Marilyn Monroe personified Hollywood glamour and became one of the most photographed women in the world — but LIFE is unveiling never-before-seen photos of the actress when she was a 25-year-old on the brink of breakout success.

In this previously unpublished, exclusive gallery, the young sex symbol owns the room in a show-stopping red velvet dress and fur stole as she receives one of her first awards, the Henrietta. It honored her as the Best Young Box Office Personality of 1952.

Check out the pictures: