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One day at the beach, Page met police-officer-by-day-amateur-photographer-by-night Jerry Tibbs, who became her boyfriend and an ultimately life-changing influence for her. In addition to the shock factor of a southern white woman dating a black man in the 1940s – GASP! – it was Tibbs' suggestion that Page wear her hair in bangs that established the iconic "Bettie Page look" with which we're all familiar. Tibbs began photographing Page as a lark, just for fun, and inadvertently launched her career as a pinup model.
It was a safe bet, given her looks, that the camera would love Page. It was an unexpected surprise, however, that Page would enjoy posing as much as she did. She felt completely comfortable in front of the camera and it showed. Her ease and lack of inhibition made sexy photos even sexier somehow. Tibbs helped her put together her first portfolio and then faster than you can say "One-two-three-CHEESE!" Page was in demand as a model.