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If You Want Something Done Right, Do It Yourself; Why This Women Decided To Create Her Own Pin-up Magazine

I cannot express the importance of representation enough. Especially for black women such as myself. Black women are told constantly that they need to conform to a Eurocentric standard of beauty to be seen as feminine or glamorous. If you have straight hair and a lighter skin tone, it’s seen as more docile, quit, and traditionally more feminine. If you have darker skin and kinkier hair, you’re seen as ghetto, unkempt, loud mouthed, and traditionally more masculine.  

Which leads to women of a darker skin tone being underrepresented in the media. Especially vintage/pinup media. It’s very said that this ‘50s mentality is still held by the small minded few - but, there’s a women that goes by the name of Candace Michelle, who wanted to show the world that black women are and can be just as glamorous and feminine as any other women (whether the mainstream media chooses to acknowledge it or not.) I spoke to her to get her views on this topic.


I cannot express the importance of representation enough. Especially for black women such as myself. Black women are told constantly that they need to conform to a Eurocentric standard of beauty to be seen as feminine or glamorous. If you have straight hair and a lighter skin tone, it’s seen as more docile, quite, and traditionally feminine. If you have darker skin and kinkier hair, you’re seen as ghetto, unkempt, loud mouthed, and traditionally more masculine.    Which leads to women of a darker skin tone being underrepresented in the media. Especially vintage/pinup media.   It’s very said that this ‘50s mentality is still held by the small minded few - but, there’s a women that goes by the name of Candace Michelle, who wanted to show the world that black women are and can be just as glamorous and feminine as any other women (whether the mainstream media chooses to acknowledge it or not.)  I spoke to her to get her views on this topic.
Model: Britney Clarke
Q: How did you start your magazine and why?

A: “I started my magazine because I didn’t see any magazine geared towards Black Pinups, I thought it would be cool to have a magazine that was in conjunction with the Black Pinup Models page. I couldn’t believe that there wasn’t a magazine out there for Black Pinups, and to my knowledge there still isn’t. I wanted to combine Vogue, Ebony, and Essence and make that the pinup version of those three publications. I wanted black pinups to be included in the world of publication since they weren’t any hardly. I know of a few pinups that weren’t published in pinup magazines because they were black and were told “they don’t have the right look” so I started Black Pinups and haven’t looked back since.”

Q: When did you start developing an interest in pinup/vintage fashion?

A: “I would say that happened in late 2010. I had some interest in it when I would see films taken place in it like Dream Girls, Chicago, or Idlewild. Or I would see celebrities like Gwen Stefani or J.Lo sport the old glamour Hollywood look. But being in Hollywood, California living there I became so fascinated with old movies then and would dress up like I was from that era going to rockabilly shows and I became more engrossed in it, the two years I lived there.”

Q: Why do you think you’re drawn to the style?

A: “I love the glamour of it. Society back then was so clean and neat. The men wore suits and ties and hats. On their days of they would wear khaki pants and button up shirts. Women back then were ladies, they took time in how they look, they wanted to look proper. And they had some amazing hairstyles back then, works of art. I love watching videos on YouTube of how things were back then, the channel is called Yesterday Today, and they have 8-10 minutes videos of photos from the 1950’s or 1930’s and so on. It’s really cool.”

I cannot express the importance of representation enough. Especially for black women such as myself. Black women are told constantly that they need to conform to a Eurocentric standard of beauty to be seen as feminine or glamorous. If you have straight hair and a lighter skin tone, it’s seen as more docile, quite, and traditionally feminine. If you have darker skin and kinkier hair, you’re seen as ghetto, unkempt, loud mouthed, and traditionally more masculine.    Which leads to women of a darker skin tone being underrepresented in the media. Especially vintage/pinup media.   It’s very said that this ‘50s mentality is still held by the small minded few - but, there’s a women that goes by the name of Candace Michelle, who wanted to show the world that black women are and can be just as glamorous and feminine as any other women (whether the mainstream media chooses to acknowledge it or not.)  I spoke to her to get her views on this topic.
Model: Angelique Noir
Q: Do you think there’s still a lack of representation of black women in the media? (Mainly vintage/pinup media such as ads, models, etc.)

A: “Yes, I completely do. I wish I could see Angelique Noire in mainstream media every day like how Beyonce is in mainstream media all the time. If you’re not in the pinup/vintage world, you won’t know the likes of Angelique, Susie Dahl, or Tammi Savoy. And those ladies are awesome at what they do, and I want more recognition for them. I wish that I would see more old Hollywood glamour ads with women of color, and I wish that there were models that were well known in the industry that were pinup like how Tyra Banks and Naomi Campbell are well known in their fields. It would be great to see that because if someone was as big as Tyra Banks in her prime a lot of young women of color out there would feel accepted and not singled out if they are vintage lovers or wannabe pinups.”


Q: Some people think that celebrating and promoting vintage fashion is promoting a time when black women didn’t have many rights. 


Do you think that reinforces the stereotype that black women can’t be glamorous and that it is only expected from women of a lighter skin tone?


A: “I don’t believe that because the style was accepted by all women all around the world. This fashion is of class and elegance it’s not about embracing women not having a voice and being docile or the Jim Crow time, it’s just the style that they embrace the music and movies. I do too but I always say if I could, I would change the segregation of the that time and that women had more of a say also.

I cannot express the importance of representation enough. Especially for black women such as myself. Black women are told constantly that they need to conform to a Eurocentric standard of beauty to be seen as feminine or glamorous. If you have straight hair and a lighter skin tone, it’s seen as more docile, quite, and traditionally feminine. If you have darker skin and kinkier hair, you’re seen as ghetto, unkempt, loud mouthed, and traditionally more masculine.    Which leads to women of a darker skin tone being underrepresented in the media. Especially vintage/pinup media.   It’s very said that this ‘50s mentality is still held by the small minded few - but, there’s a women that goes by the name of Candace Michelle, who wanted to show the world that black women are and can be just as glamorous and feminine as any other women (whether the mainstream media chooses to acknowledge it or not.)  I spoke to her to get her views on this topic.
Model: Lady Eccentric 
I think it does. When I hear pinup even today, I think of Marilyn Monroe and Bettie Page, Bettie Page is known as the Queen of Pinups, even today I love Dita von Teese and she is known as the Queen of Burlesque but there aren’t any well-known women of color that people know in and out of the pinup/vintage world like her. 


I’m trying to change the narrative that black women are glamorous in and out of the pinup world. And that there is more to vintage history than Josephine Baker, Dorothy Dandridge, Lena Horne, and Eartha Kitt. I am happy to know that Angelique Noire is seen as the Queen of Black Pinups, I myself have also been call that but I give that crown to Angelique since she is a professional model. 


There have been some that have called me the “Queen of Black Pinups” because I have the magazine and I created the platform, but I’m still not well known like I would like to be. I would like to be on that level of Dita von Teese’s status of being well known in the pinup/vintage industry.”

Q: In a past article of mine, I had interviewed a model that had stated that the vintage fashion community has been very welcoming to her. I’ve got some feedback from readers saying otherwise. How has your experience been so far?

A: “As far as being accepted and embraced, I have no complaints. A lot of people think it’s awesome and love what I do. There are some that don’t, but 95% of it has been good.”

I cannot express the importance of representation enough. Especially for black women such as myself. Black women are told constantly that they need to conform to a Eurocentric standard of beauty to be seen as feminine or glamorous. If you have straight hair and a lighter skin tone, it’s seen as more docile, quite, and traditionally feminine. If you have darker skin and kinkier hair, you’re seen as ghetto, unkempt, loud mouthed, and traditionally more masculine.    Which leads to women of a darker skin tone being underrepresented in the media. Especially vintage/pinup media.   It’s very said that this ‘50s mentality is still held by the small minded few - but, there’s a women that goes by the name of Candace Michelle, who wanted to show the world that black women are and can be just as glamorous and feminine as any other women (whether the mainstream media chooses to acknowledge it or not.)  I spoke to her to get her views on this topic.
Model: Britney Clarke
Q: Who are some of your black vintage style icons and why?

A: “I would say Dorothy Dandridge. There isn’t a lot of about her I don’t think nowhere near as much like Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn. But what I have seen of hers, her stage costumes, those beautiful gowns and her hairstyle when it was long in the early 1950’s I love. She’s just exquisite and looks amazing in technicolor. I wish we could see a lot of those pictures of her in color.”

Q: How does it feel to know you’ve inspired so many women of color with your magazine? Is there a certain feedback or story from somebody that has touched you the most?

A: “It feels awesome because I didn’t think that I would be able to help so many women around the world. I just wanted to do something because I didn’t see anyone that looked like me in the vintage and pinup world so that’s why I created the magazine. For it to reach as far as it has is such a blessing.

There are so many! The ones that touch me the most, are the ones that say that they were inspired by me to be a pinup and that they are so happy to have a platform created by me and a place for them to and feel embraced and accepted.”

Q: Which issue of your magazine has been the most memorable for you and why?

A: “I would say issues 1-Angelique Noire, 13-Tammi Savoy, 20-Susie Dahl, and 26-Iridessence. The first one with Angelique was my first time creating a magazine and seeing how I have changed it and how far I have come. I was so happy to have Angelique say yes because when I looked up black pinups of today’s time, she was the first one to appear. She is one of my favorite pinup models and she’s so sweet, nice, and quirky.

I cannot express the importance of representation enough. Especially for black women such as myself. Black women are told constantly that they need to conform to a Eurocentric standard of beauty to be seen as feminine or glamorous. If you have straight hair and a lighter skin tone, it’s seen as more docile, quite, and traditionally feminine. If you have darker skin and kinkier hair, you’re seen as ghetto, unkempt, loud mouthed, and traditionally more masculine.    Which leads to women of a darker skin tone being underrepresented in the media. Especially vintage/pinup media.   It’s very said that this ‘50s mentality is still held by the small minded few - but, there’s a women that goes by the name of Candace Michelle, who wanted to show the world that black women are and can be just as glamorous and feminine as any other women (whether the mainstream media chooses to acknowledge it or not.)  I spoke to her to get her views on this topic.
Model: Angelique Noir
The 13th one I love because Tammi Savoy graced my cover. She is such a great model and a great singer she is also another one of my favorite singers and she’s so sweet. I really liked how that issue was done and I like the articles in it one of them was on an article about Viola Desmond and Besame Cosmetics.

The 20th issue with Susie Dahl was a favorite because I reached a milestone and I wrote about the first black millionaire ladies. A lot of people think it was Madame CJ Walker but it was actually Sarah Rector was how 11 years old at the time. And I just adore Susie she is another favorite. She helped me sell out of copies at Viva Las Vegas when she was there in 2017, she is so bubbly and such a sweet doll.

And the 26th issue with Iridessence is my favorite because it was a women’s empowerment issue and focused on overcoming illnesses and loving thyself.”

Q: Any upcoming projects we can look forward to?

A: “I am working on the first Black Pinups book. I also just finished a calendar featuring black pinups. I’m about to finish the 29th issue and will soon start putting together a documentary on Black Pinups as well!”

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