Sunday, May 31, 2015

Get It: Bettina May's "Everyday Bombshell"

If you haven't seen Bettina May, either onstage or in her pin-up work, you're missing out. The backstory: a poli-sci major from Canada becomes a Suicide Girl then a pin-up and burlesque performer, and becomes the first person to get a U.S. visa based on burlesque alone. And with that magic visa, Bettina is spreading the gospel of mid-century glamour and self-love with her traveling pin-up classes (learn to do your own hair and makeup or have Bettina make you over and take your photos), a series of instructional DVDs and now her book, "Everyday Bombshell".

"Everyday Bombshell" explains that even though Bettina May and other pin-up and burlesquers seem impossibly glamorous, the look is about styling and not some magical, God-given perfection. She even starts her book with a clean face:

She then goes step by step through the elements of makeup. Foundation, liner, lashes, brows, lip shapes and even a section on adding a beauty make to your look. For women who have been doing their own pin-up makeup for years, there's still something to learn, like this cool tip for the perfect eyeliner. I love the idea of using a pencil as a guide.

The book is full of info on hair styling which, frankly, I breezed through because my hair is very short and I can't do, say, victory rolls. But I encourage longer-haired ladies to check it out because there's plenty of detail about roller sets. If you have relaxed hair, you can follow the same instructions--just do a wet set in the same pattern and either let your hair air dry (seriously, air-drying works) or sit under a bonnet dryer

Once you've gotten your makeup and wardrobe down, Bettina helps you take it a step further and start modeling. She has some really comprehensive pages about posing and even a handy-dandy photo release in the back of the book so models can know their rights for working with photographers. 

Love this photo. It's so suggestive and raunchy.

But what the book does most effectively is stress that this look, this attention to detail and to yourself, is about making you feel good. You deserve to feel like a bombshell every day. Bettina's personal anecdotes show that dressing in a way that feels good to you is transformative. Can you believe she was shy before she found her vintage look?

I can vouch that Bettina's IRL life is as great as Everyday Bombshell. I was lucky enough to shoot with her and she made me gorgeous. Her directions were really clear and she made me very comfortable. There's nothing like working with someone who knows exactly what to do in front of the camera.

If Bettina comes to your town (find her schedule here) book a makeover and a shoot.

Buy Everyday Bombshell.


  1. What a genius idea for a book, that modelling section alone appears to be worth the purchase! And seriously, that last shot, those legs-- yowza! I had no idea you were a Vargas girl :)

  2. Oh I was wondering about this book! I'm totally picking up a copy now. <3


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