Friday, March 25, 2011

Mission Accomplished

Sometimes we eagerly over anticipate an event. We plan out each detail. We daydream about it. We talk about it. And, as is the case here, we write about it. Sometimes, the event itself turns out to be a bit of a letdown as we have blown it up in our imaginations so much that the actual unfolding cannot live up to that vision.

I am happy to share that this wasn't the case with my Pin Up Girl transformation and photo shoot yesterday. I did my best to just go with it and have fun regardless of how it all went. Of course, I had imagined it a thousand times in the last few months but I went into it with as little expectation as possible.

After gathering all of my props and costumes and accessories and donning yoga pants and a black shirt and sandals, I set off for Ottawa at 9am. I was instructed to refrain from anything that might mark my skin (i.e. socks, bra straps, etc.) and, of course, to come sans make-up and with a head of clean hair washed the night before.

I picked up cousin, Loanna, who was my assistant for the day and we arrived at Alison's studio by 11am on the dot. Alison works with the photographer and gets the "models" ready for the shoot by creating the 'look' of the Pin Up Girl with authentic hairstyles and make-up. The photographer, Suzanne, met us and took one before shot. I had Loanna take a photo of myself, Suzanne and Alison before the experience was officially launched.

From left to right: Suzanne, myself and Alison: Before
Suzanne left and we began the 2.5 hour process of turning me into a Pin Up Girl. We started with hair and before I knew it, Alison had my entire head wrapped up in curlers.

Take a good look. This is the first and last time you will see me in curlers!
 The patience and skill that is involved in creating these hairstyles makes me appreciate the women of yesterday even more. We joked that when they had to refuse a date offer because "they were setting their hair," they meant it. And they would keep these hairstyles intact for a week or so before washing and re-styling them. That's why they slept with hair nets. Before long, the style started to take shape and I was beginning to feel more and more like a Pin Up Girl.

I was also feeling the effects of two sleepless nights and was wondering how I would muster the energy to be photographed all afternoon. Loanna snapped this flattering shot of me.

After hair, Alison started the make-up application beginning with a heavier stage type of foundation. It had a yellow-ish tinge to it but she assured me that it would not seem yellowish in the photos. Due to the bright lights of the studio, heavier-than-usual make-up was applied.

And finally, I was adorned with false eyelashes. This was the first time for me but definitely not the last time. This one little addition made me feel like a glamorous diva in an instant!

We were finished by 1:45pm and quickly rushed off to Suzanne's studio which is located only blocks from Alison's studio. Suzanne photographs her clients on a white backdrop so that she can add things to the finished product to change the feel of the photograph. Remember this is a Pin Up Girl photo shoot so there are usually lots of props and additions to each pose. I had many costume changes and did poses that involved ice cream sundaes, a chocolate cupcake with a cherry on top, a retro telephone, old suitcases and even some shots with black stockings, corsets and a white fur rug. You can use your imagination.............

Here's a teaser! The very first outfit and pose!

After three hours of shooting, we decided to wrap it up for the day. I finished the session with my own version of the famous Rosie the Riveter pose. It looked awesome!

Since we were on the east end of Ottawa and we knew that rush hour traffic would be at its peak, we decided to go and have a gluten-free pizza at Bella Vista Pizzeria on Bank Street. It was a wonderful way to end the day and to celebrate the completion of this four month journey!

One last Pin Up Girl pose for good measure!
Suzanne has promised me some photos for next week so that I can finally share the end result with all of you!
I am hoping that those of you who followed will be inspired by my journey and will seek out your own Inner Pin Up Girl for she exists in all of us. I know the exact moment during the photo shoot when "SHE" was released! I felt the shift and I even commented to Suzanne and Loanna that MY Inner Pin Up Girl had been freed. I encourage you to do the same.

Was this worth it as far as the investment? Absolutely!! I wanted to do this right and have it done by a professional. This was a shared birthday gift from my husband, Tim, and from my 39-year old self to my 40- year old self. And the experience was worth every lunge, squat, bicep curl, plank and penny. I am grateful that my friend, Justin Tracey, who has photographed my casting exhibit in the past, recommended Sweet Diva Photography because Suzanne (and Alison!) made the experience authentic and fun and comfortable and I can't wait to see the finished product! I will happily bid farewell to my 30's and embrace my 40's with open arms and a big, false-eyelash wink!


  1. Very, very cool. Love the false eyelashes :) So proud and happy for you. What a way to enter the 40ies! Congrats my friend!

  2. What a fabulous experience! You realised a dream and embraced it full on - "brava" dear friend!! You are an inspiration and I am proud to know you!

  3. How exciting Julie! Question: did you wear a hair net to bed??

  4. i am loving that hair!

    *haz flashback of Blade Runner Sean Young interrogation scene*

  5. Definitely giving all of us about to enter our 40's something to think about. I have a year and a half to go, I will have to dream up an idea to slip gracefully in the 40's.

    You are a brave and courageous woman. Hope Tim enjoys the corset and white fur rug photo:)

  6. I LOVE IT! And can't wait to see the rest of the shots! OMG your eyes look amazing in that last shot with the pizza. And your hair!
    So happy that you had such a great day and experience. See you soon!

  7. Amazing! Love the hairstyle. Incredible what rollers, hairpins, and expertise can do...makes the ol' ponytail kinda boring now, doesn't it?? Ha! I don't ever perform without falsies...eyelashes that is...and wear them for dancing, Mardi Gras, halloween, etc...LOVE THEM! Comfortable and soooo glam. You look so wonderful. Can't wait to see all the photos. Way to follow your goal! Glad you had so much fun. Talk soon!

  8. I love everything about this Julie. What an awesome and sexy way to welcome 40. And sweet diva did a great job. Look forward to hearing more.