Annette Kellerman

Australian swimmer, vaudeville star, film actress and writer (1887–1975)

Annette Kellerman (6 July 18875 November 1975) was an Australian professional swimmer, vaudeville and film star, writer, and advocate for the change of women's swimwear. Annette became the first major actress to do a complete nude scene in a movie and was known as the Perfect Woman because of the similarity of her physical attributes to the Venus de Milo.

I come from a nation of swimmers but no one remembers me now, yet I was once one of the most famous women in all the world. They called me the 'Diving Venus', the perfect woman, a daughter of the gods.


  • I had the endurance but not the brute strength that must be coupled with it. No woman has this combination. That's why I say none of my sex will ever accomplish that particular stunt.
    • Of swimming the English Channel; "Into Fame and Fortune", in The American Magazine, Vol. 83 (1917), p. 34
  • The men, who started from different points along the coast, wore no clothes, but I was compelled to put on a bathing suit. Small as it was, it chafed me. When I finished, my flesh under the arms was raw and hurt fearfully.
    • "Into Fame and Fortune", in The American Magazine, Vol. 83 (1917), p. 34
  • There are two kinds of bathing suits, those that are adapted for use in the water, and those that are unfit for use except on dry land. If you are going to swim, wear a water bathing suit. But if you are merely going to play on the beach and pose for your camera friends, you may safely wear the dry land variety.
    • How to Swim (1918), pp. 47–48

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