Texas pin up model Lorelei Lee talks being petrified, Marilyn Monroe, American Pin Ups, burlesque performance and inspiration.
Interview: Divertida Devotchka
How did you get started with modeling? (I read that you did a shoot to send photos to your husband stationed overseas, and that you were bitten by the pin up bug, if you will.) Please tell us about the development of Lorelei Lee as she is today.
I sure did! My husband was stationed overseas and I thought it would be a fun idea to have a few pin up photos taken for him. I came across 666 Photography and thought that their work was just beautiful. I was absolutely petrified when I got there. I didn’t even look at myself in the mirror after Lisa the makeup artist had dolled me up. I was very stiff and felt like I would look horrible. Gayla (the photographer) was absolutely wonderful and was so good at helping me out. After I got the pictures back I was in awe at how they turned out. My husband was pretty happy too.
Truth is, I had always loved the pinup girls of the past. As a teenager, my room was filled with Marilyn Monroe pictures. I just didn’t know there were people who still embraced that lifestyle. As I made more friends on My Space I started finding all these pinup models and photographers. It was so amazing. It was like this whole world opened up.
After that first shoot I booked with Miss Missy Photography and I was much more at ease, moving freely from pose to pose. I got a few more shoots under my belt and I started thinking about a pinup name. My love for Marilyn Monroe hadn’t changed and I decided on Lorelei Lee; which was her character’s name in a movie called Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
You’re starring in a new local reality show, American Pin Ups, along with Flossie Carmichael with the involvement of local photographer Rene Soliz. You’ve also been hosting a weekly Sunday Night Drive-In Movie on the same local channel (TXA21). The show is described as “Two Broke Girls” meets “Project Runway” and is supposed to document the balancing act between being pin up models and your everyday lives (being moms/wives.) Can you share with us how this project got started? What has the experience been like so far?
Flossie Carmichael and I just started hosting the TXA 21 Drive in Movie which comes on Sunday nights at 7pm. It’s been a pretty fun gig! Our first episode we just got to say some basic lines and by the second one we were asked to start doing interviews. It’s not a long segment but it is on air experience and we get to try to get better at being in front of a live camera.
We also have a reality show that we are working on called American Pinups. It is being shopped around to various networks. This will be an exciting show for DFW. It will revolve around our lives at home with our family and out at shoots, the fun parts and the not so fun parts. The love and support we can give each other and the cattiness and drama that can also be a part of it. But it will also showcase other local pinup models, businesses, photographers, etc. It will be a great way for the pinup world to be showcased to the rest of America. There are a lot of people who have no idea what a pinup is. Or they think it’s something dirty. The wonderful thing about pinups is we come in all shapes, sizes, and ages. I am so excited about this show, and you can see more at www.americanpinups.tv .
American Pin Ups is definitely not your first foray into television. You’ve been in multiple episodes of Lone Star, The Good Guys, Chase, as well as the pilot of Dallas. What other acting experience do you have? Do you have any other television or film projects currently in the works?
Working as an extra on those TV shows was a lot of fun. Chase was my favorite because I was lucky enough to become a regular on that series. Believe it or not, I played a US Marshall on that show. In 2011 I did 3 movies. The first two were very low budget movies. The first one was called The Might of Me. The director actually contacted me on Facebook and asked if I would be interested in being in his film. My character Julie wasn’t even in the script. So I went down to Austin and played one of the main character’s date for the evening. On our second date we broke up. All my lines were ad libbed. The second movie I did was called Fess Up (a murder mystery). It was written by the same director as the first movie. This time, my part was written for me. I played Julia Krane. She was a woman who was used to getting what she wanted no matter the cost. The last movie I did was called The Merchant. It is a horror western that takes place in the 1895. I got that part because of a photo I did with Halo where I am the Lady of the Lake. The writer of the film saw the picture on Facebook and he messaged me to see if I would be interested in being an extra. I saw some clips from the movie that were all ready posted and was in awe at how good it looked. Before we started filming the writer messaged me again and told me a featured extra couldn’t do the movie anymore and he wanted to know if I would do it. Be featured?? Of course!! So I played a townswoman who became possessed by a demon. I got to do my own stunts with their stunt man. Kick a little butt. It was an amazing experience. All three movies will be out sometime this year.
Aside from modeling and acting, you’ve also been involved in the Dallas and Fort Worth burlesque scenes. You’ve been a stage kitten as well as dabbling in performance as well, right? I’d like to know about your first performance. What were the biggest challenges for you? What was your favorite aspect of performing? Do you plan to pursue more burlesque performance in the future?
Burlesque is absolutely amazing. I love how empowered the performers seem to be. The confidence that pours out of every gland or that could just be a lot of glitter. Vivienne Vermuth, the creator of Broads and Panties, was kind enough to let me kitten at some of her shows. After a while, I was becoming more and more interested in performing. All my life, I have been afraid to try new things. Afraid of what people would say about me. Afraid at failing. Afraid at losing. I always stayed with what was safe. So doing burlesque was a giant leap for me. Once again, the wonderful Vivienne took me under her wing and gave me a shot and I am so, so grateful to her for that. I would love the chance to perform more. Unfortunately, it’s pretty difficult for me to do. I actually turn down a lot of shows simply because I do not have the time to come up with costumes, put together a routine, and most importantly practice. I don’t want to do something half ass. If I do a show I want it to be a performance that Vivienne will be proud of.
Which models/photographers are you the most inspired by?
There are so many models/actresses that inspire me. Bettie Page, Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable, Louise Brooks, Brigitte Bardot, Clara Bow to the modern Bernie Dexter, Dayna Delux, Doris Mayday, Angela Ryan, Courtney Crave, Miss VHaven, oh the list could go on and on. As for photographers, Bunny Yeager, Andre De Dienes, Viva Van Story, Miss Missy Photography, 666 Photography, Shannon Brooke, Angela Morales, Vara Pappas. I’m sure I’m missing many many more.
What’s next for Lorelei Lee?
What’s next for Lorelei? I hope to just continue staying busy, healthy, and happy. I’m enjoying the ride. The last few years have been amazing. I am very lucky to get to work with some amazing people and to come home to a wonderful family.