I just love the fact that this scene accepts me for who I am and allows me to really be true to myself.
What is a pin up girl / model?
A classic pin up model embodies the ideal woman, whether she be a size 6 or 26, and she would present herself in a way that showed self control and respect for herself. Her cheeky but sweet manner would get hearts pumping and capture the aura of what a woman is. The photos or drawings of these models would be mass produced and pinned up on the wall to give pleasure to those who gazed upon them.
Instead of showing all the skin of some current day models, a pin up gal would dress in a style that embodied womanhood, while leaving it up to the imagination of the audience to see the figure and beauty of the model. The way a pin up model posed would be her main attribute, with long leg lines, plenty of curves and the innocence of the essence of a true lady. They would be used to sell anything from ice cream to lawnmowers. Victa Lawnmowers used pin up models to showcase their first mowers on the market.
Modern day pin up models choose to capture the ‘40s and ‘50s style, fashions and flair, but also add their own personality by displaying tattoos, piercings and Rockabilly fashions to merge the two eras into one. All this, while still keeping the classic pin up poses and ideals alive. Today’s pin up models can embody both the classic and the Rockabilly culture and embrace models of any age or dress size.
How did you get into being a Pinup Girl / Model?
My Tattooist Andy Gould and his wife Jane took me to the 2nd Sydney Tattoo & body Art Expo in 2010. There my eyes were opened to the world of Pinup’s. I met Sabina Kelly and other Pinup girls who I thought looked amazing showing off their love of rockabilly and tattoos, I instantly knew this was the life I wanted to live.
With my curiosity and my likeness for being seen as somewhat different I arranged myself a vintage inspired photo shoot and entered a competition to become Miss Illustrated Pinup Australia.
I had never done any type of modelling before but my children told me I should give it a go as I have always encouraged them to try new things. I thought that this type of contest suited me well as it would be a chance to show off my love for all things vintage as well as my Tattoos and have a bit of fun while doing so.
Tattoos are a hallmark of modern pin up girls.
Tell us about some of the pieces you have …
My tattoos are all very sentimental; each one of them has a meaning. They tell stories, and being able to show the world my stories through ink on my skin is something very special. My back would have to be my most loved, as it represents my children, present and past. It is a dedication piece to my beautiful children after the loss of one of my daughters. It covers my entire back and incorporates my three children sitting as fairies amongst vines and leaves, which represents our struggle to overcome the impossible, surrounded by 17 butterflies, which was the date my daughter passed on. This represents freedom and transformation to a new life and the transformation we had as a family enduring such a loss and being able to turn it into something beautiful.
It is a custom piece, and my tattooist Andy Gould from Colours of the Bay in Nelson Bay has done an amazing job. It has won 1st and 2nd at an international tattoo show, as well as best back at Autumnfest and best overall female at Maitland. My right arm sleeve depicts special memories from my childhood, my sisters and our fascination with ladybeetles, my grandmother’s favourite flower, my memories of living in the bush and learning how to fire dance. I have many other tattoos all with special meaning; some are still a work in progress.
I love it when people stop me in the street to ask about my tattoos. I feel proud to wear them, as they are a part of who I am.
You hold the title for the Miss Illustrated Pinup Australia. What was involved in the judging, and what preparation did you have to do?
I was amazed to win 1st place at the NSW Heats, which then put me through to the finals held at Surf n Ink on the Gold Coast – and even more amazed to win the title of Miss Illustrated Pin Up Australia. I still have trouble believing it sometimes … to think that I entered my first ever contest, making my debut in pin up modelling and to walk away with not only an Australian Title, but international recognition as well is pretty mind blowing.
The competition was very competitive, running for 10 months in total and was open to girls from all over Australia. The first stage was judging of photos and bio, the second was the state heats, and the third was the National Finals. The NSW heat was held in October 2010 at Chromefest on the Central Coast. All entrants had to perform a talent and also present themselves in a themed display of outfits from day wear, swimwear, lingerie and evening wear. Pin up posing was an essential part of the criteria, as girls were judged on how well they held their poses, how they presented themselves and on the authenticity of the clothing they were wearing.
There was a lot of preparation involved with this type of contest: photo shoots, pin up posing classes, searching for vintage and reproduction clothing and accessories of the ‘40s and ‘50s era, hair and makeup courses and developing and practicing my routines and talent. I had to have the personality, confidence and stage presence to perform in front of hundreds of people, which at times was daunting.
The judges used an international point system like the one used in the Olympic games to score each girl in each category. It would have been a tough decision, as there were so many beautiful ladies who each worked just as hard as I did for the Title.
For me, being a pin up model is not just a onetime thing. I actually live the life, day in day out. My hair, makeup and clothes all reflect my lifestyle as a pin up model, and the best thing is that I love it!
You’ll be involved in Wintersun this year, held in Port Macquarie for the first time. Where can we see you?
I am so very excited about Wintersun coming to Port Macquarie and yes, I am definitely involved. I have entered a competition to become the Face of Wintersun 2012, which will be announced at the beginning of the Festival.
For anyone who would like to meet me and say hi, I can be found at the Lindy Charm School for Girls. I will also be walking around out and about checking out the festival; I am more than happy to meet and greet, as well as pose for photos with fans and friends.
Why does the Rockabilly culture appeal to you?
For me it is very special, as I can express my love for vintage fashion as well as show the world my tattoos and be creative in doing so. Everything about the scene screams me! … lol. I also have been learning Rock ‘n’ Roll and Rockabilly dancing, which is good fun and hope to have a dance at Wintersun. I just love the fact that this scene accepts me for who I am and allows me to really be true to myself. I feel that this is a very important part of life, as so many of us struggle with acceptance these days.
My children look up to me for this, and they each get involved and dress up with me at times. They love the culture as well, and I love being able to watch them grow and feel that they can be themselves. I have great respect for this culture and can see it expanding rapidly across all generations. Overall, I think I am one lucky lady!
What does the future hold for Elle Ray?
I am looking to start up my own business here in Port Macquarie over the next year in and around the vintage and Rockabilly scene. It will be very unique, as I will add my own flair to it, and there will be something for girls as young as 5 right through to our original 1950s born Divas.
It would also be great to expand my modelling career in this industry, and I am always open to any offers of employment or new ideas that may arise.