If you had asked me 15 years ago what I thought about pinup, I wouldn’t have had a proper understanding of what pinup was. Now, a year and a half into my pinup journey, I live and breathe all things vintage, glamour and of course pinup.
But why pinup? Why not punk, or goth, or rockabilly? Well I suppose everyone is different and find different things appealing. I had always loved glamorous things and people such as Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn. I really wanted to look like them, have the same air of confidence but my self doubt and low self esteem got in the way. So I admired them from a far.
I was always drawn to how strong they looked. So confident and in control of themselves. In my early college days, I was procrastinating from writing an essay and I started to watch a documentary on sbs, it was about burlesque. I was hypnotysed. I cant remember the name of the documentary or what it was exactly about because the images that flashed up on screen lit a fire deep inside me that ignited my passion for vintage. I wanted to be those girls on the stage so badly, I needed to be covered in glitter and rhinestones and I yearned to master stage presence.
Burlesque was all that I could think about so I did some googling and sure enough I found a burlesque studio in the city which had a drop-in ‘Bump and Grind’ class on a Tuesday evening. I signed up. And panicked. What had I just done?! I didn’t know anyone there, or what they would make me do. What if they laughed at me? Or told me I was hopeless? What if they knew that I had nothing special about me? … Or what if I had fun? Loved it? Learnt about myself. I had to wait till Tuesday to find out. I didn’t tell anyone. I just took the bus to the city after class, got something to eat, took a deep breathe and walked into the studio. The rest was as they say, history.
I didn’t become a famous burlesque dancer and I never even performed solo. But I loved every minute dancing in class, even the next day when my thighs were burning and I had to ask the bus driver to lower the wheelchair ramp because I couldn’t go upstairs. I never set out to be a burlesque performer, but my first teacher, Miss Jane, taught me more about myself than anyone had ever before. Miss Jane was a strong, sexy and confident woman; the complete opposite to me. But she kept encouraging me to let go, not care what others thought and just dance how I felt. It worked a charm, because every time before I get out on stage I always think about Miss Jane and her words of encouragement. I could never thank her enough.
Fast forward a few years I ended up moving to Ireland. I was browsing the good old Facebook one day and I saw a photographer that I had worked with tagged in the ‘Perth Pinup Community’. I was curious so I clicked on the group to see what they were about. I ended up recognizing a few people from either modeling, burlesque or people I had met along the way but sure enough, I felt that there was something about that group of like-minded individuals that I wanted to be a part of. I asked to be added to the group.
Now living in Ireland there was no way I could ever attend the Perth Pinup Group’s events, get together or meetings. But it was nice to have a bit of time before I got back to Perth to figure out winged eyeliner and work on my self confidence. I ended up going to a Sephora, buying an eyeliner brush and a pot of black eyeliner and ….oh the horror, the horror.
To cut a long story short, I recommend practicing winged eyeliner right before you get into the shower because lets face it, it’s not easy, and you’re going to want to wash it off straight away. Looking back at photographs now I cringe when I see how terrible my eyeliner used to be, it’s still not perfect now but with a year of practice I finally know what works for me. If you’re about to start your pinup journey, this is a big hurdle to get over but just know, that we all have to start somewhere. Oh and micellar water is your best friend!
Once I got back to Perth, it still took me a few months to work up the courage to go to a pinup event. My first ended up being a Monday morning coffee catch up. I remember sitting in the car, talking myself into going for at least 15 minutes before I got the courage to walk into the coffee shop. Im so glad I did. Since that first meeting, I have gone to countless events, made a group of absolutely wonderful friends, grown within myself as a person, participated in many a charity and volunteering event and even entered pinup pageants.
My pinup journey, although briefly summarized here, is still ongoing. Im still trying to master hair, my sewing skills need work and sometimes my eyeliner is still wonkey but that’s ok. A journey is a long process where it may take me another year and a half to get over the next few hurdles. If you’re thinking about getting into pinup, don’t be discouraged, the fact that you are considering it can be read as the first step in your journey. Take the leap. You don’t need to be put together when you first start. Victory rolls, red lips, eyeliner and a fabulous wardrobe are not a checklist for the perfect pinup. Find what works for you and take one step at a time.
Join me on this journey. It’s full of fun and petticoats. I have wanted to start a blog for years because I have always loved writing. Not because I wanted to be famous, but because I am enamoured by the power that words hold. They can destroy and build up a person. They can educate, change and empower. My blog will never turn into a movie deal, I will probably not become best friends with Dita Von Teese but this blog gives me and hopefully others a safe space to learn, empower and listen.
Thank you for being a part of my journey.
Miss Mon Mon