Bardot came from a bourgeois family, living in a seven-bedroom apartment in the plush 16th arrondissement of Paris. In March 1950, at age 15, Brigitte Bardot appeared on the cover of Elle magazine, and the Earth's axis shifted. She was the epitome of grace and style. The innocent girl, in just a few years, turned into a sex symbol who was the first to shatter the restrictive cultural and societal codes that applied to the women of her time. In 1957, at age 23, she made cinematic history in And God Created Woman, her husband Roger Vadim's film, where her exploding sensuality is as graceful as ever. In a famous scene, she dances barefoot in a trance, her skin glowing with sweat, her body toned and tan, and her hair wild and loose. Shot on the beach of Pampelonne, it established the reputation of St. Tropez throughout the world. The success of the movie brought the tiny village to international fame. She was so far from the neat and constructed image of Hollywood stars of the time that it provoked outrage on a continental scale when the film was released in America. When they saw those pearls of sweat, American men went wild. Movie managers daring to show such a film were prosecuted, the film was banned in some states, and newspaper articles denounced the depravity of it all. As a result, the film proved an even greater box-office success, and the sensation traveled back to Europe. "Ban Bardot!" advocated the morality leagues as if she were some illegal drug.
Bardot's appeal is, in fact, unlike any other. Based on her great beauty, a combination of ravenous sensuality and great style, she also fascinated two generations because of her lifestyle. Bardot behaved in her private life just like a man. She had no restraints; she felt alien to convention. She was not acting out any rebellion, she was just being herself. In the 50s, such behavior was both a scandal and a secret aspiration for many other women. Bardot was recognized as having "absolute freedom". "A photograph can be an instant of life captured for eternity that will never cease looking back at you."- BRIGITTE BARDOT