Over 60 years ago, one photo came to life that everyone would recognize. One picture captured an expressive moment when Sophia Loren gave bombshell Jayne Mansfield the side-eye of the century. It became wildly famous for multiple reasons. It’s also been recreated in contemporary media, such as Modern Family‘s reenactment. But how does a famous moment like this come about?
Loren’s expression in the picture alone says a lot. While Mansfield, whose daughter, Mariska Hargitay, closely resembles her, looks at the camera, Loren is focused elsewhere. This “elsewhere,” according to Loren, was the reason behind her very transparent expression. She explains more to Entertainment Weekly.
Everything was easy to see in the photo of Sophia Loren’s side-eye at Jayne Mansfield
Sophia Loren spoke with EW over the phone, recalling the side-eye she gave Jayne Mansfield all those years ago. The outlet retells her explanation, which is one full of fond memories and worrying postures. Loren recalled the fateful day, explaining, “Paramount had organized a party for me. All of cinema was there, it was incredible. And then comes in Jayne Mansfield, the last one to come. For me, that was when it got amazing.”
Shortly after, the Hollywood bombshell came over to Hollywood’s newer recruit, Loren. Finally, there came a moment that proves a picture’s worth a thousand words. “She came right for my table,” Loren recalled. All eyes traveled with her and, according to Loren, Mansfield knew it. “She sat down. And now, she was barely… Listen. Look at the picture. Where are my eyes?”
Mansfield built part of her identity on her appearance
Antics like that were pretty common for Mansfield. Hollywood Reporter dubbed her America’s first reality TV star because the media had so much of her life to follow; she left a lot on public display. In fact, her “wardrobe malfunctions” frequently provided the media with famous pictures and exciting stories. Reportedly, this was all a calculated move on her part.
And so, enter Sophia Loren, whose expression continued to feed stories related to Jayne Mansfield’s outfits. Bluntly, Loren finished her explanation with, “I’m staring at her nipples because I am afraid they are about to come onto my plate. In my face you can see the fear. I’m so frightened that everything in her dress is going to blow—BOOM!—and spill all over the table.” Loren, looking back, easily understands the reasoning behind this picture’s fame, calling it the image. When asked if pictures of her more relaxed attitude betray her intense fear, Loren dismissed the idea. “No, no. Well, there may be other photos, but this is the picture. This is the one that shows how it was. This is the only picture.”