California girl Gina Elise, the creator and face of Pin-Ups for Vets, talks the 1940’s pin-up aesthetic, fundraising and volunteering at VA hospitals, her late Grandpa Lou, appreciation from the troops, and more.
Interview: Divertida Devotchka. Photos: Mark Menchaca
When you first created the Pin-Ups for Vets pin up calendar, your purpose was threefold: to sell calendars to raise money for hospitalized veterans, to deliver the purchased calendars to actual ill/injured vets with messages from the donors, and to send calendars to deployed troops to help boost morale. When exactly did you start this project? Can you tell us about the process of creating your organization?
It was 2006, two years after I graduated from UCLA, and there were many news stories coming out about VA hospitals that were underfunded, overcrowded, and struggling to properly care for the big influx of patients. The number of patients was increasing due to the aging Veteran population and also the Veterans coming back from the combat zone. I really wanted to do something to help out. Our Veterans sacrifice so much for this country, and I think that they should be getting the best possible medical care. I’d always been a big fan of the pin-up culture, and I adore the art of the famous pin-up artists such as Vargas and Elvgren. I decided to create a pin-up calendar that would raise funds to support these VA and Military hospitals across the USA to try to improve their healthcare programs. The first calendar released was the 2007 edition, and the rest is history! $50,000 donated to VA hospitals across the U.S. and six “Pin-Ups For Vets calendars produced to date! It was definitely struggle to get the organization off the ground, as it is with any start-up. I created a website and started sending the website link to the Milblogging community (Military Bloggers). They welcomed the project immediately and started reposting the website link and asked me to do interviews about the organization. I also started to appear at live events such as car and air shows that always attract pin-up fans! It has definitely been a grass-roots effort to spread the word. My first supporters started sending the website to their friends and family. They also started donating calendars so I could ship them to deployed units. And after a while, I started getting a lot of e-mail requests from deployed units for these calendars. They became popular with our deployed service members who have requested them year after year. Supporters of Pin-Ups For Vets now collect the calendars, and many of them pride themselves on having the entire set! There is so much thought and production that goes into making the calendars; they are more like art pieces. I try to remain true to the aesthetic of the 1940s pinups; classy and glamorous, but with a girl-next-door quality.
You had some very personal inspiration for starting this project, right? Your late Grandpa Lou served in the U.S. Army for 4 years during World War II, and the 1940’s retro pin-up seemed a fitting aesthetic for the project. Can you tell us a little about Lou and his service?
My grandfather was a pharmacist for the Army. He was in charge of the Army pharmacy on his military base and did such a good job that he received a letter of commendation from his superiors who recommended that he attend Officers Candidate School. He was always very proud of his military service. He would take my mother to the cemetery on Memorial Day so she would understand about the sacrifices made by his comrades. I still have his military dog tags. I am inspired by the medical care that my grandfather gave to Soldiers almost 70 years ago during WWII, and I feel that I’ve been able to take that torch and carry it on into this generation to help our current hospitalized Veterans.
Since starting Pin-Ups for Vets, you’ve received a remarkable amount of recognition for your work. In 2007 you were named “Outstanding Young Californian,” in 2008 you received the “Daily Points of Light” award from Washington D.C., and in 2009 you were named “Volunteer of the Year” by the Los Angeles Business Journal as a part of their annual Women Making a Difference ceremony. Not only that, but you’ve also collected 9 certificates of appreciation so far and 8 American flags that were flown by our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Do you find yourself surprised by the extent of the gratitude of the vets and/or the community for the work you’ve been doing? Did you ever expect that the project would grow into what it is today?
You know, I did not expect that Pin-Ups For Vets would have become my life. I created this fundraiser calendar thinking it was only going to be a one-year project. Towards the end of the first year, I started getting e-mails asking me when the next calendar was going to come out, so I created a second calendar and the project grew, little by little, with the passing of each year. It is quite an honor to have received these awards. I was very humbled by them, as I feel that I am not doing anything extraordinary–it is our service members that should be getting the recognition. They are the ones that put their lives on the line to protect our freedoms. I am just doing my part to support them.
As a more personal type of recognition, you have also received hundreds of letters from troops in Afghanistan and Iraq telling you about their experiences overseas. I can imagine that you’ve heard all kinds of stories, from the uplifting to the downright horrifying. Can you share a few personal anecdotes that have been shared with you by the deployed troops?
In general, the e-mails I get from deployed service members show so much appreciation for the simple fact that people on the homefront are thinking of them. They want to know that we are behind them, that we support them, and that we have not forgotten about them. I just received this a few days ago: “Dear Gina, We are currently stationed in Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. We received your calendars a few days ago, and I personally wanted to thank you on behalf of those in the shop, for not only bringing up our morale, but also giving me, along with several others, assurance knowing that there are still proud Americans back at home that love and support us for what we do.”
I understand that the proceeds from this project are donated to military and V.A. hospitals throughout the country to help with costs of healthcare programs. You’re also an advocate of volunteering at V.A. hospitals to assist our vets firsthand in their recovery. Any advice on how one can get started with volunteering?
Absolutely. It is as easy as contacting the Volunteer Services office of your local Veterans Hospital to inquire about how you can give back. The offices are always so happy to get new volunteers.
You’ve made a point to personally deliver gifts to hospitalized veterans at V.A. hospitals all over the country, as well as working with other non-profit groups to send care packages to deployed troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. We do cater to the pin-up crowd, so do you have any insight on what steps a gal should take if she wants to send pin-up goodies to deployed troops?
I would say to start by asking friends and family if they have any loved ones deployed and ask them if you would be able to send some care packages to the war zone.
What’s next for Pin-Ups for Vets?
I am right in the middle of a 50-state hospital tour. It is my goal to visit at least one VA or Military hospital in every state in the U.S. to boost morale of our Veterans across America! I have 31 states to go! If there is anyone reading this that would be interested in sponsoring a trip for me to their local VA Hospital, please contact me through the website http://www.pinupsforvets.com . I just hope to continue to give back and support our brave heroes for as long as I can. There is a quote I love, “You make a living by what you get, but you make a life by what you give.”
Anything you’d like to add?
I have many deployed units requesting calendars for the holidays. And I’m also planning some hospital visits in the near future. If you visit the website to purchase a calendar for yourself, please consider donating one as well for a hospitalized Vet or deployed service member. These gifts of appreciation will put some BIG smiles on the faces of our Nation’s heroes!
Dallas based pin-up and fetish model and performer Courtney Crave talks Germany, being a klutz, dissecting brains, and body modification. Courtney is performing at Viva Dallas Burlesque’s “Dirty, Sexy, Funny” show on Friday, January 7 at the Lakewood Theater. We thought a naked gal a much better depiction of “Happy New Year” than an old Father Time, or a baby in a diaper- we hope you agree.
Interview: Divertida Devotchka. Photos: Shoshana of DallasPinUp.com
You’re known as the “German Dream Girl,” but not everyone is aware of your background. Where were you born, when did you move to the states and why?
I was born outside of Naples, Italy, in the town Sophia Loren is from. Interesting factoid, in parts of Italy they prefer to call people by biblical names, so from birth until about two years old everyone other than my parents called me by my middle name, Rebecca. When I was two my family moved to Germany where German became my first language and I started in the German school system. I’m really only 1/8 German by blood but since it was my first language and I was raised as a German that’s how I identify culturally. I moved to the USA in 2002 after only having visited a few times as a kid. My friends all started moving here for college and I was left in Germany feeling like I was missing out. I lived between Texas and Germany for four years before settling in Dallas. I still go back to visit and hope to move back permanently one day.
You spent two weeks in Germany in September, correct? What was on the agenda? What do you find that you miss the most about being there?
My boyfriend, Allen Falkner, was booked to lecture at a body modification conference called BMX.net. We had been to it before and it’s a really great conference and a nice opportunity to see all our European friends. I was brought out to do live translation for some classes. We spent four days in Amsterdam visiting with friends and touring museums. We saw the Helmut Newton exhibit, Sex Museum, and Torture Museum. I also managed to chip my tooth at the Rijksmuseum on an exhibit, don’t ask, I’m a huge klutz. One of our friends there has his own boat so we spent a day drifting through canals, drinking beer and eating cheese, it was amazing. We spent the rest of our time in Berlin, which I hadn’t been to since before the Wall came down. I wanted to see some of the famous museums (and not chip any more teeth) and see where the Wall had been. It was tremendously sad and moving to be there as an adult and understand what was happening while I was growing up there. Eating good food and drinking beer is always on my agenda. The things I miss are too numerous to talk about, plus it makes me cry. I miss my home. I cried at the airport when we left.
You’re a model, fetish performer and burlesque performer. How and when did you get started in each of those endeavors? How do you feel you have grown as a model and performer over time?
When I was growing up in Germany people were always telling my parents I should be a child model. My parents, however, had different plans. They preferred that I live a “normal” life and use my “brain”. When I moved to the USA I was approached by photographers at a local goth/fetish club. Some were legit and some were creepy and just wanted to get me naked. I gave it a shot and discovered I loved modeling. I was always pulled more towards fetish, I love nudity and stockings and latex and corsets and super high heels. Modeling for photos lead to modeling in fashion shows which lead to performing. It all seemed like a natural progression to me. Adding pinup modeling and burlesque was just another way for me to have fun and add to my repertoire. I feel like I’m constantly growing as a model and performer. Different people inspire me and drive me to better who I am and what I do. I feel like if you aren’t growing why continue what you do? New challenges are part of what makes this so fun and rewarding for me. I’ve had help and support from a lot of people along the way and wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them.
I have a BA in Psychology. I managed to get my degree in 3.5 years with a 4.0 GPA in my field. I had lofty ideas about getting my Ph.D. and forcing everyone to call me “Doctor” but was burnt out on school. I was taking 21+ hours a semester, that’s a lot of classes. I’m very passionate about psychology and love research as opposed to counseling or something with direct patient interaction. I have enough of my own problems; I don’t want to spend all day listening to someone else’s. I’m much happier dissecting brains of people who have committed suicide or analyzing lab data.
You’re open about the fact that you have OCD. What challenges does that present in your daily life? Do you have any advice for others who live with these tendencies?
I do have OCD. For real though, not like when people want to impress upon you that they are particular or have an attention to detail. It’s part of my larger umbrella diagnosis of Tourette’s Syndrome. Primarily I have very obsessive thoughts about food being contaminated and things needing to be symmetrical (seriously, look at all my piercings sometime). My TS manifests as multiple tics, I probably have about 30 that I do almost daily. I’ve had Tourette’s since I was about 9 or 10 so I know how to mask these tics so that it’s not noticeable. It’s hard to give advice to others with these conditions because everyone experiences them differently. All I can really say is, be good to yourself and take care of yourself mentally because most people won’t understand what you are going through, you have to be your own advocate and number one supporter. In that same vein, screw what other people think about your fleeting attention span, need to count things, or noticeable twitches; you have to be okay with you and not with anyone else.
I became a big fan of vegan baking out of necessity. I am deathly allergic to eggs but also highly addicted to baked goods. If I wanted to eat pastries I had to either make them myself or risk hospitalization. Most people assume vegan food can’t taste good and they are always surprised when they find out my cakes they’ve been enjoying are vegan. I love tattoos and am working on collecting more. Recently I acquired a full back piece done by Scott Ellis of Triple Crown Tattoo in Austin, TX. I have so many friends that are tattoo artists that I would love to have work from, I just have to figure what. I belong to Eerie Books Horror Book Club which meets monthly at the book store. It’s great because it exposes me to authors or horror genres I might not have read on my own. And it’s fun to meet with people and talk about what you’ve read together and dissect the story. My all time favorite horror novel is The Shining by Stephen King. I read that book in broad daylight and couldn’t be alone in the room with it, if my dad got up and went into a different room I would get up and follow him without ever putting the book down. I torture myself with horror. I’m a huge weenie, I’m scared of the dark, I startle easily, and I suffer from chronic nightmares and sleepwalking. God knows why someone who has to sleep with a nightlight would constantly immerse herself in such horrific things but I do. I’m sure it has to do with the interesting psychology of the characters. The more messed up in the head someone is the more I want to learn about them and figure them out.
According to an October Facebook post, you were 13 photo shoots shy of your goal to have 52 shoots this year. Have you reached that goal yet? What are your goals for 2011?
I have to admit, I stole the idea for my goals from another Dallas model, Melissa Meaow. I’m very close to reaching that goal, which may be the first time I’ve ever accomplished a New Year’s resolution. For 2011 I’d like to get back to my fetish roots as a model and performer and work more outside of Dallas. I’d also like to do more publications and covers. I never share my personal goals; I feel a better sense of satisfaction when I accomplish them if I keep them to myself. Then I know I’m actually doing them for me and not because I’ll look bad to other people if I don’t. Plus if my personal goal is to eat chocolate and donuts every day or adopt five new kittens and my boyfriend knew that he would probably try to thwart my efforts.
You can find Courtney at CourtneyCrave.com and follow her at GermanDreamGirl.com for all of the latest photos, appearances, and daily musings. Looking for this month’s Cooking with Courtney Crave?
Interview by Divertida Devotchka. Photos: Shoshana of Through the Looking Glass Studio
Q: In addition to your extensive modeling experience, you also host a number of online/mobile shows. How did you get into that and how long have you been doing it? What is the best part about these gigs? The most challenging part?
I found my niche with hosting/interviewing after I moved to Los Angeles. I was approached by a web-based TV show called Altitude TV (recently bought by Revolver TV). I went in and did some green screen tests for them. When they offered me the job, I was surprised and a little nervous. I never really pictured myself doing that kind of thing. I always had my sights set on modeling. But it was rewarding to take on a new adventure and challenge. And as it turns out…I absolutely fell in love with hosting! It’s an amazing experience to interview people who have accomplished so much, are so driven to continue to succeed, and who are so passionate about what they do. I get to meet people and do things that people dream of … and I get paid for it! I am one lucky girl. The most challenging part of the job is scheduling. Trying to line up the perfect window of opportunity for everyone to meet and spend a couple of hours whenever they are already so busy can be hard.
Q: You just got married in April of this year, correct? How’s married life?
It is going very well! I was never one of those girls that really pictured herself getting married. Whenever I met my husband it was seriously love at first sight. As cheesy as that sounds, we both dove right into the deep end. Six months after knowing each other he proposed to me, and a year later we got married! There is no one else on the planet I would want to be married to. He is awesome. It’s weird to see your future in someone else! I never could see past a year or two with other boyfriends (sorry guys) but honestly with him I can see forever!
Q: You’ve been modeling since age 12 and just returned to Dallas from a stint in LA. What are some of the major differences between working and living there as opposed to here? What made you decide to return?
LA will always hold a dear place in my heart…from a distance. I loved living there! It was fun, exciting, and the opportunities and experiences I had were awesome! Before moving, I traveled to LA quite a bit for work. But living there… you’re in the hustle and bustle of the city – constantly dealing with fake people, getting parking tickets for everything, inhaling smog…and the TRAFFIC!!! It’s a tiny city with a lot of opportunity, but there are too many people fighting for those opportunities and they’ll do anything to “make it”. Don’t get me wrong – I love California! I am blessed to have lived there as long as I did and accomplish what I accomplished in my career, but moving back to Dallas has made me a much happier person! I moved back to Dallas last year simply because Brad and I got engaged and having a long distance engagement was not something we wanted!
Q: Your dog Monroe is featured with you in several of your photos and he’s obviously a big part of your life. I also saw that you’ve done some work with PETA. Would you consider yourself an animal activist? Why or why not?
Oh man! That little guy is the apple of my eye! Monroe is a Blue Merle Chihuahua! He is about to turn four. I don’t have any kids of my own but I feel as if I gave birth to him. The Peta 2 shoot was AWESOME. I was so stoked when they asked me to be a part of it. It was an anti-fur ad for Fred Segal. We posed with live bunnies and did a small interview on buzznet. It was featured in AP Magazine, as well as other publications. I wouldn’t say I am an animal activist. I don’t have any plans to blow up any facilities or do anything extreme, but my heart is very connected with animals. I don’t like abuse or animal testing.
Well, professionally I would like to continue to focus on and expand my TV hosting career. Maybe one day you’ll see me on MTV or VH1! In my personal life, I just want to grow old with the hubby, have babies, and live to be 87!
Q: You have some interesting tidbits about you on your website, such as the fact that you can play the saxophone, you don’t drink, smoke, or do drugs, and you can quote almost every Wu Tang Clan song. Care to share more about any of these things?
HAHA! Well the Wu-Tang story is short and sweet. When I was in 10th grade, I had a friend named Raul. He had this “W” drawn really big on his notebook, and I asked him what that was. He explained all about Wu-Tang and the 36 chambers. Then he pulled out his Walkman and played some songs for me. At the time I was heavy into old school punk rock, so it was pretty funny to see me jamming out to Wu Tang. I just really connected with the Wu. Haha!
As for the other stuff – I just try to take good care of myself. I’ve never been a smoker and I’m not really a drinker. I haven’t had a soda or anything carbonated in 10 years. I don’t do much dairy (no milk), and I take a bunch of herbs and vitamins to keep me healthy for as long as possible.
Q: Anything you’d care to add?
Feel free to check out my interviews with some awesome bands at www.RoyalArtistClub.com and my blog at www.RoyalArtistClub.com/RACblog
Brownsville based pin-up model Ili Jean discusses Andy Warhol, makeup, and inspiration.
Q: What songs are in heavy rotation on your MP3 player right now?
Right now anything by: Johnny Thunders, France Gal, The Clash, The Velvet Underground, Wanda Jackson, The Shangri Las, The Ventures.
Q: You do a lot of conceptual shoots. How much of that is you, and how much of that is the photographers you choose to work with?
One can’t function without the other; a pack of wolves is as good as the hungriest wolf, and we’re all starving to do exactly what’s on our minds. I am very fortunate to be able to work with such artistically driven individuals; we work together on producing photo concepts that fill our goblet of creativity. As of late we have been taking a more avant garde approach which has kept our minds busy with tons of new in depth ideas.
Q: You don’t see a lot of pin-up models in Brownsville, Texas. What’s the scene like there? Do you find yourself mostly traveling for shoots?
Brownsville is a small town with a lot of room grow , the photographers I work with regularly, live here in the Rio Grande Valley, but I do mostly travel to perform more so than shoots.
Q: What are your top three favorite cosmetic products and why?
– Magic Power by Prescriptive is a translucent powder that gives skin a shimmery glow after you have applied your make up. I never leave home without it.
– Show Dior mascara is the only mascara on earth that has ever worked for me. The consistency is thick but not clumpy. I used it even after applying false eyelashes; it is a female must have!
– Dior black eyeliner maybe the most difficult eyeliner to take off, but by far the best! It will not budge!
Q: If you could sit down to dinner with 5 people, living or dead, who would they be and why?
A famous Baroque painter named Peter-Paul Rubens. Definitely Andy Warhol just as long as he doesn’t leave me barefoot and glamorous in New York City like Edie Sedgwick. Come to think of it I would really love to see what Rubens would have to say to Warhol about art and vice-versa. Jayne Mansfield, because a dinner party requires both beauty and class. Then maybe Buddy Holly and Joe Strummer. Joe Strummer has always had allot to say so I’m sure the conversation won’t get boring- as for Buddy, I could be the girl in “True Love Ways”.
Q: Your weight and weight loss have been topics you are open about through your blog. In a modern society of “thinner is better” beauty ideals, you have still maintained a high self-esteem. What advice would you give ladies who are struggling with weight issues?
My weight loss was a gradual process taking over a year. My weight will continue to yo-yo give or take a few pounds. I believe it was an overall good decision to get some more exercise and be healthier. I was never dissatisfied with what I weighed before; I just knew I was not getting enough exercise.
Today’s socially imposed beauty standards are unrealistic and frankly unachievable. One can spend a life time trying to climb the beauty ladder to perfection, but the truth is our bodies will continue to change as we do. I hope to inspire women to accept themselves and realize you can be beautiful and full figured.
Q: You maintain that higher education is a top priority. How do you manage to keep a firm head on your shoulders, and balance your shooting/performing schedule with school?
At times it feels there are just not enough hours in the day for it all. I have a planner I write in religiously, planning day by day. After I graduate with a bachelor’s degree I would like to get my master then continue school and get my PhD. So looks like I have to start getting used to the busy life early!
Q: You talk about the concept of re-invention. Do you view your alter egos as extensions of yourself with personalities all their own?
I view them simply as extensions of myself. A prism has many facets, and this is just one reflection of my many colorful artistic genres. I am constantly reinventing and craving creation; it’s a concept that never leaves me.
Q: If 100 years from now, there is an “Ili Jean” legacy, what would you want it to be?
Ultimately, I just want to have a positive influence on women, I would like to inspire through burlesque, art, and education.
Q: What does the future hold for Ili Jean? Any upcoming projects we should know about?
At the moment I am going to school full time, and hopefully by next semester will continue my studies at the University of North Texas in Denton. Right now the sky is the limit; I am excited to see what the future holds for me. When I think of what the future holds I always remember a great quote by Leslie Caron, which I hope to live by.
“I think it’s the end of progress if you stand still and think of what you’ve done in the past. I keep on.”
- Leslie Caron
Pin-Up Model and writer Lizzy D Vine of Sacramento, California talks Nor Cal Vixens, motherhood, and patriotism.
Interview by Divertida Devotchka
Are you a burlesque performer or strictly a pin up model and writer?
Currently, I am a model and a writer. I have ALWAYS had a deep appreciation for burlesque. My hope is to reach those who have misconceptions of the art today. My dream has been to extend myself into that arena. I recently took that leap alongside the lovely ladies of the Kountry Kittens. It was my debut and I will be part of many more troupe performances and individual performances as well.
I am also involved with the Nor Cal Vixens, which is a supportive, tightly knit group of gals. I suppose you could call us a sisterhood of creative and artistic individuals. I am also the co-producer and editor of a local public access show called Nor Cal Vixens Presents. The show was concocted by the lovely Michelle Barbaria and I’m glad to be part of it. We’ve done two segments- one on burlesque and one on fashion; they should be available for streaming soon.
You have 3 children. What ages? Boys or girls?
I sure do. They are an extreme joy! My husband and I just had our newest addition to the family, Emma Rae, on May 15th! We also have two amazing boys, Owen who turns 3 in December and Noah who just turned 6.
What do your children know about your involvement in the burlesque/pin up world?
Right now they don’t have a full grasp of what mommy does. What they notice is mommy getting dolled up or spending time on the computer. When I’m getting ready, my boys ask where I’m going and the infamous question at age 6 is “but why?” I simply answer, “Mommy and her friends are filming their TV show” or “Mommy will be at a catwalk rehearsal.” Sometimes they understand; other times they have their own translations. In their eyes Mommy and her friends are movie stars because they are on TV and Mommy walks with lots of cats.
I get things done while they are setting up for bed and while they sleep. I’m usually working on one of my many projects I own or am collaborating with someone on. I have The Burlesque Times, Operation: Patriotic Pin Up, and the Modern Pin Up Magazine that will release at the first of the year.
How do you feel about the possibility that your daughter may eventually be involved in burlesque/pin up?
(Chuckle) I think Dad might have a different opinion about our lil’ peanut, but I accept that there is a 50/50 chance that she may want to do the same as me. I will teach her to love herself, to respect herself, to hold true to herself and the rest we will leave to time. I can honestly say I will support her.
How long ago did you start Operation: Patriotic Pin Up? What exactly do you do?
Operation: Patriotic Pin Up is a charity-based community willing to provide moral support, packaged goodies and our appreciation to all of our deployed troops. We will be hosting fundraising events teaming up with several independent charities, websites, support groups and the local Veteran’s Hall.
The organization didn’t have a name until this year, but I’d like to think that the services that I did as a child were the very start of Operation: Patriotic Pin Up or at least they’re the deep-rooted reason as to how it came about in my adulthood. In elementary school I was adamant about collecting goodies for care packages and thank you letters so that when Mom and I sent care packages to my stepdad who was deployed, his platoon would receive goodies too. Mom showed me to exercise patriotism and my dad taught me to be grateful that I am an American.
Your bio states you are from a “strong military and patriotic background.” Can you tell me more about that?
My stepfather was in the USMC for many years and at a very early age I was taught to appreciate the good ole boys (and girls) that fight every day to keep my tail safe. I love our service men and women and this is the very least I can do. It’s because of them that my kids and I can sleep safely and do things freely.
Texas Pin-Up Model of the Year, Amber Deville recently sat down with us wearing a hat she made herself, to talk oatmeal, Bettie Davis, and horror films.
Cover photo: Through the Looking Glass.
What did you have for breakfast this morning?
I had peaches and cream oatmeal with water- yummy.
How did you fall in love with the pin-up era?
The musical Gypsy with Natalie Wood is how I feel in love with the pin-up era. My grandmother, the late Betty Jean, showed me the movie when I was thirteen and I just fell in love with it. I love how it showed the old vaudeville circuit and the burlesque dancers including Gypsy Rose Lee. I soon learned about more pin-up gals such as Maila Nurmi, Bettie Page, Tempest Storm, Marylin Monroe and so on . I just love the style, what can I say?
How did you get your start in modeling?
My mother put me in modeling school at the age of fifteen; it was the Kim Dawson agency. There they taught us how do walk the runway, pose in front of the camera, and how to do your make up just right for certain styles of photography. That’s where I started out, and here I am now.
You recently earned the title of Pin-Up Model of the Year at Hot Rods and Heels. Tell us about that experience.
Oh my god, I had so much fun at the event and I really did not expect to win. The other ladies are great models as well. It was such a great surprise, and I am so happy that people like what I have done so far. I expect to be putting more and more out there and working my little butt off. But yes, I am grateful that I won and I would like to thank Hot Rods and Heels for putting together a wonderful event. I can’t wait till next year!!
What is your biggest accomplishment so far?
Well, I would say the biggest is winning Pin-Up Model of the Year. This year has been so great, and I only hope it gets better.
What advice would you have for a gal who wants to get started in the pin-up modeling world?
If it is what you want to do, but you have people saying you’re not good enough- don’t listen to them. Work towards your goal; in the end it will all pay off. Don’t pay attention to the negative critics- you will get those, so you have to learn to let it go and just do what you love to do.
What are three characteristics of a professional model? (What skills should ladies bring to a shoot?)
Always show up to a shoot on time and don’t cancel at the last minute unless it’s an emergency.
Always come prepared and be ready to model your butt off.
Don’t be mean to your photographer- they work hard to get you great pictures.
Who are your favorite vixens?
That would be Miss Bette Davis! I love her movies- she was not afraid to say what was on her mind and did not ever care what the critics thought. She was always willing to take on a challenge. Bette Davis was and always will be an amazing actress and woman of her time.
Is “drama” an issue in the pin-up community? How do you handle it?
If there is an issue I don’t get involved in it. I think its best just to avoid drama and just have fun!
What does the future hold for Amber Deville?
I am hoping to get more into acting- I am filming right now. The movie is called Trace. It is a horror film by Remy St Paul…I am hoping to get more roles in other movies. I am also going to be modeling a lot more so be on the look-out for new sets to be posted. I love keeping busy and hope to accomplish a lot this year.
Dayna Delux recently traveled back home to Dallas for a baby shower with friends a family and we were lucky enough to have her carve out an afternoon for us. Here’s what she had to say about pregnancy, motherhood, and baby furnishings.
Interview & Photographs: Shoshana Portnoy, Through the Looking Glass Studio
What was your first reaction to the news that you were pregnant? How has it changed now? (Are you more nervous than excited, etc)
I already had a feeling I was pregnant but I was still surprised. I took like 8 pregnancy tests that day just to make sure. The first day or so we were in shock but excited now it has turned to nervousness! Time is getting close and I get more scared.
Do you have any names picked out?
We have a list of names but I am not naming him until I see him. I’m sure it’ll just come to me!
What has been the high point of the pregnancy? The low point (did you have icky morning sickness, etc)?
Well I was pregnant with twins and I lost one around 3 months so that’s the lowest point, but the highest point is knowing I still have one healthy baby boy coming. The 2 and a half months of puking my guts up was awful too.
Funniest pregnant moment:
There have been so many… I suppose to me the funniest is the fact that my belly gets in the way of everything. I haven’t gotten use to it yet and it knocks things over and I bump into everything.
Did anything about pregnancy catch you off guard? Something no one warned you about:
People can warn you all day about things but until it happens to you won’t understand or believe it. I didn’t believe my friends when they told me my hair dye wouldn’t stay and they were right. The color just washes right out!
Wanna give your fans a sneak inside the nursery?
We have been working on the baby room for weeks now. It’s a slow process with everything being so expensive. We are doing a nautical theme with sail boats, anchors, nautical stars, lighthouses, etc. I hate little kid looking stuff like teddy bears, Winnie the Pooh, and sesame street stuff. I think his room might look a little grown up for baby but it’s really for us anyway right? Ha Ha
What are the top three things you hope to instill in your son?
Morals, consideration, confidence!
What is your idea of motherhood/ family life?
Honestly I have no idea. I’m shooting in the dark and I pray I get it right.
How will you introduce your life as Dayna Delux, pin-up model to your son?
I think he will just grow up with it because hopefully I’ll still be working. I hope I won’t have to tell him about when I use to model. Fingers crossed!
How will you juggle being a working mom?
I’ll juggle it will my loving husband and good friends I hope.
Speaking of your husband, how’s he handling the news?
My husband is so cute and excited about the baby. He has been searching for the perfect Angles baseball outfit for months now and can’t wait to take him to his first game. He has also picked out the first car they are going to work on when he turns 14. It’s so great to have a supportive partner. I can’t wait to teach him how to swing dance and get him his first skate board. So many fun things to come!!
How will your work or working style change, or will it?
Well I don’t think style will change at all but work will I’m sure. People will have to work around my schedule more than before and I’m sure I won’t have time for the little fun shoots. Only serious work now that I have less time.
What’s next professionally for Dayna & personally?
Everything, Why stop at one thing, I’m up for anything and focused. I’m going to be getting settled into being a mom and learning what that’s all about. My whole life is changing so everything is going to be new!