Annie are you okay?

Annie is okay. She’s the most kissed face of all time.

“Annie are you okay? Will you tell us that you’re okay Annie”. You’ve heard this line in the Michael Jackson’s song Smooth Criminal and seen the amazing gravity-defying dance moves Michael delights us with in the accompanying video. “Annie are you okay” is not a term that the King of Pop invented. Where it came from is rather interesting*.

Around 1880 a girl’s body was pulled out of the Seine river in Northern France, apparently she committed suicide. As she couldn’t be identified by the authorities, she was put in the viewing room of the morgue with the hope someone could recognize her. She was incredibly beautiful, but unfortunately never identified and consequently buried as l’Inconnue de la Seine. Before her burial, a morgue worker, mesmerized by her beauty, made a face mask of the dead girl to capture her likeness forever. Copies were made and sold of this mask and even poems were dedicated to her.

A few decades later when the first Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR or ‘eerste hulp’) mannequin was made, the face mask of this French girl was used. CPR-Annie was born. And in CPR courses one of the first things you’re taught is to assess the person’s status you are going to resuscitate by asking: “Annie are you okay?” It has been said that Annie is the most kissed face of all time. A girl who took her own life, became the symbol of saving countless lives all over the world.

Willemstad, Curaçao

*From time to time I’ll write about random, but interesting stories.


Author: alexdavidrosaria

Alex Rosaria is from Curaçao. He has a MBA from University of Iowa. He was Member of Parliament, Minister of Economic Affairs, State Secretary of Finance and United Nations Development Programme Officer in Africa and Central America. He is an independent consultant active in Asia and the Pacific.

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