December 2015 Pin-Up of the Month
Jenn N., 33
Librarian/Iinformation Technology Professional
Now you can learn all Bettina's beauty secrets in her new step-by-step vintage style book! Available in print and as an e-book.
Click here to buy it now!
In which city did you take your first class with Bettina May?
I took my first pin up class with Bettina back in January of 2010 in Williamsburg [Brooklyn].
What made you decide to take the class? Was it an easy decision, or something you had to step outside your comfort zone to make happen?
At the time of my first class, I had just broken up with a long term partner, lost a bunch of weight and was building back my confidence as I entered the dating scene. I wanted to feel powerful, confident and beautiful, but on my own terms. As a feminist, I’ve of course struggled with the misogynistic culture we live in, which emphasizes attractiveness within an incredibly narrow beauty standard as the chief means of determining a woman’s value as a person- so my decision to take a pin-up class was not one made lightly. But I’ve always been interested in makeup (I pored over Making Faces for months in high school), and after watching a dear friend become a part of the burlesque scene in Manhattan, and appreciating the body-positivity and inclusiveness I saw there, I felt I could approach the pin-up aesthetic I loved with a sense of empowerment and celebration.
Did you have any previous experience with a vintage look, or was this a brand new experience for you?
I’ve always loved vintage fashion and style, particularly that of the 1940’s and 1950’s. Taking pin-up classes with Bettina just meant that I learned how to replicate those looks for myself!
Did you go on to pursue more photoshoots, or take another class with Bettina?
Yes! I did 3 more sessions with Bettina, 2 with friends and 1 on my own. I would do another! Consider what you‘d spend on a quickie makeover at Sephora, plus lessons in make up application, plus posing lessons, plus a photo shoot- you get all this from a body positive, feminist entertainment professional and business owner with years of experience and the nicest things to say? I count that as time and money well spent.
How do you feel your life has changed since taking this class?
Since my first class in 2010, my confidence in myself has regenerated by leaps and bounds. I know how to pose for a camera to show off the body that I truly love, instead of hiding it or feeling awkward. I know how to do simple, timeless and distinctive makeup and hair for myself, without feeling like I’m changing the way my face looks. My personal style has also changed; I’ve grown more playful and colorful in my fashion choices as I’ve gotten older. I’ve also met my current partner in the years since; his reaction to my interest in pin up photo shoots and my philosophical approach to them helped me understand what a wonderful, egalitarian, supportive person he is. We are getting married this fall! Of course, the vintage makeup techniques I learned with Bettina will be well represented on my wedding day. [ed note: Jenn is now married, and looked STUNNING on her big day!]
What would you want to tell other people who want to try something new with their life but aren‘t confident enough to take the plunge?
Research! Ask around! There are all kinds of resources out there that can help you make an informed decision about trying something new. Your local librarian will always be happy to help you locate these! Once you’ve gathered information, you can at least be confident that you know what you are getting into. After that, it really boils down to: you will never truly know what an experience is like unless you try it for yourself. I was not at all sure what my first pin up class would be like, and in some ways it was not what I expected. But taking it marked the beginning of a real transition for me, and even if I had come away with a less positive experience, at least I would know that it was not for me.
Find Jenn on twitter at @retrojayne and online here: retrojayne.com