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"Be Proud Of Your Hispanic Roots" – Pin-up Model Ruby Champagne Talks About Her Experiences As A Hispanic Pin-up Girl

When talking about Latina Pin-ups, the first woman that comes into mind is Rita Hayworth. Even though she's from Spain, and is still technically white, she had Hispanic features (which were frowned upon in the '40s and '50s) She didn't really rise to fame until she had a complete ethnic makeover:

They dyed her long jet black hair to a reddish brunette, bleached her skin, pushed her hairline back through surgery (which is very painful.) They even changed her name from Margarita Carmen Cansino to Rita Hayworth. Simply because it was too "ethnic" sounding. It worked, she went from only staring in a few minor roles to being one of the most sought after actresses in the world.

I wanted to see if the pin-up community still has this European beauty standard or if it really has changed into to accepting all types of beauty. I spoke to Ruby Champagne; an award-winning burlesque dancer who was named Miss Vivia Las Vagas back in 2010 and has gone on to win many more awards throughout her career about her experiences as a Latina in the pin-up community.

"Be Proud Of Your Hispanic Roots" Pin-up Model Ruby Champagne Talks About Her Experiences As A Hispanic Pin-up Girl
Q: Can you tell me a little bit about your life and how you started wearing vintage fashion?
A:  “I discovered vintage clothing in high school when I started looking for fun and unique dresses to wear to formal occasions so I wasn't wearing the same Gunne Sax dress as 5 other girls. I also incorporated vintage clothing in my regular wardrobe when possible, which varied from '50s to ’70s pieces.“
Q: What’s been your experience wearing pinup style fashion so far?
A: "I personally connect better wearing vintage clothing than saying I wear pinup style. But many outfits I wear could be considered pinup. Since neither pinup or vintage is mainstream, it does seem to attract people's eyes to look at what I'm wearing. I'm used to the looks I get and welcome them because my thought is they probably don't see many women today look feminine in a classic way. When a dad says to his little girl, "look, she's wearing a pretty dress!" That's a lovely thing!"
Q: What’s been your experience in the pinup community so-far?
A: "I've seen many changes in the pinup community over the years. The most recent being the connections a lot of the girls make through pinup contests. It's really lovely to see them creating new friendships and supporting each other. I appreciate seeing the newer gals getting into pinup that embrace the lifestyle, not just the look. With the huge influence of social media, I feel it's much more exposed and connected, which is great! I'm honored to be invited to be a judge in various pinup contests throughout Southern California as well as host them as far as El Paso, TX!"
"Be Proud Of Your Hispanic Roots" Pin-up Model Ruby Champagne Talks About Her Experiences As A Hispanic Pin-up Girl
Q: How did your friends, family, and the general public react to you wearing vintage style fashion?
A: "Like I mentioned, I welcome the looks I get from the general public as I figure they're not used to seeing a gal dressed in a classic, feminine style.  Most of my friends are also into vintage style and fashion. We share internet finds in corresponding sizes, which has resulted in me scoring some great vintage pieces! When my wardrobe shifted into mostly vintage/pinup style, my family probably thought it was a phase. But just like my first passion being a Burlesque Performer, vintage style/fashion is my life!"
Q: What are some of the problems that you’ve had to face as a Hispanic pinup?
A: “I can't say I've faced any problems, but, perhaps I haven't been selected for certain features/shows or publications because I'm a curvy Latina. It doesn't bother me in the least as I've been given many other opportunities that celebrate my curves and my roots. I also make and find my own opportunities that welcome people of color and different shapes.  I've been on a couple magazine covers and have been a featured pinup model. Any little step like that is huge for all Latinas.”
Q: Are there any pinups of color from the past (or present) that you take inspiration from?
A: “My biggest inspiration is Cinema star Lupe Velez as well as film star & Burlesque Legend Kitten Natividad. My other inspirations include Tongolele, Maria Felix, Marinka, Gina BonBon...and so many more that paved and pioneered the way for us!”
"Be Proud Of Your Hispanic Roots" Pin-up Model Ruby Champagne Talks About Her Experiences As A Hispanic Pin-up Girl
Rita Hayworth before and after
Q: What’s your advice to Hispanic pinups who want to become pinups?
A: "Find your inspiration and make it your own! Study the original pinups of the '40s and '50s! I'm a huge advocate for knowing the history behind it. There are tons of books you can flip through to see how pinup evolved. Be proud for putting yourself out there and be proud of your Hispanic roots. We are a growing force in the pinup community. Support each other. There's plenty of room for everyone to shine!"