For this month's style feature I met with Amy A.K.A Miss Hero Holliday at the very fitting Parnell Rose Gardens for a few photos and a lovely afternoon chat. We have collaborated on a few of her looks together and her style is very feminine, bright, always classy. It was beautiful weather during our conversation at the gardens so we covered almost everything about life, learnings, and of course everything style. We talked especially about her influence within the pinup and fashion community, plus her styling tips and tricks.
Amy is an accountant during the week, and dresses in her notable style every day. You may have seen her on her trips around Auckland City in her large beautiful skirts and bright 50’s colours. Amy always looks amazingly well presented, styling her outfits down to every detail. With matching colour palettes and notable brands, from pinup to mainstream fashion these are all styled to her distinct aesthetic. Read more below to see some of my favourite outfits from Miss Hero Holliday.
Miss Hero Holliday is also a hair wizard, and transformed my hair for a recent outfit of the week post. This featured a gorgeous 1920’s dress from the Gatsby Lady in London. View the full review and post here.
Interview with Miss Hero Holliday
1. When and how did you first get involved in the vintage fashion + pinup scene?
I first started wearing vintage over 10 years ago, when I started op-shopping. I never really had an era in the beginning, but I ended up gravitating towards the 50’s when I first found a number of vintage dresses on Trademe that were of that time. I then realised I needed a petticoat, I cut my hair to emulate those styles, and I started doing my makeup in 50’s styles too. Soon after that I realised there was a pinup scene in NZ when I went to my first Very Vintage Day Out last year. I got added to the groups on social media and it was refreshing knowing there were people like me out there. Before that I didn’t even know the scene existed!
2. What were your goals and vision in creating ‘Miss Hero Holliday’ and how did that come about?
I got told by a lot of people that I should start a blog, or join Instagram. Friends kept sending me links of other pinups saying “You should totally do this, you dress like this everyday!” Eventually I decided okay, I’ll see how it goes. There wasn’t really a goal, but if anything it would have been, (and still is) to encourage people to believe that they can dress like this. I get so many people who say they wish they could dress like me, and I say you can! It’s really humbling when people are influenced by you, and it makes me think I’m helping some people in the world to hopefully dress a bit better.
[So for you it’s a lot about helping people find happiness and confidence?]
Yes! I don’t think people dress for their shape or choose bright colours because they don’t feel confident, but who cares what others think? I hope people can feel more confident when they dress, and not be afraid to wear what they want and not just what ‘the fashion’ is.
[How did the name Miss Hero Holliday come about?]
I perform in an outdoor Shakespeare festival every year and so the ‘Hero’ part is from the character in Shakespeare’s ‘Much Ado About Nothing,’ which I played a few years ago. The ‘Holliday’ part comes from Audrey Hepburn's character in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Her name is Holly Golightly, but in the book her full name is actually “Holliday Golightly”. So I thought since I really love Audrey Hepburn that would be a good fit, and something different as I didn’t want to use Audrey. I think she’s very classic and very glamourous and so really wanted a name that alluded to her as those are things I strive for.
[Does your acting work with Shakespeare influence your style at all?]
I think it definitely improved my confidence. When you have to perform to a crowd of two hundred people a night for a month, you don’t really care what people think - they are going to be looking at you and judging you anyway so you just have to own it. It’s made me love dressing up more; I always love finding out what my costume is, it can really help me become my character and I like to make it my own as well. I do get asked a lot by people on an almost daily basis if I am wearing a costume, and have to explain this is how I dress every day. But essentially any kind of clothing is a costume or a front for something. So I guess my theatre experience helps me to wear the poofy skirts and bold colours and generally be ‘different’ without worrying whether people are looking at me funny!
3. What’s the biggest difference between the beginning of your aesthetic and now?
Definitely refining what I wear, I’m far more into the 50’s now than any other era. But in 10 years I'll probably be a mod chick, who knows! (Laughs). As I’ve grown up the internet has become a much bigger thing where now you can just go online, look for hair tutorials and vintage images and all this inspiration is available. I didn’t really have that when I first started op-shopping, but now I have more places I can get inspiration from and find what I like.
[What sort of things did you used to wear?]
I remember I had a vest that was one of those sleeveless knitted vests, it was very, very 70’s. It was wool so it was super warm (laughs). That and generally 70’s and 80’s stuff I guess, but not like super 70’s and 80’s because that’s not cool (laughs). It was more what I could find at that point when I was op-shopping. I didn't realise I could hone into an era until a bit later.
[How would you describe your style now?]
It’s colourful, 50’s, fun - I really like to have fun with my outfits. I don’t know if you can call bright and colourful clothing ‘elegant’, but I like to think I bring a bit of elegance. I don’t like to wear stuff that’s above the knee; I like dress to modestly, but fun AND modestly!
4. Who are your style icons, and how did they influence you?
Definitely Audrey Hepburn, I have a full ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ costume that I try to get out at any opportunity when there is a dress up party. I don’t try and emulate her clothing really, I more aspire to her elegance, character and class. The movie Grease was probably one of my first forays into the 50’s kind of styling, but otherwise I don’t look at anyone specifically. I just find inspiration and if I like it, I try to work it into my own style or put my own spin on it.
5. What does style mean to you?
I think style is something where you own it. You dress how you want and you own it, and that’s your style. I would like to think that style is timeless, but that’s definitely not always the case. I personally think that 50’s pieces are timeless, but that’s probably a bit biased! But overall my idea of style is someone who is confident in the way they dress, and not caring about what other people think.
6. What is your biggest success? Why? What did you learn from it?
A big success would of course be getting to 30K followers on Instagram, I never dreamed that 30,000 people would want to follow me and it's certainly very humbling! I’ve learnt that what I put out there can be taken seriously by a lot of people, so I want to portray the best but also the most true version of myself, which I hope inspires people. But I’m proud of a lot of little successes as well, like getting to work with so many good brands, and in other parts of my life such as in my studies. In order to achieve things I’ve definitely learnt that managing everything is very important, so I’ve become very good at time management to get everything done!
[Did you realise it would potentially require that amount of hard work and consistent dedication you’ve put in?]
It's been gradual, and it’s definitely snuck up on me to the point where I need to increase the amount of time I put in. I’m finishing my chartered accountancy studies soon, which will mean I will be able to devote more time to blogging after that, so everything balances out. I didn't realise it would grow as much or as fast as it has, but certainly that’s not a bad thing.
[What's your secret for good time management?]
Planning, I love to plan! I write a lot of stuff down, and I do budgets and time plans. When I went to America a few months ago I had everything written down, almost a daily plan and budget for what I wanted to do in each city. If I make plans then things happen, usually according to the plan. So that would be it, I write down everything I need to do and then I prioritise.
7. What is your biggest failure? Why? What did you learn from it?
If I’d known how things were going to go, with the blog and Instagram and everything - I had a very positive response but had I realised it was going to turn out that way I would have been more confident from the start. I am comfortable and confident in what I wear, but in terms of how other people would react to that I was unsure. Maybe I would have started approaching businesses earlier or posted more. I didn’t post on my blog a lot in the beginning, but people really value that content now which was something I didn’t realise earlier. So now I’m all about that content! Another failure is not taking more ‘me’ time. I used to say yes to a lot of things, but I’ve definitely learnt that not everything needs to be done right now so I’ve gotten better at prioritising. It’s all a great learning experience though.
8. You have a wealth of knowledge about hair and beauty, what are four tips or rules to remember for achieving the best results when styling hair?
That’s very kind of you to say! I feel I have very little knowledge. I do like to let people know frequently that I’m not a trained professional, I basically just learnt everything by watching youtube videos, finding tutorials and practicing. I always played with my hair and tried makeup tricks before I learnt what youtube even was. Having your hair prepped is really important; I only wash my hair once a week, which helps add volume and make it much easier to style. If your hair is oilier dry shampoo is really helpful!
But my four biggest tips would be: Firstly, to practice. A lot of the vintage styles are a lot more complicated and definitely need a few tries to get it right. There are some people who really want to achieve it and try once or a couple of times but it doesn’t work out how it looks in the picture. So they want to give up, which is totally understandable, but it does get easier! I have no training, and if I can do it - keeping in mind that my hair is definitely not full or super luscious - then other people can as well. Secondly, always take your makeup off before bed. I’ve only done that once and and although I didn’t break out in hives or anything it’s not good! Third, for a good lasting red lip, prep with foundation, powder, a full lip liner and then add lipstick. It stays on for a long time, and I only have to reapply at lunchtime or if I’m going out in the evening. My last ‘pro’ tip would be that backcombing is a really good thing. You might not think you need it but trust me, you do, unless you’re blessed with ridiculously luscious locks which I and most people are not. Then you just need a really good conditioner for hair washing days!
9. What hairstyle is your favourite current look?
I am loving the beehive at the moment because it covers all manner of sins, and also my hair has gotten long enough that it's making it quite full. Though I can't really fit it in photos or through doorways with it! (Laughs). Otherwise I really love doing a pin curl brush out; they’re different every time and it’s exciting and nerve wracking to see how it turns out, though I’ve gotten to the point where I can thankfully make it work.
10. What’s next for you?
Christmas! I will be continuing last year’s tradition of dressing especially for the 12 days of Christmas. Luckily that’s starting after my exam this year, so I don’t have to wear a christmas outfit at my exam - I got some odd looks last year! (Laughs). Definitely excited for some time off and Christmas baking. In terms of social media I have a lot of collaborations coming up, more than I think I know how to handle, but I will handle them! All very exciting, all great brands and we will work well together. Next year I am hoping to post more often too!
Photographer. Creator. Dreamer ♥