Posted by: Lori Schmidt Lutze | August 8, 2009

Some Birthday Girl!

Mata Hari (1876-1917) was a dancer, courtesan, and spy.  (Who wouldn’t like a gig as a spy?)  Born Margaretha Geertruida Zelle on August 7 she enjoyed a lavish childhood and attended exclusive schools.  In 1897, she changed her name to Mata Hari–meaning “eye of the day”.  In 1903 she moved to Paris and worked as a circus horse rider.  As she struggled to earn a living, she gained fame as an exotic dancer.  Her success grew and she raised exotic dance to a more respectable status.  Mata Hari broke ground in a type of entertainment for which Paris became famous throughout the world. Her style and go-get ’em attitude made her very popular.  (That’s why we really like her.)  In 1917 she was arrested and sentenced to death as a German spy.  It’s been said that at her execution she refused a blindfold and blew a kiss to the firing squad.

“I am a woman who enjoys herself very much; sometimes I lose, sometimes I win,” Mata Hari said.  We pause a moment to allow this inspirational thought to sink in . . . . 

Here’s why we give Mata Hari a special Joyceland Happy Birthday wish:  she was a little glam, a lotta gutsy, and had BIG fun.  So here’s to Mata–now go change your name just for today and do something a little outrageous!

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