Monday, January 6, 2014

I'm in The Atlantic talking about Bettie Page!

Hey neat! I'm in a major online news source talking about pinup icon Bettie Page like I'm some sort of expert on the subject. Heh. I was approached by the writer of the piece, Tori Rodriguez right before the holidays after she found my artwork, notably my Bettie-homage pieces and asked me some questions. Some of my answers were used for the article, some weren't. I figured I'd post the rest of the interview here. Def check out the article above though, it covers a lot of ground, delving into her past, the musings of other fans including the illustrious Dita VonTeese (whom I had an intimate run-in with back in 2012) and a review of the new documentary Bettie Page Reveals All!

1. How did you first learn of Bettie, and what initially drew you to her?
I first learned of Bettie as a teenager in the early 90's when I would go shopping at Tower Records and saw Bettie's image on lunchboxes and other merch. As a young goth, it was initially her black and white Irving Klaw era photos that hooked me in. All those boots and corsets and those iconic bangs. I've heard of her being referred to as the 'Marilyn for brunettes'.

2. What is it that you love about her/what does she represent to you?
As a pinup artist, her photographs are an invaluable resource. Her posing, expressions and choices in attire are what pinup art is all about. She can run the gamut of fun-loving beach bunny to whip-cracking dominatrix.

3. Any thoughts on why she appeals to so many women in general?
I think it's that she represents a freedom to express her womanhood in a very repressed time. Even though her outfits (or lack thereof...) aren't as shocking today as they were when they were taken, she owns it. I have several books in my reference library that feature her spreads from men's magazines back in the day, and how she unabashedly owns the outfits she wears is inspiring. No matter how over-the-top, or scandalous or even downright silly, you can see her rock it. Such confidence is inspiring.

4. Some women see Bettie as an alternative to unhealthy societal pressures to look perfect and behave in a certain way. Where do you think these unhealthy messages come from, i.e. who/what is sending the opposite message to what Bettie represents? (I know the answer to this seems obvious, but we want to hear fans' perspectives.)
To me Bettie was a gateway into subcultures like rockabilly and burlesque, which are very body-positive environments to women with ample curves who want to celebrate their bodies. From Bettie I learned about other pinup models and burlesque superstars like Tura Satana. From Tura I learned about the movies of Russ Meyer and from there I've monkey-barred into this whole wonderful world of showgirls and rhinestones and pencil skirts and cleavage, cleavage, cleavage. So I surround myself with these images of powerful women and try my best to ignore what the standard of beauty is that other people or entities try to push on me.

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