Nola Chick

Photo: Carlton Mickle
Photo: Carlton Mickle

Nola Chick, Pin-Up model and New Orleans resident gives Pin Curl the insider’s guide to New Orleans, tips and tricks on modeling, and the importance of a mystery.

Interview: Shoshana

Your name let’s folks know just how proud you are of your home town. If an out of towner had one weekend to spend in New Orleans, what are some things they should be sure and see/eat/do?

Oh my gosh!  Where do I start?  Well, when you come to New Orleans, what do you want?  You want food.  Start at Mother’s and go from there.  It’s one of the best places in the city and they are known for their roast beef po boys.  Cafe Degas for French and Tony Angelo’s for Italian.  Oh!  And you have to stop by Central Grocery to get a world famous muffaletta.  This delicious sandwich was invented here. 

Then go see jazz at Snug Harbor on Frenchmen- they have free shows at midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. Go to One Eyed Jack’s or Dragon’s Den for your Burlesque fix.  Visit the Ogden museum and the World War II museum and the New Orleans museum of art!  Also be sure to do some shopping on Magazine street and get a drink at the Sazerac Bar in the newly refurbished Roosevelt Hotel.  The Roosevelt is a place where anyone can dress up and instantly feel like you are back in the 1950’s. I could go on and on, but I would be here all night! 
Take us back four years to August 2005. When did you leave, when did you return? Describe what the city was like after Katrina.

Well, I left with my family the day before the storm hit.  It was a Sunday and the mayor had officially told everyone that they need to leave or seek shelter.  We were gone for about 3 weeks, not really knowing what was going on or what the future held for any of us.  To this day, I think that the “not knowing” was the very worst of it. 

When we got back, we had discovered that although our home had been spared, my aunt and uncle, had lost everything.  For those first few months, New Orleans was not the city that I knew.  The national guard was heavy, parts of the city didn’t have power, there was a curfew all over town and there was a general feeling of unease.  We all had the question of, “well, what’s next?” swimming in our heads, because we weren’t getting any answers.  People who had lost everything didn’t even know where to begin in the whole “rebuilding” process. 

Should we stay and start over and hope this doesn’t happen again? Should we leave and start a new life somewhere else? Imagine your entire town being wiped out; Imagine that you have lost everything. All you have are the clothes on your back and a couple of bucks that the government threw at you. What do you do?

You cling to what you DO have…family, friends…this is when you realize what matters.  This is what gives you hope and keeps you going.  What else can you do?  You’ll go crazy doing anything else.
Has New Orleans returned to her former glory? Have the business, culture, & community returned?

I know some will argue with me and say that New Orleans will never be what it was.  I believe we are there now more than we ever have been.  The culture is here and it always will be.  The culture is in the people, the food, and the music, and it will remain as long as people come here and experience it. 

Do we still have work to do?  Absolutely.  Homes are continuing to be rebuilt and we could definitely use all of the help we can get.  I don’t want anyone to think that everything here is perfect, but I definitely don’t want anyone to hesitate to pay us a visit.  If you come down here, we will definitely make you feel at home. 

Photo: Michael Siu
Photo: Michael Siu

Let’s switch to a lighter topic. How did you fall in love with the pin-up style? What about it is so alluring to you?

Well, I have always been a “girly girl”, and I love pin up because it is so classic.  I just grew up appreciating the art of it and loving the “tease” aspect of it.  You can be sexy without showing anything at all.  It’s all about being a woman and embracing all that entails.  It’s about doing your hair and makeup and getting dressed up.  To me, it’s about that as much as it’s about getting a pretty picture- It’s about the whole process.  

I want people to know that anyone can do pinup.  ANYONE.  It doesn’t see race, size or age.  You are never too old, young, big or small to feel like a gorgeous woman and embrace who you are.  There is nothing that I do in my pictures that a woman admiring it on the internet can’t do herself.  I would tell anyone who is interested in pinup to do it.  Even if it’s just once.  
Who are your favorite vixens?

Well, ok, we’ll start with the obvious, the queen, Miss Dita Von Teese.  As far as models, I’m inspired by people like Gia Carangi.  The way she mixed fashion and art is what makes her a legend.  The classics: Betty Grable, Ava Gardner, Rita Hayworth, Eartha Kitt. 

These were women who did it right.  They were gorgeous, but they also had strength and attitude.  All of the actresses from this era carried themselves in a way that demanded respect.  They weren’t like the “starlets” of today with sex tapes and mini skirts.  They weren’t all over the gossip rags.  There was a mystery about them.  I think that’s the problem with a lot of girls today; there is no mystery left.  Girls shouldn’t be so quick to put it all “out there”. 

What is your trick to relating to the camera?

Well, that depends on the shoot.  For a “boudoir” kind of thing, I imagine that the camera is a boyfriend that I want to seduce.  Isn’t that so cheesy?  But it really works!  A photographer once told me to imagine that the camera is a person who I have to convince that I’m beautiful with just my eyes.  Ha!  That’s easier said than done. 

If the shoot is about you looking more serious, then you have to put yourself in that place.  If you have to look dominant, you have to put yourself there, too.  A lot of it, I guess, is about acting.  Only, you have to portray everything you want to say with one look.  

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