How long have you been a pin-up model?
I started doing promotional modeling in 2008 and then took a break from it after a few years. I returned to it about a year ago and nine months ago did my first pin-up photo shoot for fun. I got a huge response from the photos and received a lot of encouragement to enter my first pin-up pageant.
Tell us a little about this world—pageants, photo sessions, parades?
There are two paths for a pin-up model: community networking, and print and video work. I do some of both. The community networking includes going to car shows, parades and benefits for the military, fashion shows, pageants and supporting other performance arts made popular in similar eras, like burlesque shows. Print work ranges from your traditional pin-up poster, to photos in the exploding scene of digital magazines or modeling for different pin-up and retro fashion lines. Recently there has been a growing effort to make documentaries and host TV shows targeting this popular scene. I don’t know that I would be good on camera but I think it’s an exciting step for this industry.
I enjoy interacting with people and have volunteered for many causes prior to modeling so this feels really natural to me. This summer my volunteer work has been primarily at soldier/veteran motorcycle rides for biker groups that support military-related nonprofits, but I am also competing in a pageant to support Pinups Against Cancer. I start graduate school in the fall and am hoping to be a social worker. I never thought of using my modeling as a vehicle for activism but those two worlds are naturally complimenting each other.
When I’m in my pin-up look, I can get to know others and feel more connected. It’s amazing how relaxed people feel when you slap on some red lipstick and pop in a hair flower!
What attracted you to the retro pin-up world?
When you asked me this question my mind naturally went to both of my grandmothers. I grew up looking up to my Nana who was a southern lady in every sense of the word. From a young age I was in awe of her. She never left the house without her nails done and her lipstick on. She had the most beautiful antiques, including a vanity with the whole set up: a gold mirror and lipstick stand, pearls, gloves, vintage hats for church, and lots of red lipstick in gold tubes that had that distinctive vintage smell I have grown to love.
Halfway across the country my Midwestern grandmother was also so beautiful. I have a photo of her when she was 18 that would give any pin-up a run for their money. She came from a farming family though and didn’t have the money to buy fancy dresses so she made everything. At 83 she is still sewing me doilies. She is the person who offered me the most encouragement to pursue pin-up modeling. When my grandmother asks me to do it. . . I do it. No questions asked.
I feel like the pin-up/retro world lets me get a glimpse of what life was like for these strong, beautiful women who balanced domesticity with an inner pride. Women from my generation and younger reap a lot of benefits from the sacrifices our female predecessors made. Learning about past eras helps us pay them the respect they so rightfully deserve.
Are there any actresses or models that inspire your look?
Breakfast at Tiffany’s is my favorite movie. Audrey has been a huge inspiration of mine since I was a young girl. I love the way she dresses but even more she has influenced me in the way that I carry myself.
I like to play with different styles. I have branched out into rockabilly, cheesecake pin-up, western, etc. This summer I’m going to do a Peg Bundy inspired shoot, a camouflage/hunting shoot and before the end of the year break out some latex. I don’t follow other people’s trends. I like to make my own.
Any advice to a regular gal wanting to capture the pin-up look this summer?
Be yourself and never be afraid to try new things or redefine yourself. The market is completely flooded right now with cheesecake pin-up. While I love that style, I also think you learn a lot about yourself when you expose yourself to things that are unfamiliar and out of your comfort zone. Do not be afraid to mix contemporary and vintage together. Your own natural style will evolve and shine through if you just stay true to yourself.
Other than that, make sure you don’t go cheap with your makeup. I swear by Makeup Forever and Kat Von D for my lips. For lashes I am in love with Inglot but if you have trouble putting them on yourself you can also snag self-adhesive ones at the pharmacy. Take great care of your skin and do not over tan or bronze yourself. Always wear SPF and moisturize. Take it easy on the eye shadow and use Pinterest to explore different spins on the cat eye. Make sure you invest in proper undergarments as well. Pin-up is about curves but that doesn’t mean you have to leave them to their own free will!
Photos by Lauren Lobaugh of My Stache Photography.