Ponds Cream advert featuring Jessie Matthews

Ponds Cream advert featuring Jessie Matthews

Firms like celebrities to endorse their products and a sure sign of success for an actress is being famous and beautiful enough to be asked to advertise cosmetics. In the 1920s and 1930s, Jessie Matthew’s wide-eyed, clear-skinned, gamine look was one that all women wanted to emulate and so it was hardly surprising that Ponds, one of the leading producers of skin-care products, asked her to endorse their range. It was a far cry from the young Jessie who, aged 16, went to New York with the Charlot revue London Calling!. Then she was so inexperienced that when she went down to dinner on the luxury liner she pretended that she was not hungry because she wasn’t sure which cutlery to use. She had no stockings, jewellery or smart clothes and dressed in clothes borrowed from other girls in the company. But during the run of the revue she took over from the star, Gertrude Lawrence, and she returned from New York a successful elegant beauty, in high heels and Fifth Avenue suits.