere.

In her initial appearance on stage, she impressed the audience with her costume, which consisted of a belt of bananas and nothing else.

* JEAN HARLOW. Known as the "Blond Bombshell," Harlow was the sex queen of the 1930s. Her comedic movie roles usually portrayed her as a platinum-blond floozy with a heart of gold who never wore a bra.

* MARILYN MONROE. The uncontested sex goddess of modern times, Monroe's sex appeal oozed from her aura.

The way she walked, talked and breathed enticed every type of man, from presidents to literary giants to baseball players.

* ELIZABETH TAYLOR. As close to royalty as this country has, Elizabeth Taylor reigns supreme.

At 62, her raven hair, lavender eyes, luscious breasts and little-girl voice still captivate men.

Now on her eighth spouse, the siren stays seductive because she's one of those gals who believes in the sanctity of marriage before sex.

* DEMI MOORE. The leading lady of "Indecent Proposal" (1993), Ms. Moore gave a new glamour to pregnancy when she bared her belly and posed nude for a controversial cover of Vanity Fair magazine a week before she gave birth.

Moore-in-the-buff was so popular, the publication put her on the cover again . . . and then again. The second time around, she was wearing nothing but paint.

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