Since moving to Maui, I’ve basically abandoned high heels and mascara. I wear my brown, wavy hair in a ponytail and I don’t own a single shade of lip-gloss. Gone are the trendy jeans and manicured nails that seemed so important when I lived in a stylish metropolis. Like many girls on Maui, I’ve discovered that all I need is a good tan, cute bikini and jean skirt to fit in.
Naturally, I had some reservations when I went for a sexy photo shoot at Island Girl Pinups. I figured that I have nothing in common with models from the 1940’s and 50’s, with their miniature waistlines and killer legs. And I wasn’t sure how comfortable I’d be stripping down for a photographer, or how much skin I’d actually be revealing. Some of those early pin-up girls were photographed in rather suggestive poses…
Then again, I’d be getting a few professional photos of myself looking smoking hot—well before my metabolism slows down and I get crows feet around my eyes. Plus I could wrap up the (hopefully!) sexy picture and give it to my beau for Valentines Day.
Armed with reluctance and nervousness, I met up with Katherine Day, a stylist and co-owner of Island Pin Up Girls (yes, they also advertise with us), in her chair at Rutz Salon in Kihei. I’d spoken to Chris Ledford, her photographer/business partner, and he suggested I bring ideas for a theme and an outfit to wear with me, but I arrived sans inspiration and in my casual Maui clothes.
This was no problem for Day, a bubbly redhead with a PhD in transforming everyday girls into glamour goddesses. She plopped a book full of pin-up models in my lap and dove into her stash of sexy costumes. She surfaced with a vintage swimsuit that looked like it would cover most of my “trouble” spots and a pair of red, furry high heels. I nodded approval and she went to work converting my messy ponytail into a head of soft, voluptuous curls.
While Day worked with a curling iron and an arsenal of bobby pins, she told me how she used to work in a trendy, oversees beauty school before landing a job in a Washington D.C. salon. In no time she was up-doing Chelsea Clinton’s prom hair and delivering Hillary’s First Lady blowouts. The job paid well and came with cool perks like White House invites, but eventually she moved to Los Angeles for high style and glamour.
There she honed her powers of transformation on stars and starlets and worked long days doing hair and makeup on movie sets. She said money was phenomenal, but she soon tired of Hollywood people and their eternal, insecure quest for perfection. So she moved to Maui.
After curling and pinning my hair, she moved on to makeup. We went with the classic pin up look: a bold line of black eyeliner, complimented with pink eye shadow and bright pink lipstick. She carefully glued a set of long false eyelashes in place, then fluffed and styled my bouncy new hair.
When I looked in the mirror I gasped at this stylish, pin up version of myself. I had metamorphosed into a modern Brigitte Bardot with skin so flawless I was literally ready for my close-up. Cheesy as that may sound.
I wiggled into the black vintage swimsuit and into a whole new persona. Everyone in the salon stopped and stared, the former normal-looking girl who now appeared to be ripped straight out of a 1950’s gentleman’s magazine.
We met up with Ledford and headed to a tiny beach that was nearby. No one else was there, luckily, or I may not have had the courage to pose.
Day, who was my own personal cheerleader for the shoot, demonstrated pin up poses and fluffed my hair while Ledford worked his way around me with the camera, telling me to lower my chin, turn my head and smile.
I bent over rocks, crawled on the sand and flashed my best “come hither” looks. I arched my back and neck into poses no normal girl would ever do, and tried to look relaxed while stretched out on lava. I channeled Marilyn Monroe and actually started to feel like a model.
The shoot took about an hour and a half. When combined with the two hours it took for Day to do my hair and make-up, the whole affair took pretty much the whole afternoon.
In the end, I got several awesome (and slightly retouched) pictures of myself. I also got to keep my sexy new persona, even if the makeup only lasted the day. I know now that there’s a hot, camera-ready pin-up inside me, even if most the time she’s wearing slippers and a ponytail.
Island Pin Up Girls, 280-9301, www.IslandGirlPinups.com. MTW