Hello again folks. I must first apologize for my rather ridiculous absence from this blog. To make a long story short, my job makes it difficult for me to commit time to my hobbies. However I need my job to feed my craft, pinup, and geekery addictions. It is a cruel cycle. As a result of the drain that the chef life has gifted to me, I will likely be focusing on pin-up and feminism for the next several posts before I even attempt food related topics. My passion for baking is a love hate relationship, but I truly want to share my knowledge with as many people as possible. That being said, I want to share with you my top 10 pin up inspirations. The people on list are my current idols and muses to my pin up style. While most of the people on this list will remain my favorites for the rest of my pin-up life, I know that I will likely discover new ones. When I do, I will share them with you as I know that we all like to talk about what inspires us. So here is my top ten and because I can’t make up my mind they are in no particular order.
- Gil Evergreen: One of the Fathers of American Cheesecake Pin-up art along with Earl McPherson, Peter Driben, and Alberto Vargas. I discovered Gil Evergreen when I picked up book by Taschen publishing at a used book store. This was quite a find for me. It came at the time that I was just beginning my interest in pin up art. Gil had a wonderful way of capturing whimsy and fun from his models. He had a fantastic ability of painting the female figure in pastels and mixed media. Much of his work was featured for pin up calendars and commercial advertisements. When I investigated more of his work, I got a better sense of how the girls from the golden age of pin up styled themselves. His work was delightfully feminine and flattering. I believe his work to be empowering and fun for the ladies that modeled for him.
- Dita Von Teese: The modern goddess of glamor! Most pin up dolls should know about her, and if you they don’t SHAME ON YOU! She is a self-made business success in the realms of Pin-up, burlesque, fashion, and cosmetics. She got her start on her trip to stardom by becoming a stripper and then worked her way up to burly-Q queen. The first time I heard about Dita was when someone was talking about Marilyn Manson. They brought up a picture of her in her wedding dress and I kind of just forgot about her until I saw her on season two of Drag Race as a guest judge. I was hypnotized by her alabaster skin and perfectly coifed raven hair. After reading her book, I figured her for a beauty with brains. I was lucky enough to meet her on her last Strip Strip Hurray tour last year, such a dream!
- Cherry Dollface: Cherry is video blogger, professional pin-up fashion model, and beauty stylist. She is a body positive and anti-bullying advocate. She is a smart, well spoken, and goofy lady and I am thankful for stumbling on her you tube videos several years ago. If you haven’t checked out her videos you really should. She has tutorials for Hair, make-up, pin up, and various other musings. I relied on them a great deal when I first started my pin-up adventures. I was fortunate enough to get to meet her recently. I participated in a photoshoot and pin up class that she organized. It was a real treat to find out she is as nice as she seems, even better! I felt totally star struck and was a teensy bit nervous that I would come across as an awkward penguin when meeting her. However, she made me and all the girls feel comfortable by sharing her own free spirit with us. I still am glowing about it. I hope to have more interactions with this Femme fantastic! Now go buy some swag and look at how awesome she is! http://www.cherrydollface.com/
- Wonder Woman: What kind of female glamour geek would I be if I didn’t mention the original female super hero? She is strong in body and mind and has been an influence in my life since high school. You may know she got her start in the golden age of comics and an attempt to lure in young girls to the comic book world. And not to knock William Marston for creating her, but I really don’t think she took off as a well-developed character until after her identity crisis in the 70’s. Prior to the seventies I believe her personality was stagnant and pandered to teenage boys and their possible bondage fetish. Without going into a full on analysis, she is far more developed and relatable as a person. I think a lot of that has to do with female Fans, writers, inkers, and artists are more prevalent in the comic book world today. Either way, she represents strength, courage, justice, love, and mercy. The qualities that all women have, but are often misrepresented.
- Bettie Page: So yes, I think this is an obligatory figure to have on a pin up inspiration list. She is the goddess of many a tattoo and all the Bettie bang babes. She is most famous (in my opinion) for her photos taken by Bunny Yeager. She got her start at 27 years old by being a photography club model that was paid to pose for commissioned photos. Her notoriety grew very quickly and she was featured in girly mags, eventually making the cover of playboy. If you aren’t familiar with her, check her out as her life story is very touching. She inspires me to have fun for the sake of fun. She is also an example of how crushed a woman can become because of the cruel attempts of others to shame and control women. It took her decades to recover and seek help from the fall out of her “slut shaming”. Thinking of her reminds me that age is just a number and youth is a state of mind as much as it is state of the body.
- Olivia De Beradinis: The one and only OLIVIA is by far my favorite pin-up artist! Her artwork is very reminiscent of Alberto Vargas but it has some modern and fantasy influences. She is the current centerfold artist for Playboy magazine and does commission art work. She got her start in the 70’s in male dominated art industry and I am sure there where a lot of nay-sayers to a female painting erotic art. It makes sense though to me to have a female paint erotic pictures of other women. There are nuances that can be easily understood and projected by a woman that may not be pick up by a man so well. I mean tits and ass are fanny-tastic (heheh, Iove puns) but most of us gals like our erotica in “layers”. Her position at playboy had given her opportunities to paint some of the pin-up communities biggest Idols. I especially love her paintings of Dita Von Teese, Masumi Max, and Michelle Pfeiffer as cat woman. And for those of you who say Pop Art cannot be fine art, you know where to stick it.
- Jessica Rabbit: She isn’t bad, she’s just drawn that way. No, really. She isn’t a real person, but she may be the character that got my interest in glamour started. All the years that I was too shy and didn’t know how to commit to pin-up her dangerous silhouette lingered in my mind. I was born the year that “Who Framed Rodger Rabbit?” was released so my viewing pleasure came from a well-loved VHS tape. I would watch the movie at home, at my grandmother’s home, and I would bring it over to my friends’ house to watch it. As a child I only saw her as the hot wife of Rodger and always laughed at the booby trap joke. As I got older and experienced more films, especially more film noirs I learned that her character is well developed. Most side characters, ESPECIALLY female characters are often an afterthought or are purposely pigeon holed into a stereotype. Not Jessica though. She is both The Femme Fetal and the Gal Friday. She is deliciously sexy and aware of the power she wields as a well-endowed woman in Hollywood. She is confident and brave enough to do the dirty work to save her Husband and marriage. She’s not all always a head strong Diva though, she shows compassion, friendship, and seeks help when needed. It just goes to prove a well-rounded woman is sexy.
- Ru Paul: Yes, Ru Paul Charles. The world’s first drag super star may not be most gal’s idea of a pin-up icon, but let me explain. I first found out about Ru Paul from my friend when we were discussing a past visit of mine to the famous drag club “The Baton” in Chicago. She was so elated of my fondness for drag queens that she demanded we go on break early and watch Ru Paul’s Drag race on Netflix. I was enamored by Ru Paul’s glamor and poise. She has hair piled to the god’s, a face to drive an evil Disney queen to jealousy, and is cinched to perfection. While she may not resonate as a classic vintage pin-up, it is her character that I idolize the most. Ru Paul lifted herself out of poverty and an abusive environment with nothing more than fierce tenacity and nerve. She dared to be true to herself as a gay man (yes I know that sounds funny) and as an artist despite vicious criticism. Even after experiencing some of the worst things our society has to offer, she choose to live her life with love. This is amazing to me and is inspires me to be the best person I can possibly be. Her love is shared to all that will accept it, but at the same time Mama Ru knows when someone is trying to play her as a fool. She is proof that an individual can be feminine, Masculine and be the boss. After all, we are born naked and the rest is drag.
- Lucille Ball: Lucy is an obvious choice for me for several reasons and at the same time it is difficult for me to write about her. Mainly because I don’t want to repeat the same things that many others have said already, though most of those reasons are why I love her. Having mentioned that, my first reason for loving her is that she is a statuesque beauty. Her hunter’s bow lips, pale skin, and luscious red locks are iconic. It’s hard to find a more uniquely beautiful woman that her. My absolute favorite Lucy look is her costume from the “here’s to the girls” sequence in the Ziegfeld Follie If you haven’t seen it, stop reading right now and feast your eyes on this right now. I promise I will wait here for you to come back. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjExqlkld3k you’re welcome. Secondly, Lucy was an accomplished actress on both the silver and T.V. screen. Of course most people recognize her for the I love Lucy sitcom. The show is a staple of Americana and a retro treasure trove of inspiration. That ties into my third reason and my favorite. Without Lucy there would be no Star Trek. No really, she made Star Trek possible along with Mission Impossible and the Untouchables. She and her first Husband Desi Arnaz open Desilu studios in the late 1950’s, which produced these iconic shows. The studio was testament to her savvy skills as a producer and business woman. It was also a great example of how two ex-lovers can reconcile their differences after divorce. Lucy and Desi remained friends and business partners until his death. Lucy will be an inspiration to me for the rest of my life; a reminder that a woman can be beautiful and intelligent.
- Ann Miller: Johnnie Lucille Collie or Anne Miller as most people know her as, is a tap dancing goddess. Her big MGM break came when she landed a supporting role in Easter Parade in 1948 as Cyd Charisse’s replacement. Prior to that, Anne Miller was a night club dancer then a contracted actress with two other studios. Her lightning fast legs made her a dance icon and always hypnotize me no matter how many times I watch. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urXu1Z1g61M This is one of my favorite dance numbers, but I post it because I love her dress in this one. It is a prime example of how a great dancer can work he wardrobe into her dance rather than just use it as adornment. The real amazing thing is how adaptable Ann was. Even after the decline of musical movies with the introduction of T.V. in the 50’s she was quick to transition back to theater. She continued to dance and act well into late her late 60’s. I suppose you wonder how she fits into pin-up. Well, wouldn’t you know it she was an accomplish pin-up model too. It’s not surprising considering she had fantastic legs and an adorable girl next door look. It’s sassy yet classy ladies like her that the world needs more of.
I hope this has given you some insight into some of my pin-up and vintage inspiration. Like I mentioned earlier the ladies mentioned are my top inspirations at this moment in time. They all inspire me to be the best woman I can be. They also are a good reminder that being human means taking risks and making mistakes, so long as we grow from them. I would love to see what you all think. So comment below and share some of your top inspirations. Again I am sorry for the REDONKULOUS delay in my blog time and I am going to commit more time to it. I have so much I want to share with you all, about myself, about pastry, about pin-up, and about what it means to be a modern woman. Love you lots and hope to see you all (and more) next time!