Citizen Anna

She was the American Dream writ extra large--and we despised her for it

Americans love self-made men and women. And who was ever more literally self-made than Anna Nicole Smith? Described by acquaintances as a flat-chested teen, she shaped, nipped and tucked herself into a living hood ornament. She styled herself à la Marilyn Monroe and then, after fighting drug problems and ballooning, whittled herself down as a spokeswoman for TrimSpa diet supplements. According to her mother, she even invented her childhood, mythologizing her middle-class upbringing into a hardscrabble one, like Jay Gatsby in reverse. Feral, brazen and vacant, Smith was not talented in most usual senses, but in one way she was an...

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