Bo Derek Then And Now: Behind The Braids And The Bikini

Entertainment | December 6, 2018

Written by Jacob Shelton

Bo Derek wasn't always Bo Derek -- she came into this world as Mary Collins, and as a teenager she wasn't exactly driven. In fact, the future 10 star and poster girl seemed content doing almost nothing when she was 16. It was California in the early '70s, and like a stereotypical blonde beach bunny she would rather spend the day at the beach, catching rays with her friends, than attend school. She was slacking -- or was she doing research? After all, consider that breakthrough movie role and the poster that also made Bo Derek a household name: She was a blonde girl, in a swimsuit, on a beach. So maybe all that truancy was good for something.

First Up: In High School, Bo Derek Cut Class For A Month


Narbonne High School's loss would prove to be the world's gain, though even now Derek isn't exactly proud of her high school attendance recordShe told Interview magazine"I skipped school for a month straight. It was terrible; I got in big trouble. My mother was working a lot, so she was gone often. I would leave school and hitchhike to the beach." 

Bo Derek Doesn't Regret Dropping Out Of School...

She went on to say that she doesn't regret dropping out of high school, because she wouldn't have the life she has now if she'd stayed in school. Dropping out of school and going to Europe doesn't work for everybody, but it definitely did the trick for her. By her early 20s, she was an iconic beauty, famous temptress of the film 10 and the accompanying movie poster. Her acting was often criticized, and movies like Bolero and Tarzan The Ape-Man were derided as flimsy showcases for her face and figure -- but none of that really mattered. Bo Derek became a leading sex symbol because of her early films and in spite of them. Fans couldn't get enough of those beguiling blue eyes, prominent cheekbones, and bikini-body curves. There's a reason she's been on the cover of Playboy magazine more times than any other celebrity (who wasn't a Playmate). The former Mary Collins has always had that "Bo mojo."

We've never stopped being fascinated by her, and she doesn't disappoint -- although her appearances on TV and the silver screen are sporadic, she remains glamorous and entertaining, always a welcome addition at charity photo ops, and always entertaining with her shoot-from-the-hip answers to interview questions. Keep reading to find out what led the original "10" to that fateful run down the beach, and what she’s been doing since.

Tags: 1970s Hair Styles | Bo Derek | Celebrities When They Were Young | John Derek | Ladies | Then And Now

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Jacob Shelton


Jacob Shelton is a Los Angeles based writer. For some reason this was the most difficult thing he’s written all day, and here’s the kicker – his girlfriend wrote the funny part of that last sentence. As for the rest of the bio? That’s pure Jacob, baby. He’s obsessed with the ways in which singular, transgressive acts have shaped the broader strokes of history, and he believes in alternate dimensions, which means that he’s great at a dinner party. When he’s not writing about culture, pop or otherwise, he’s adding to his found photograph collection and eavesdropping on strangers in public.