Trend of Selfies Launched by Jackie Kennedy and Grand Duchess Anastasia


The trend of selfies skyrocketed after Ellen DeGeneres’ famous Oscars star-studded photo, but, after going through archives, historian Michael Beschloss determined that the movement could have been launched by Jackie Kennedy, who sparkled in a photo with her husband and sister-in-law 60 years ago and by Grand Duchess Anastasia, who took a photo of herself in 1914. Although DeGeneres’ selfie broke Twitter and became the most retweeted photo of its kind, Justin Bieber became the first Instagram video to reach one million likes and Pope Francis became a willing participant to a selfie, history proves that there is nothing new about this craze.

Selfies are now considered a trend, but the movement began around 1914, once Grand Duchess Anastasia decided to take a photo of herself and, later on by Jackie Kennedy, who captured a casual moment with her husband, John F. Kennedy and his sister, Ethel. The picture was taken 60 years ago, but it brings a new meaning to selfies, especially after Karl Lagerfeld called them “masturbatory.” The Huffington Post posted the picture on Twitter and, although it did not gather millions of retweets, it did portray a young Jackie in white playsuit and sun hat, while the 35th president of the United States looked classy in a polo shirt and dark sunglasses.

Another timeless selfie belongs to Colin Powell, who showed off a picture of himself proudly wearing a vest 60 years before Facebook became a craze.

Pictures to Remember

The trend of selfies might have been launched by Jackie Kennedy and Grand Duchess Anastasia, but it was taken to a new level by the Ellen DeGeneres and by Pope Francis, who agreed to appear in a papal selfie which shows that he is, indeed, among the most progressive leaders of the Catholic Church.

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson did not lose the opportunity to capture the moment with president Barack Obama and Bill Nye and NASA went down in history for the image with an orbiting astronaut which received approximately 3,000 but exceeded all selfies thanks to its “out of this world” idea.

Advertising Campaign

Jackie Kennedy looks like she is the one capturing a moment along with husband John F. Kennedy, Winston Churchill seems to have taken a picture of himself and the famous sailor who kissed a girl in Times Square after World War II ended also seems to have been the author of the renowned picture.

Actually, the ideas belong to South African firm Lowe and Partners, which came up with a witty advertising campaign to help enhance the profile of newspaper The Cape Times through imagined selfies. Kirk Gainsford, executive creative director stated that the company produced a few campaigns with a big impact throughout the time, but this idea skyrocketed. He acknowledged the fact that newspapers cannot win when put face to face with social media and digital media, “so it is crucial we create messaging that reminds readers of the value of great journalism.”

Gainsford admitted that selfies represent a phenomenon of today’s world, and because they are universally used, “we just used this technique to leverage our message.” Irrespective of how this method is used by people worldwide, what Lowe and Partners did was to reinforce the fact that the trend of selfies may or may not have been launched by Jackie Kennedy and Grand Duchess Anastasia, but it has resisted the tests of time.

By Gabriela Motroc


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