We saw an advance screening of Natalie Portman’s new film Jackie a few weeks ago, and it’s still haunting us. It’s unquestionably one of the best films of the year, and we would put money on its lead actress—who is in every scene of the film—snagging an Oscar win this year. The film opens this weekend and we highly recommend you turn out to see it, though you should be prepared for an emotional experience that will stay with you for weeks to come. Jackie renewed our interest in the ultimate FLOTUS (pre-Michelle, of course), so we decided to do some digging into one of the most iconic figures to every live in the White House. Here, 6 things you probably didn’t know about Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
6 Things You Didn't Know About Jackie Kennedy Onassis
When she was 21, Jackie worked as a junior editor for Vogue. She was awarded the job, which entailed six months in the magazine's New York office and six in its Paris office, as the top prize in Vogue's Prix de Paris essay competition in 1951. According to What Jackie Taught Us author Tina Shanti Flaherty, however, Jackie quit on her first day and went to work instead as a columnist at The Washington-Times Herald.
When her husband won the white house in 1960, Jackie began a massive renovation project. To do so, she created the Fine Arts Committee for the White House, which took in money from private donors to purchase pieces that were significant to America's history. In 1962, she toured the White House for CBS and subsequently won an honorary Emmy award. Footage from the tour features prominently in Jackie.
A week after JFK's death, Jackie Kennedy told Life Magazine of her husband's love for the musical Camelot. She then told the reporter, “There will be great presidents again, but there will never be another Camelot.” It's this interview which frames events in Jackie.
After the assassination of her husband, Jackie refused to change out of her bloodstained suit. When Lady Bird Johnson suggested she do so before Lyndon Johnson's swearing in, Jackie declined saying, "I want them to see what they've done to Jack." This moment plays prominently in the film.
In 1975, Grand Central Station's landmark designation was voided by the court, and plans to build over it commenced. Jackie fought the demolition of the station, writing to the city's mayor, "Dear Mayor Beame…is it not cruel to let our city die by degrees, stripped of all her proud moments, until there is nothing left of all her history and beauty to inspire our children? If they are not inspired by the past of our city, where will they find the strength to fight for her future? Americans care about their past, but for short term gain they ignore it and tear down everything that matters…" She saved other landmarks in her lifetime as well, including Lafayette Square in Washington.
After her second husband's death in 1975, Jackie moved to New York City and became a consulting editor at Viking Press. She later moved to Doubleday, where she was a senior editor until her death in 1994.