Andrea, who's the organizer of the Blue Ribbon Bombshells event. It's a pinup contest held every July as part of a car show and rockabilly weekender in Wisconsin. Now, it's Ann's turn. Ann Brottlund is a firefighter (amazing!) and best friends with Andrea.
I love how both ladies stress the fact that Blue Ribbon Bombshells and similar organizations are communities that are about making women feel good. It's not about being prettier than another person; it's about feeling your prettiest and getting the confidence to put yourself out there. Well done, ladies!
How'd you get interested in pin-up? How'd you start participating?
I first got interested in pin-up after my best friend Andrea convinced me to enter the Miss Symco 2012 contest with her. I had never done a photo shoot before and was amazed at what a wardrobe change and some red lipstick did to improve my self-confidence and self-esteem. The entrance photos were unbelievable! I couldn’t believe it was me!
When I started looking for clothes for the event, I realized that there were more girls out there just like me…beginners. And there were girls out there who were more than willing to teach the beginners what clothes to wear and how to do hair, make-up. It seemed as though the pinup community was one I would like to be a part of. Because of Andrea’s support and encouragement, I competed in my first contest, Miss Symco 2012 and came in 5th place! I was just shocked that I got up on the stage, let alone made the top 12!
Do you collect vintage? What's your favorite era?
I personally don’t have a ton of vintage items. Don’t have the room for them in my small Milwaukee home. However, I think the 1940’s wartime look is my favorite; longer hair, no girdles, shorter dresses, accessories, etc.
Do you have a lot of rockabilly/pinup friends? How can people make those friends if they're not already a big part of the scene?
I do now. Since becoming friends with Andrea and starting the Bombshells with her, I have met so many great women (and men) who live the rockabilly lifestyle. Plus, by participating in and running a pinup contest, Andrea and I have met so many beautiful pin-up girls.
My suggestion for making rockabilly/pin-up friends would be to start by looking on the Internet. Heck, you can even start at the Blue Ribbon Bombshell or >Blue Ribbon Beer Run Facebook pages. Find out when we or other groups are running events and stop on by. Another idea would be to go to hot-rod car shows.
What do you look for in your Bombshell of the week? In the pageant winner?
For Bombshell of the Week, of course we want the outfits to be period correct and the pictures to be family friendly. In addition to that, as long as they have the confidence to rock the look and put their picture out there for our Facebook fans to see, we are happy!
Our pageant winner is different in that the seven judges were judging on stage presence, hair and make-up, outfit, poses and the answer to one question. But what our goal with the contest was to make the girls feel confident enough to get up on the stage to compete without making it a competition, if that makes sense. Through helping others, you help make yourself feel better. We try to stress that that is what being a bombshell is all about!
What are your favorite places to shop?
I love, love, love ModCloth for clothing and accessories. Otherwise I will hit the local resale/thrift shops. I went to a thrift shop in Eagle River, WI and found a display of about of about 20 scarves; I bought them out. Makeup? Of course that has to be Bomber Betty Custom Cosmetics!
What are your pinup girl essentials?
Red lipstick, false eyelashes and my red stilettos! Can’t forget a scarf or flower for my hair. Oh, and my best friend Andrea Maleu! (Shhh, don’t tell anyone but I can’t do my own hair! Andrea has to do it for me ) No you can tell whoever you want! The problem is that I have never known how to do anything but a ponytail or a side basic braid. Learning at the age of 39 is proving difficult!
Any advice for aspiring pinup models?
Just do it! The hardest step is just to do your first photo shoot. OK, well maybe finding the look you want might be the hardest, but after those two things, everything else seems like a walk in the park. A good idea is to maybe find a couple of girls who are just getting into it and practice posing with them. Or find someone who you know is great at posing and see if they will teach you.