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Winner by a blonde shot

John HartHeather Salsman of Grass Valley won a Marilyn Monroe look-alike contest held by KRON-TV Channel 4 in San Francisco this week.
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She plays guitar in an all-girl punk band, wears Corvette-red lipstick and always keeps her hair tinted platinum blond, just to keep the guys guessing.

Could the unassuming spitfire in the flowing white dress and stiletto heels be The One celebrated in an Elton John song, whose life and untimely death still haunt us 40 years after she left us?

Sorry, fellas. But Heather Salsman, 20, of Grass Valley doesn’t mind the looks she gets daily as a therapist’s assistant.



If you’re of a certain age, or are just crazy for that era, it’s hard not to go gaga over her curves, eyes and unmistakable shock of blonde hair.

On Monday, Salsman found out she beat a couple of drag queens, some old-school movie fans and a bunch of wannabes to win a Marilyn Monroe look-alike contest sponsored by a San Francisco television station.




Her winning entry for KRON-TV Channel 4 included a recreated scene from “Seven Year Itch,” in which a breathless Marilyn Monroe, desperately trying to cool off, intones, “When it’s hot like this, I keep my undies in the icebox,” something Salsman has never admitted trying.

She won a night in San Francisco and a free screening of “Some Like it Hot.”

Fans voted for Salsman over the Internet. She insists she doesn’t have a desire for acting, and she’s never modeled as Marilyn before.

“I’m her every day,” Salsman said Tuesday, sitting at her desk adorned with Marilyn photos and mementos.

Salsman’s likeness to Marilyn runs deep, she admits.

“I don’t even know what my real hair is like,” she said. “I haven’t seen the real color in a long, long time.”

The last few years, Salsman has devoured texts and film on the former Norma Jean Baker, studying Marilyn’s shtick in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” and “Some Like It Hot.”

Which, coincidentally, could be the motto of many of the older patients who remember Marilyn and visit Abbey Physical Therapy in Grass Valley.

“The older men love her,” said physical therapist Denise Kelley. “I think they come back more for her than for us.”

Despite the obvious sex appeal, Salsman said, Marilyn, much like herself, wanted to be taken seriously. She notes that Marilyn pushed for grittier film roles.

Salsman said she’d also like to not be typecast.

“I get a lot of disrespect by men at gas stations,” she said.

And though she can primp for the cameras , Salsman is a sensible, hard-working employee who can’t even wear open-toed shoes or skirts at the office, her co-workers said.

And her mother, Kate Salsman, says she doesn’t even flinch when looking at her daughter.

“After all, she’s just my kid.”


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