In this article, I trace the origins of the normalization of pornographic tropes as the new sexual ideal in contemporary visual culture to late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century publicity photos of actresses and monarchs by examining one prominent transatlantic actress's collection of publicity photos, the Elizabeth Robins Papers at the Fales Library at New York University. As I show, around the turn of the twentieth century, a new standard of idealized feminine beauty was produced by the combination of two contradictory images of celebrity: the distant decorum of the monarch and the perceived erotic sexuality of the actress. The mass production of publicity photographs, which took the form of cartes-de-visite in the 1860s and cabinet photos in the 1870s, broadened the spectrum of sexuality by positioning these two quintessential celebrity types—the actress and the monarch—in relation to the tableau vivant and to existing and emerging tropes of portraiture. The image of the actress existed in relation to several mutually dependent discourses in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries: the rise of photography in relation to other art forms; the rise of theatrical spectacle in relation to advertising, consumerism, and fashion; the rise of women's public role in relation to sexuality, the body, and beauty culture; and the paradoxical democratization of celebrity culture as related to the monarchy. All of these factors center on a figure who lived so vividly in the public imaginary that she could be found in multiple spaces: on the stage, in stationers’ shops, on postcards, in newspapers, in photograph albums.