Marilyn Monroe was known for her glamour and grace, and more than 300 lookalikes have done their very best to live up to her standards during an annual fundraiser at an Adelaide beach.

Key points:

  • The annual Marilyn Jetty Swim was first held in 2014
  • The event raises funds for Cancer Council SA
  • Impersonators have again donned white swimming costumes and blonde wigs

Donning white dresses, bathers, sunglasses and blonde wigs, dozens of people impersonating the American screen idol paraded down Jetty Road at Brighton, before venturing onto the beach and into the water.

The Marilyn Jetty Swim is now in its eighth year and has gone from strength to strength since 2014, with this year’s total number of participants easily exceeding last year’s record-breaking tally.

While that will not necessarily count as an official record, organisers say what will count is the money collected for Cancer Council SA.

Impersonators in the water attracted a crowd of onlookers from the jetty.(ABC News: Brittany Evins)

Event founder Sarah Tinney said more than $145,000 had been raised in the past 12 months alone.

“We haven’t actually lodged [the number of participants] with the Guinness World Records book to break our own record — we’re just quite happy we broke it last year with 254,” she said.

“If somebody comes back and tries to compete with us, maybe we’ll give it another go.”

Despite the packed beach, social distancing requirements were in place.(ABC News: Lincoln Rothall)

But that did not prevent a unofficial new world record for the most people dressed as Marilyn Monroe in the one location being declared at the event.

Adelaide’s unseasonably mild summer meant skies were more overcast than usual.

But the weather did not dampen the enthusiasm among the devotees, and Monroe’s trademark blown-kiss gesture was abundantly on show.

“[It is] a lovely team event, very inspirational, very fun.”

While not official, a new world record was declared at the event.(ABC News: Brittany Evins)

‘More of a glamorous paddle’

Social distancing requirements led to some compromises being made when it came to on-site cosmetics.

“All the Marilyns have to keep their swim rings around their waist at all times to help with the social distancing, so even when we’re marching we can’t really bump into each other because we’re going to have the inflatable devices around us.”

Participants were required to abide by COVID-safe measures.(ABC News: Brittany Evins)

The event is staged as part of the Brighton Jetty Classic open water swimming contest.

Jetty Road was closed this morning as the Marilyns, including several holding a banner bearing the words “blondes have more fun”, made their way to the water.

“I wouldn’t call it a swim, I’d call it more of a glamorous paddle,” Ms Tinney said.

Hundreds congregated on the beach before braving the choppy waters.(ABC News: Brittany Evins)

While the event remained an overwhelmingly female affair, more than a dozen men — included some sporting beards — were among those on the foreshore.

“We have ‘male-lyns’ this year as well, and we all get together to raise money for Cancer Council SA,” Ms Tinney said.

Marilyn Monroe impersonator Russell says his wife helped him with his costume.(ABC News: Lincoln Rothall)

One of those, Russell, said he felt “amazing” to take part in a group of “first timers”.

“Mum survived cancer last year and she’s down here today somewhere in the crowd, so I’m doing it for her,” he said.

“My beautiful wife Marilyn did my face and my hair.”