This article appears in Volume 5 – Issue 1 of SKUNK Magazine.
FREDDY WATSO is an Abanaki Native American who has the ability to hear and converse with the dead: He was struck by lightning one day and when Watso came to, he started hearing voices. “At first I thought it was the alcohol and weed that was getting the best of me, but in time I just accepted my gift and now I spend my retirement days speaking to the dead.”
SKUNK went to Watso’s traditional longhouse and asked the man, who is capable of reaching anyone who’s passed over to the other side, to channel Bettie Page.
FREDDY WATSO: Hey Sweetheart…? Hey Dark Angel… you up for this? Venus of the spiked heel, are you willing to shoot some lip…? Hey Bettie Mae Page have you got the time?
Bettie Page: Oh Freddy you know I don’t really do interviews, but I’ll make an exception for you.
FW: Thanks doll. You’re not kidding on the interview comment. For a chick that did so many photo spreads you sure as hell shied away from the interviews. I have to ask you this one first; have you ever wondered how many people “spanked one out” to one of your pictures?
BP: I’m not sure. Please remember, Fred, I wasn’t just a model and a stripper. I was an entertainer.
FW: For sure honey. By the way do you know what you get when you cross a model with a stripper?
BP: No, what?
FW: A boner. That’s why I’m asking you if you can possibly imagine how many people tossed a load to your pics. You are a true boner maker. Your image might possibly be the vision that people have jerked off to the most. By both sexes I would even imagine.
BP: See that’s why I didn’t do interviews. I wanted to separate myself from the pinup persona. I wanted to be taken for a regular person not just some kind of sex symbol. I turned my back on everything and found God. I studied religion and it was good for me.
FW: I read that. Why do so many adult performers turn their back on the trade and go looking for God? Linda Lovelace, Shelley Lubben and you come to mind. You went from a naughty and daring model/performer, for Christ’s sake, Playboy even named you “The Girl with the Perfect Figure and the Queen of the Pinups.” You put fetish play and lifestyle on the map. Then you disappeared into your religion and vanished like an abducted member of a cult, leaving your fans wondering whatever became of their favorite exotic girl next door.
BP: I had to get away. I needed salvation. Jesus was my savior.
FW: I can see that. Your lord saved you in 1958 and took you away from your livelihood that made you a household name and a major figure of desire and worship. Twenty years later your fans assumed you were dead, only you were still alive but suffering through a nervous breakdown, leaving you in a San Bernardino County mental hospital. After 20 months in the crazy bin you were tossed out only to find yourself involved in a second altercation with a landlord, stabbing her numerous times. You were found not guilty by reason of insanity and placed under state supervision for eight years at the Patton State Hospital. By the time you were released in 1992 you were a penniless schizophrenic. Sounds like you were saved by a true hero.
BP: That’s not fair to word it like that.
FW: Sorry baby. I just say it like I see it. You were at the top of your field, a true modeling icon. To this day there are hundreds of websites in your honor, generating hundreds of millions of hits. Fashion designers copy your look as do high-end fashion models; not to mention your fans who can’t get enough of you. Bettiemania is huge. You would have been bigger than Marilyn Monroe.
BP: Great. Let me ask you something… What happened to her? I was battling some fierce demons and I did what I needed to do… for me. I couldn’t care less if I inspired Madonna or what impact I made on America’s sexuality or pop culture. I did what I believed was best for me, I moved on and never looked back. Case closed.
FW: As is this interview. Thanks for the time Bettie, the world is a less sexy place without you in it.