Encyclopedia Sabrina (Norma Ann Sykes)

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Sabrina - an

Australasian Post 1 Jan 1959

TO be truthful, the first thing we noticed about Sabrina was her HAIR! Sabrina in Australia 1959

She had her back to us.

She was facing a tight squad of bright-eyed young males at her first Melbourne Press reception who, for some reason, weren't interested the the back view. They were intent on meeting Sabrina face to face.

One of them pushed in really close, his pencil poised, and Sabrina turned half side on. It was then we caught our first glimpse of the famous facade.

One look was enough to convince us that a suggestion implied in a recent American magazine article, was quite, quite ridiculous.


Sabrina, of all people . . .

Giving the lie to such nonsense, the fabulous Sabrina statistic, her vehicle to fame and fortune, was on open display to the crowded room. Framed in a zoomingly low cut black faille gown, as a jeweller shows his costliest diamond, it was a magnet that held every male and female eye.

"I was very hurt"

We moved in to Sabrina's starboard side, and murmured our introductions. The big blue eyes, heavily mascara-ed, flicked briefly our way, and dropped down past the facade to the martini in her hand.

"Were you upset by the magazine article?' we asked. Sabrina's voice, tinged with an accent we diagnosed as one part American, one part Cockney and two parts plum, replied, "well, wouldn't you be?'

"I was very, very hurt. Really I was. They had a picture of me — It was obviously me, couldn't be anyone else in the world—and the heading on the story said 'SHE WAS ONCE A MAN.'

"I distinctly remember the picture being taken by an American photographer. I never dreamed it would be used in a story about someone changing sex. They did not actually say it was I who had changed my sex. But my picture used with the story, implied just that ...
"Well, really," she said, beginning a preen which made her 41inches intrude an inch more into our field, of vision, "It is ridiculous, don't you think?"

We agreed. It Is quite ridiculous .

"Anyhow," she volunteered as she moved off, "my solicitors know all about it."

Sabrina sauntered into the crowd, allowing others to see her in the flesh. An observer noticed one peculiar thing about the reaction of the men and women present. The reaction of the eyes.

Every male eye opened a little wider as she came close, every FEMALE eye narrowed just a fraction. The males admired, the females calculated.

In a chair by the door we recognised a smartly dressed middle-aged woman with red hair. She was Mrs Sabrina, or, rather, Mrs Sykes, from Blackpool, Sabrina's mother. We asked her how Sabrina started her career.

She said: "She used to pose for pictures occasionally. Purely amateur stuff. But one of the boys sent a picture of her to Blighty magazine. They put it on the front page.

"Then newspapers took her picture, and she just went on from there. She's got a natural flair for show business, and her talent was recognised right from the start. She's been very lucky, you know."

Everyone asked everyone what they thought about Sabrina. A not-unattractive female colleague asked for our opinion. We decided to be noncommittal. "She's quite an eyeful," we replied.

Nothing false

Our colleague said, "Yes, she is. And I'll tell you something else — it's all her own. I had a good close look — and I was a nurse before I became a newspaperwoman — and there's nothing false about her. Mind you, her dresses probably have built-in bras, but that's all. Its incredible, isn't it?"

Incredible, we agreed, incredible.

Sabrina in Australia 1959

We could give you an outline of Sabrina's startling statistics, but the picture gives a better one. She was right out in front, talking to Australian Pressmen when this shot was taken. In show business today, you need the right kind of foundation to build a big reputation. And Sabrina's is outstanding.

Sabrina in Australia 1959

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The only thing artificial about her is - her eyelashes. And she is inclined to get annoyed at any implication that she uses art to improve the rest of her plentiful natural talents.

Sabrina and Australian reporter 1959

Her accent doesn't show here - but it's a mixture (to Australian ears, at all events) of Yankee, Cockney and plum!

Page Created: 9 August 2009

Last Changed: Monday, January 11, 2016 1:00 PM

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