I was floored with the response I received last week to my My Pinup Life post. When I share things from my personal life it’s lovely to see people relate to my stories, but it’s also nice to read that people like getting a better sense of who I am. Because of this I recently asked my Instagram followers whether there was anything they’d like to know about me to get to know me a little better, as I know getting a sense of someone online can be hard and a lot of you may not know much about me. Below are the questions I received and my answers. If there’s anything else you want to know just add it in the comments below and I’ll answer.
Teafor2and2fortea: 1) Why did you start your blog and how do you continue to draw inspiration?
After reaching about 2500 followers on Instagram I noticed I was getting regular questions about how to get into the pinup style, pinup makeup and hair questions, and clothing questions regarding brands and fit. I’ve always been a writer in some form or another, most prevelantly young adult fiction through my teens and early twenties, though writing has fallen by the wayside in recent years. I asked my followers if they would be interested in reading a blog by me were I to start one and I was amazed by the enthusiastic response. Having an outlet for my writing again, though more instructional and informative than the narrative and poetic style of writing fiction, has been lovely, and that enjoyable process in and of itself is part of what keeps me inspired to continue. Largely, though, I’m inspired by the responses I get from women saying they found my reviews useful, who tell me they bought their first purchase from X brand thanks to advice I gave and they feel incredible in it, ladies who are kind enough to consider me an inspiration to their style transformation in any small way. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate every like, comment and exchange, both on here and Instagram, and it’s that support and sense of community that urges me on when I’m stressed about scheduling a blog in during a busy week or I’m tired at 6am when I wake up early to take blog pics because it’s the only free time I have for it and I’m eager to get a review ready. I enjoy everything I do here and it’s because of my supportive followers and readers that I’m able to do that. Thank you all.
2) What’s your pinup evolution story?
I’ve covered this in a full blog post along with my friend Sarah Forshaw, who covered her story too, so if you want to read it in full detail you can do there here (It also includes a lot of before pictures of me in pre-pinup days and during my transformation, so there’s that too.) But in short form I always liked the 50s style but never really thought it was something I could actually wear. I used to have massively curly natural hair but it got heat damaged and my natural curls would no longer form, so I began to wetset pincurl my hair to achieve curls without further heat damage. Over time I began to change my makeup to a more 50s style, and slowly my clothes too until, about 10 months on from my first changes, I felt I was a full head-to-toe pinup and ready to wear the style full time socially (I can’t wear it for work.)
Notfaithorjoy: What item of clothing are you holding onto in spite of never actually wearing it, and why?
My confidence in myself and my style has reached a point that if I buy something I feel ready to wear it. For this reason the only items I own that I won’t get rid of but don’t actually wear only tend to be ones that don’t quite fit me right now after gaining some weight during my transformation, yet I can realistically expect to fit back into with a bit of sensible eating. Right now the only item I know that doesn’t fit and I really wish it would (and thus will lose 5lbs to fit) is the Pinup Girl Clothing Tropical Temptress dress I bought in my usual PUG size without realising I ought to have sized up. This summer! I’ll get into it this summer, definitely.
Megpumpkin: How do you deal with pinup ‘mean girls?’ Maybe I’m just unlucky but I’ve encountered ladies in the scene online who are just unkind to other ladies who are starting out and are still learning hair skills or don’t have the right clothing (like me.) I haven’t been brave enough to wear whole outfits out in person because I’m scared of it (grew up being bullied as a kid.) You just seem so super confident.
I’ve never encountered anyone who’s said to me directly, whether online or face to face, anything mean or disparaging about my style. I do know that online it’s fairly common to come across girls who will comment that someone ‘isn’t even vintage enough’ or things to that effect. I do understand that the beauty regime of being a pinup involves the practise of a lot of specific skills (depending on your era, typical things to learn to grasp are pincurling, victory rolls, beehives, winged eye liner, etc) and developing those skills can take time and a lot of effort. Therefore, a person tends to feel very proud of themselves when they’ve reached a place where they feel polished and confident in those skills. That’s great. But it’s unnecessary for anyone–whether within the pinup community or not–to comment in a rude, cutting or disparaging manner to anyone else, and the vintage snobs who do this are definitely out of bounds because they should know that within our small community they should be helping and encouraging other ladies who are taking the same leap that they have previously made. I would say if ever you see comments like that or find they’re directed at you then the best thing to do is have the grace to overlook them while remembering that women who go out of their way to spread negativity must be full of that negativity inside and must not be as pleased with themselves as they make out to be. Be better than that and be as poised as the women from the era that we admire.
I’d also say that I can understand it’s scary to wear the clothes out for the first time, especially if you’ve had a lot of experience in being targeted in the past. You can do it slowly by picking one vintagey aspect–like a circle skirt, or capri pants–and wear those out with a cute more casual top, rather than feeling you have to go the whole hog all at once in a head-to-toe outfit. Plus, an excellent idea is to invite a friend or two round to have dinner or hang out when you’re dressed up in your pinup duds so that you get used to letting people you love and trust see you in those clothes without the fear of strangers staring. I’m willing to bet your friends will tell you how amazing you look, and over time I’m sure you’ll find the confidence to take it out into the real world. There comes a point you just have to hold your head high and do it. I felt self-conscious at first but now it doesn’t bother me at all to have people stare. I’m super confident because I took the risk, let myself feel buoyed by that bravery, and found that joy in taking the risk and the happiness in finding my style compounded over time to elevate my confidence exponentially.
Artsyhooligan: 1) What women have inspired you in general? Pinup or not?
God, it’s like asking me to list what cakes I like; basically all of them. In general terms, I really am inspired by every woman who has pushed forward and pushed on, who has overcome and conquered adversaries, whether personal, professional, or political. We have come so very far in the world, but we have further still to go until equality is a global truth, so I feel looking to every single woman in the world can produce inspiration as we have all battled and all fought in some way or another, often daily. My family is a pool full of one strong woman swimming alongside another and they inspire me to be me–my sister Sarah, who takes my blog photos for me, talks to me about everything, and is my best friend, inspires me in every possible way because she is my rock.
In my pinup life, it’s a more specific field. I did a post on it months ago here, but I come across so many amazing women all the time there’s still more to add to that list. In short form: Dita Von Teese and Miss Winny are style icons. Micheline Pitt and Laura Byrnes inspire me with their fierce passion and drive, their acceptance and encouragement of their individuality and others’, their fight for body positivity and feminism and goodness, their badass attitudes and their insanely gorgeous faces. They are both style and substance, and I adore them. Chicagochicblog, Rachel Jensen, inspires me with her incredible style to push my own style envelope and indulge my most glamorous, chic side. Sarah Forshaw, on the most basic of levels, inspired me to attempt taking better and more interesting photos for the blog, when possible, but she also inspires me to be good and brave and kind and sassy. She makes my heart happy. We have a sisterhood of two and we trade inspirations back and forth so that we are always holding each other up and pushing one another on. M.Loisel, Giselle, inspires me to nail it and take no shit; she makes me feel like a superhero. Fellow British Belle Missfififvonfosse, Sophie, inspires me to be kind. Instagram is full of ladies whose aesthetic and attitude and baddassness inspires me daily, from makeup and outfits to a constant refreshing of the passion I have for this style. My followers there and my readers here inspire me to do and try and to dare. To share and to craft and to always make time.
2) What were you like throughout your school career? Nerd, prep, jock??
I was a normal middle-of-the-road girl at secondary/high school. I was smart enough to be considered intelligent by my peers and to be in the top classes, but I don’t think I was considered a proper nerd because I didn’t bust my ass over it, being a mostly-A/sometimes-B student and not an A* student (the top grade in the UK at the time, like an A+.) I had a small group of friends, I didn’t participate in any sports or clubs, and I got along well with my teachers, generally considered by them to be either a lovely girl or cheeky and a bit mouthy (haha, sorry Mr Bioletti, you were a dude.) I did my homework and I went home and did my farm work. I had slightly frizzy hair. I thought I was fatter than I was. My drama class were floored when they realised I could cry on cue because it had at least 6 boys in it who turned every improvised play into an excuse to host their own Wrestlemania. New things made me anxious. I always finished my exam papers 20 minutes early and asked for extra paper. I didn’t love going to school but I was good at it and I never got bullied. I was a teenager who liked to wake up at 6.05am every morning because I liked to have time to relax before I left the house and didn’t like to feel rushed. I didn’t wear makeup.
3) What photographers are your dream to work with?
I don’t claim to be knowledgeable about photographers, be they pinup and vintage photography focused or otherwise, so I feel supremely underqualified to answer this question. My dream of dreams, ridiculous though it is, is to model for Pinup Girl Clothing, so working with their photography team of Laura Byrnes, Holly West Photography and the other long list of incredible artists they’ve used would be literally a dream come true. In more realistic dreams, my dear friend Sarah Forshaw is an amazing photographer and when I visit her this fall in the states we have multiple plans for her to shoot me and for us to be shot together. It’s something we’re both crazy excited for and I cannot wait to get in front of the camera of one of my muses.
4) What other models/clothing companies would you want to work/collaborate with?
Pinup Girl Clothing, again. That’s no great surprise to anyone, I don’t think, not least because I’ve already mentioned them above. I love everything about that company, their clothes, their staff, their ethics and generosity and the community they encourage. It is genuinely a dream of mine, far reaching and unlikely though that is. I would also love to work with Unique Vintage, as they too produce gorgeous clothing and have a lovely team that have always been very supportive and generous with me. Working with UK companies, like Voodoo Vixen, would be amazing.
Rachieroo_mum_of_two: Do you ever feel over dressed/self-conscious wearing a distinctive style? I love the style, only found it in the last year and building my collection but always feel over dress-perhaps more to do with selfworth & feeling silly that I want to change who I’ve been/what I’ve worn for so long?
I no longer feel conscious of feeling over dressed, but I used to feel that way. In my first few months, probably in my first year, I did tend to try to find more casual ways to wear the style and I did feel conscious of other people looking at me. I left off red lipstick because I felt that would be the most dressed up finishing touch to the final ensemble. But the more in-depth my transformation went, the less I cared. Without sounding arrogant, I knew this style suited me and I was getting the hang of it, so I felt I looked good and it didn’t bother me to have people looking at me because I personally liked what they would be seeing. So, yes, people were staring, but I learned it was because we all stare at unusual or interesting things. I can still feel people looking–sometimes I see them doing it, or hear them say to their friends as I pass by ‘Did you see that girl? Her dress was amazing!’ or even, if I’m out with other pinup friends, see people sneak a picture of us on their phone if they’re too shy to come and ask us to pose for one–none of that bothers me. Dressing this way makes me feel happy and confident and sexy and like myself. I don’t need other people to understand that, but just because other people are looking doesn’t mean they don’t understand that. It may just mean they’re marvelling at you, or you caught them by surprise. So, yes, it’s very common to feel self-conscious, especially at first, but remember you’re gorgeous and unique and people would stare if you were walking round dressed in any other style that wasn’t part of the fashion norm, either, so don’t take it personally. Own the style and you’ll probably realise all the stares you get are appreciative and probably come with a small smile.
Nydialjimenez: When are you coming to San Diego!?
lol! I wish I had enough money to add California onto my scheduled USA trip this fall, but unless a PUG yardsale pops up in the timeframe I’m due to be over there then I won’t be able to justify a Californian leg. So, next year. Next year I’m hoping to come over to California during a PUG yardsale or Pinup Parade in the Park, so I’ll see you then 😉
Vintage_fox7: How many times does it take doing pincurl sets for it to stop being such a difficult and unpredictable process? For it to be easy to pin up and look good everytime? Only done a few sets so far but it’s such a chore and never seems to look how I want it/imagine it to be like
This is a tough one. I don’t think there’s a specific number of times you have to pincurl before you finally start to find it less arduous and get the results you want. It’s one of those things where practise really does make perfect, and also finding the products that work best for you, in terms of setting lotion, pomade, etc. If you get yourself a good set of tools then you’re already going to stand a better chance of getting good results. I’ve got pincurl tutorials here and here, the latter featuring a pincurler tool which makes pincurling a lot easier, especially for novices. You can also see pictures showing my pincurl progress in the pinup transformation blog post I mentioned above, found here. You might find using soft foam rollers can produce better results in the beginning stages of pincurls as all your curls will at least be uniform in size and putting in the rollers is much easier than hand forming pincurls. But if you’re set on pincurling by hand then you just have to power through. Over time you’ll find it much easier to do, you’ll get faster, and it’ll be less stressful. I take at least half the time to put in my pincurls now than I did when I was first starting out, if not a third of the time, and I get much better results even from a basic set, as over time your hair almost seems to remember what to do and automatically forms into the right kind of shape. Keep trying! You’ll see results much sooner than you expect.
Eleanor_rebel: Do you own any vintage pieces of clothing or accessories, and if so what are they???
I only own a few pieces. I live in the countryside and not within super easy distance of shops that sell vintage (Brighton is my nearest place for that, but I hardly ever go there.) I do look online for it sometimes but when shopping for good condition, pretty vintage in my size (UK 14) I tend to find it comes at a premium price I can’t justify paying. I used to own a navy tartan pleated vintage skirt but as it wasn’t full circle I sold it on once I had become full time pinup and found I never wore skirts that aren’t full. So I only own two vintage pieces, a basket weave vintage box purse and a 1920s brooch.
m.loisel: On a scale of 1-10 how would you describe our spirit animalness?? Seriously though…What’s your favourite thing that you’ve customised or bedazzled?
Girl, solid 9/10 spirit animalness. Only falls short of being a 10 because I’m leaving that rating until you finish reading all the Harry Potters and you can understand me on my deepest level. But my favourite customised item has to be my red bedazzled heels. While I get more wear out of my red bedazzled flats for practical reasons, the heels are just something almighty and godly to behold (even if I do say so myself.)
Missmaymway: What’s one thing out of your daily beauty regiment do you look forward to least and why?
This is a tough one because I love the beauty side of being a pinup. The thing I love least is probably putting in my wetset of an evening, but in terms of my morning beauty regime I might have to say doing my winged liner, only because I get stressed out if it goes wrong and I’m a perfectionist about it. Putting on full strip false lashes before a big event also gives me the stress feels because I wear a neutral lid and use black lash glue, and if I’m a dick I can occasionally get a bit of glue on my lid. I swear very loudly. You know what, yeah, false lashes are the worst part of it. I apologise to my winged liner for even tainting it with such a negative thought. Please don’t punish me, winged liner. I love you. We’re meant for one another.
If there’s anything else you wanna know, leave a comment 🙂