Once upon a time Hollywood starlets were famous for their stunning looks and the films they starred in. Scandal was that deeply hidden that it was almost unheard of, especially for the ladies. The Second World War came along and a golden opportunity was seized upon. Illustrations of pin-up girls were making a contribution to the war so why couldn’t our favourite actresses be seen to be doing the same?
Now there were a few famous ladies who became Pin-Up Girls. Some were the illustrations made mortal while others looked pretty but their actions mattered more. That’s the thing about Pin-Up Girls. You never knew what their attitudes were like so once real ones came along it showed the world women aren’t just about vanity.
The most memorable of the time is Betty Grable. Her legs were insured for one million dollars making her legs a feature that was always on show. Her most iconic photo was sent to hundreds of thousands of US troops and her smiling face, curvaceous body and fabulous legs became a staple item in every mans bunk.
Someone we all recognize as a model and Pin-Up Girl is Bettie Page. Known for her work after the War she’s been a regular in Playboy Magazine and other risqué style scenario shoots, as well as stripteases, which have
only added to her popularity. She seems to have accidentally fallen into the Pin-Up Girl role but she definitely
made it work with her trademark black hair and fringe, blue eyes and stunning body that looked good in anything indecent.
Carole Lombard might not strike you as a Pin-Up Girl but her classic looks, lovability and attitudes towards helping in things like the war effort make her a great contender. She’s most easily one of the great actresses who suddenly became human on the same level as us lesser mortals. You may not see any resemblances between Pin-Up illustrations and Lombard but her actions of flying around the US to sell War Bonds made other women look up to her and she became an idol. Sadly she died in a plane crash which was returning from fundraising for troops making her story and glamour a lot more relatable for those at home. Clark Gable lost his beautiful wife but the US gained a classic Pin-Up idol like no one had seen before.
Some people may disagree with the three I’ve chosen but there really are so many to choose from. The differences between old Pin-Up Girls and today’s so called Pin-up Girls are massive, maybe we should find a new term for the new ones… We don’t want to ruin the reputation and meaning behind the classic name do we?