Margaretha Geertruida Zelle, is a famous spy from history who was most definitely a hottie by every sense of the word. One of the most influential forces behind Orientalism and modern exotic dance, Mata Hari lived by her own rules and died with as much defiance of convention as she had lived. Yes all of you modern strippers and women of the night owe a little something to lady Margaretha who made such a mark that her name became world renowned by the time she was executed for treason.
When she was about 18 yrs old, Margaretha answered an ad in the local newspaper, placed by a military man looking for a wife. After marrying and moving to the Dutch East Indies, the couple had two children named Norman-John and Jeanne-Louise. The marriage was one of violence and drunk spousal abuse by officer Rudolph John MacLeod who blamed his position on his wife and beat her along with his concubine. Seeking refuge Margaretha ran off with another officer named Van Rheedes and began studying Indonesian dance, custom and traditions. In 1897 she changed her name to Mata Hari which meant “eye of the day” and used it when writing her relatives in Holland. Soon she returned to her husband to work things out and after moving back to the Netherlands they finally divorced.
By 1905 Mata Hari had moved to Paris and began dancing and modeling to earn a living. The local people loved her sexually enticing dances and the mysterious story she made up to match her character:
“Promiscuous, flirtatious, and openly flaunting her body, she captivated her audiences and was an overnight success from the debut of her act at the Musée Guimet on 13 March, 1905. She became the long-time mistress of the millionaire Lyon industrialist Emile Etienne Guimet, who had founded the Musée. She posed as a Java princess of priestly Hindu birth, pretending to have been immersed in the art of sacred Indian dance since childhood. She was photographed numerous times during this period, nude or nearly so. Some of these pictures were obtained by MacLeod and strengthened his case in keeping custody of their daughter.” – Wikipedia.org
Along with bringing exotic dance to the forefront of western society, Mata Hari was also a successful courtesan dating some of the most important men including a German Crown Prince who bankrolled her exploits.
Mata The Spy
Although Mata Hari was a neutral Dutch citizen during World War I which would make her the best choice for being a spy (plus with her courtesan lifestyle, this would only make sense), many believe this to be false given her propensity to lie whenever she could, to appear more exotic and mysterious. This is one of those speculations that the accused took to their grave and left historians to pick a side and argue but if Mata the spy seems more sexy to you, then by all means run with it. No-one will ever know if this was true or not.
Mata was arrested in 1917 at the Hotel Plaza Athénée in Paris and placed on trial for being a German spy and causing the deaths of 50,000+ soldiers. The beauty was found guilty and executed by firing squad on October 15th, 1917. Mata was only 41 years old. At her execution Mata wore “a neat Amazonian tailored suit, specially made for the occasion, and a pair of new white gloves”. After blowing a kiss at her lawyer, her rumored last words were “harlot yes, but traitor, never!” Whether true or not, the lady was executed after throwing open her coat to reveal her body. Needless to say she went out like a champ.
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