Zelda Fitzgerald, the First Flapper?
The “first American Flapper” was Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, an American socialite who became the muse and wife of the author who defined the Roaring 20’s and flapper style, F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Zelda came from a prominent family in Alabama, but Zelda was interested in a different social life, one in which she spent most of her time hanging out with the boys, smoking, and drinking.
She had luminous blond hair that she wore bobbed short.
She had eagle sharp eyes in a fresh face that lent to many admirers, yet her short skirts were scandalous to many.
She craved attention and actively sought ways to rebel against the social mores of the past.
She would dance the Charleston, and even wore a flesh-colored bathing suit to shock everyone with rumors that she swam nude.
Her antics became the gossip of the town, and even her father’s reputation couldn’t protect her from scandal.
Zelda met F. Scott Fitzgerald at a country club dance in Montgomery, Alabama in 1918. Scott was overwhelmed by Zelda’s larger than life beauty and personality.
He would later memorialize this meeting in The Great Gatsby as the meeting between Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan.
Zelda rejected his proposal in 1919, but later married the writer and became his muse as he described her fashion sense and “live for today, who cares about tomorrow” philosophy.
She became the model for the character of Rosalind Connage in This Side of Paradise and he even used excerpts of Zelda’s personal diary in portions of his books because her own writing was lyrical and reminiscent of Emily Dickerson.
Zelda and Scott soon became celebrities of New York, not just for the success of his writing, but also for their wild behavior.
She once jumped into the fountain at Union Square and they both were kicked out of the Biltmore Hotel and the Commodore Hotel for drunkenness.
Their social life was fueled by drinking and it made them dazzling icons of youth and success, but in private their lives were often bitter fights.
Zelda’s pregnancy and the birth of their son Frances “Scottie” became the blueprint for Daisy’s pregnancy in The Great Gatsby.
The entirety of Zelda’s life was tumultuous, and yet she was still inspirational.
Her creativity in her artistic endeavors as well as her creativity in causing scandal became iconic and memorialized as the symbol of youth and influence as the flapper girl of the 1920s.