Beyond Fashion Icon: 6 Important Things You Didn't Know About Jacqueline Kennedy

Jacqueline Onassis Kennedy — known by most as "Jackie O" — is one of the most iconic women in American history, especially when it comes to fashion.

Though her status as an influencer was materialized as First Lady to U.S. President John F. Kennedy, many of her accomplishments go beyond her trendsetting style and trailblazing efforts to redefine motherhood in the 21st century.

In honor of what would have been her 86th birthday today, we're highlighting a few unknown facts about the former first lady.

1. She was a linguaphile
Proficient in French, Spanish, Italian and Polish, she used her linguistic abilities to appeal to non-English speaking voters during her husband's presidential campaign. Kennedy used her French language skills honed in university and abroad at the prestigious Sorbonne in Paris to translate French foreign policy documents. These documents examined complex military and political factors that influenced France's inability to colonize Indo-China.

2. A gifted writer, Kennedy wrote for her all her life and was even recognized for her talent.
She entered Vogue magazine's Prix de Paris contest in 1951 for a chance to win the grand prize: a junior editor position with time split between Paris and New York. She was selected the winner of 1,280 entries in the rigorous competition with her submission, "People I Wish I Had Known," in which she included famed figures like Oscar Wilde and Charles Baudelaire. She went on to work for the Washington Times-Herald after college.

3. Becoming a housewife was not an option
Before her marriage to John F. Kennedy, she received a proposal at the age of 22 from her boyfriend at the time, Wall Street banker John Husted. Three months into the engagement, Jackie broke things off after having doubts about becoming a housewife or a conventional New York City socialite.

4. She opened a school in the White House
The first lady turned the third floor of the White House into a school where her kids attended to avoid any incidents of security or safety concerns. She also invited other children of the Kennedy administration to attend. The initiative grew into a full-fledged school with a staff of professional teachers and a mini animal collection.

5. And the Emmy goes to...
Though not a professional actress, Kennedy received an Emmy for her televised White House tours which showcased her massive restoration projects on the historic building.

6. She was a successful book editor
From 1978 up until her death in 1994, she worked as a book editor for American publishing company, Doubleday, where she worked on several JFK biographies.

NEXT: First Lady Focus On Women »

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Photo Credit: Tom Wargacki via Getty Images