Fearless Females Challenge: March 22 – This is “Her” Life

The following post continues the month long Fearless Females Challenge by Lisa Alzo, author of The Accidental Genealogist blog, which is focused on “celebrating and honoring ‘fearless females’ in our family trees” to mark National Women’s History Month, which is the month of March, with a post responding to unique prompts for each day of the month. (Note: Because I started this challenge late, I will be continuing it beyond March 31.)

Prompt for March 22 — If a famous director wanted to make a movie about one of your female ancestors who would it be? What actress would you cast in the role and why?

There is one ancestor for whom I know this would thrill–my maternal great grandmother, Irene Vera (Balla) Sebok (1913-2006). I say this would thrill her because she wanted, in her youth, to be an actress. Growing up in rural Texas, the excitement of the celebrity lifestyle in the Golden Age of Hollywood undoubtedly appealed to her, as it did for many of her generation. Working around numerous celebrities at the Arrowhead Springs Hotel probably only served to continue this desire, however brief it must have been. She once told me that soon after her arrival in California in the 1930s, she was, while out with some of her relatives that lived in the state, approached by a talent agent that wanted her to have some head-shots done, but being unsure if it was a scam or not and having just met the man she would marry, she didn’t pursue it.

Picking what celebrity would play my great grandmother in a film is difficult. I really cannot think of any living actress that she resembles significantly. To make the selection a little easier, I searched for a celebrity look-a-like generator. I read that the best is an iPhone app from MyHeritage. Not owning an iPhone, I found a free one instead called Celebrity Look A Like Generator by Picadilo.com. Unfortunately, this generator provided more laughs than clarity when trying to match my great grandmother (and other relatives) to a celebrity, as many of the “matches” were far from accurate. This was made worse by the fact that this particular generator does not have the ability to separate genders, so a female photo would be matched to both male and female celebrities. Nevertheless, one female celebrity came up more than any other in my attempts to find a match to various photos of my great grandmother, which was Merly Streep. I personally don’t see the resemblance, but Merly Streep is an amazing actress known for playing real-life characters who I think could certainly portray the ups and downs of my great grandmother’s life, as well as capture the layers of her personality, which could range from sweet to on the war path.

Irene (Balla) Sebok, 1939
Irene (Balla) Sebok, 1939
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