This month’s first Q & A is with none other than internationally published, NZ Pinup Queen Miss Victory Violet. Miss Victory Violet, otherwise known as Ella has been awarded Miss Viva Las Vegas '15 & Miss Pinup New Zealand ’14. She is not only a talented hair and makeup artist, but a trained hairdresser, pinup stylist, designer and blogger. She has collaborated with a number of international pinup brands like Erstwilder and Miss Candyfloss, and has charmed hundreds of thousands online, with her inspirational message of body confidence. Miss VV shares a number of helpful tutorials, tips and tricks, and always the latest in pinup goodness on her blog.
Ella now lives with her also stylish husband Matt overseas in the UK to continue her adventures! Before she left us I did a little interview with her, to find out more about the life and journey of Miss Victory Violet. We photographed her at the beautiful Braemar BnB in Auckland Central City, Ella wears the Cherry Blossom hair pin trio available on my Etsy Shop.
20 Questions with Miss Victory Violet:
Q. Modern Pinup icons like yourself have become such a large part of popular culture in recent years. What impact do you think the pinup scene is having on mainstream fashion?
I think there's been a lot of things at play in the last few years to contribute to the vintage/pinup style becoming more common. There's been some fantastic shows like Mad Men that really revived the style and of course the vintage reproduction world has just been booming. Since I starting buying from these kinds of websites 5 or 6 years ago, there have been so many more start up! I think that the vintage silhouettes and styles have always made subtle appearances within mainstream culture because let's face it- the 50s nipped in waist and longer length is so classic that women really gravitate towards it weather they want to wear it all the time or just for a little touch of retro. I also think that the pinup hair and especially makeup gets seen a lot in mainstream fashion and red carpets because once again, liquid eyeliner, red lips and beautiful curls never go out of fashion!
Q. How do you want to contribute to modern Pinup culture in general?
As someone who found the pinup culture completely liberating and life changing after struggling with my body and self esteem for so long, I guess I just want to show other women how much fun you can have by dressing this way. Sure it's not for everyone, but for those who love the style but might be afraid to take that plunge, I love to show how great it can be!
Q. Promoting positive body image is very important to you, and it’s a huge part of why you create your content. How does being part of the pinup community empower women?
The pinup community is wonderful because for the most part we are all women who haven't felt like mainstream fashion is for us. We are far more comfortable in this style and for a lot of us, it also comes down to finally finding a style that suits so many different shapes and sizes. One outfit looks totally incredible on smaller women and plus size… and there's not much when it comes to mainstream fashion that can boast that. The pinup community empowers women because it has provided something for us to express ourselves, feel comfortable in our bodies and embrace our shape. Thanks to social media, it also brings us together which is wonderful for those who might be from smaller towns and are the only ones dressing this way- I'm sure it makes them feel a lot less isolated!
Q. Can you tell me about your readers? Who do you write your blog for?
I write for women of all ages, shapes and sizes! I have a lot of readers from the USA, UK, Germany, Australia and of course New Zealand.
Q. Most of us know about the pinup scene, but to someone who hasn’t heard of you, how would you describe what it means to be a pinup girl?
I guess being a pinup girl can mean different things to different people. For some, it just means that it's the style they identify with and will dress for the most part, in the pinup style every day. There are some who go full pinup with hair and makeup done all the time and some who might do a more casual version. Then there's those who really love the lifestyle too- the music, dancing, attending car shows and events… basically anything to do with the 40s-50s!
Q. What would you say to girls that have just started to attempt pinup looks. What’s one important beauty tip you would give to girls starting out in the pinup scene?
My biggest beauty tip for those just starting out with the style is… don't be afraid of backcombing!!! As a hairdresser, doing vintage styles is one of my favourite part about dressing pinup but I think when you are just starting out, you don't realise just how much backcombing some styles need. You've really just got to go for it, it's the foundation to styles like Victory Rolls and without backcombing, it's just going to flop and not have the structure it needs.
Q. What 3 tools do you find indispensable for accomplishing the perfect day-wear pinup look?
1. Red Lipstick- if you haven't quite mastered the eyeliner flicks, don't despair because red lipstick screams pinup. 2. Something to curl your hair with- be it rollers, irons, tongs, whatever you feel most comfortable with using. 3. Tail comb- I'd be lost without my tail comb, I use the end for rolling my ends into rollers and the comb part for backcombing.
Q. Tell me a little about your early beginnings, how did the name ‘Miss Victory Violet’ come about?
My name was rather hastily bought about actually! I was doing swing dancing at the time and joined a all-girl performance troupe called the Cinnamon Sweethearts. I had a week to learn a routine for a performance and was told I should have a pinup name! I really wanted to have some sort of hair reference since that's my profession and at the time I was doing victory rolls every day so figured 'Victory' was a good start. 'Violet' came about because I love wearing purples and the alliteration with Victory sounded great. A few months later I added on the 'Miss' to make it a little more girly and feminine. I'm a big believer in positive thinking and while I didn't know at the time of deciding on the name that I would go on to enter and win several pinup competitions, I sometimes think that having 'Victory' in my name definitely helped!
Q. You are skilled in so many areas, hair, makeup, content creation, and designing new creations! Tell me a little about why did you start sharing your style and focusing on blogging as your niche?
I started my blog after feeling a need to be able to share more information to my followers. I had lots of requests for things regarding hair and makeup, the fit of clothing and just general tips. But there's only so much you can do on social media so I created the blog to give me a better platform to share things in more depth. A big focus of mine a weekly outfit or review- I really enjoy putting these together, from creating the entire look with accessories, thinking of the best location to suit the outfit for the photoshoot and then being able to help with sizing and fit.
Q. How would you say your fashion + beauty style has developed, and what influenced that?
When I first got into Pinup, I think my style had a slightly more youthful feel to it. I really loved dressing in slightly more cutesy outfits, lots of nautical themes and even bigger hair than what I do now.
These days, I think it's developed into a slightly softer and more subtle version of all that. I still dress cutesy sometimes, but in general things are a little less 'novelty' if that makes sense. I also now accessorize a lot more than what I used to, matching bags, shoes and have a extensive jewellery collection.
I've also now got a major love for 1940s fashion and more muted colour palettes whereas in the beginning I definitely preferred 50s and brighter tones.
Q. Where did this look come from for you? Who are your biggest influences? Who do you admire most? Who or what inspired you to do what you’re doing now?
One of my biggest influencers when I first start out was modern Pinup Doris Mayday. She was actually how I discovered Pinup Girl Clothing and the world of vintage reproduction - I found a modelling picture of hers and fell in love with her look!
Of course, Dita Von Teese is also a major girl-crush of mine. She's so polished, has immaculate style and really bridged the gap into mainstream media.
Q. What are your favorite vintage books and movies? How would you say that Disney has influenced you as a creator?
I wasn't bought up with parents who played lots of old Hollywood movies. The movies of my childhood are all Disney, although I also loved watching Mary Poppins (1964) and The Wizard of Oz (1939).
Disney has I think influenced me in the way of embracing my youthful side. I find Disney so magical - play me a song and instantly it will perk me right up!
It's fun knowing that a number of my favourites like Snow White and Cinderella were made in the 40s and 50s and you can see that especially with their hairstyles!
Q. In your work and personal life, what would you say your greatest strength is, and where does that come from?
I think I'm quite driven. If I want to achieve something then I'll put my all into it. I don't like to disappoint myself or others so I will always strive my hardest to reach goals and targets.
Q. What was your biggest failure along your journey so far and what did you learn from it?
I don't know if I can say I've had a failure as such, there's things I may have done a little differently if I had my time again but life is just a big learning process. I'd rather look at it that way then label it as a 'failure'.
Q. What was your proudest moment in your pinup journey?
Winning Miss Pinup New Zealand was probably my proudest. I'd worked really hard for it, as had all the other wonderful contestants. I had put a lot of thought into the competition, especially the talent section because I wanted to do something really different to what had been done before. It definitely pushed my comfort zone as the only time I'd done anything similar was 6 months before when I won a mini pinup competition at the Atomic Markets in Hamilton. I was so proud of myself for entering and getting up on stage.
Going on to win in Las Vegas the following year was the icing on the cake, I almost can't even believe looking back what I managed to achieve!
Q. What is the best compliment you have received from a fan?
Whenever someone tells me that I've inspired them to embrace their body or finally dressing Pinup after wanting to get ages, that is really humbling.
Q. What is the best advice you ever received?
I've recieved a lot of advice, some great and some not so great. I'm a little stubborn though and beat to my own drum so I think the best advice was what I gave myself years ago. As things started to pick up and opportunities were coming along, I told myself to always stay true to my morals and beliefs. To not be swayed to do something I don't believe in. I made a promise with myself that where ever this journey may lead, whatever success comes, that I would be 100% happy with how I got there. That is very important to me.
Q. And, forget about the present for a moment. If you could live someone else’s life for a day, whose would it be and why?
I'm pretty content but, I guess just for a day... I'd love to be live someone like Rita Hayworths life for the day. To go back to that time would be such a experience! But only for the day, I'd definitely want to come back to today's freedom, women's rights and technology!
Q. If you were going to a desert island and could only bring three things, what would they be?
So tricky! If we are just going to hang out on the desert island and not needing to 'survive', then the pinup girll in me would say - sunscreen, swimsuit and a big floppy hat! But to be honest, I get really grumpy in hot weather so a desert island isn't my idea of fun haha!
Q. Where would you like ‘Miss Victory Violet’ to be in 5 years?
I have no idea! Terrible I know, but I just like seeing where this all takes me, having no expectations so every opportunity is an achievement and exciting.
♥ Like the hair piece in this set? You can now shop Miss Victory Violet's hair pin trio here on my Etsy Shop ♥
Read more about Miss Victory Violet and her adventures overseas on her blog at: www.missvictoryviolet.com
Hope you enjoyed this featured interview!
Photographer. Creator. Dreamer ♥