Throughout my time as a burlesque instructor and self confidence coach, I’ve heard time and time again how my ladies wish they had more courage to embrace what they have, rather than constantly wishing they were thinner/taller/more curvy and countless other things. Nine times out of ten, ladies come to my workshops with the aim of changing, improving or unleashing something about themselves and of course I am a complete advocate of self improvement but most of the time, I can see that what they really need is already there but with a little encouragement and boosting of self esteem, then the physical changes that are so desired, really aren’t the key to happiness.
The key is the mindset to believe in yourself and the courage to say ‘I am good enough’. So what does all of this have to do with vintage you ask? Well, during my live sessions on Facebook, I am joined by ladies from all over the world who then also contact me privately away from the public chat feed, to say how they enjoyed the pep talk! I never set out with this in mind but I think enthusiasm and confidence is infectious and through our shared interest of a vintage life, be it clothing, lifestyle or even just musical tastes, we all share a passion for a similar thing, like a universal connection that doesn’t care about language barriers and I have always loved this about the vintage I choose.
One particular aspect of vintage that has always inspired me is the pin up style and the posing and feminine charm that comes with it. I have encouraged many a student to book themselves a boudoir photo shoot and of course being able to put into practice all that they have learned during my workshops, makes it so much easier! A boudoir photo shoot doesn’t have to ‘reveal’ too much, and like burlesque, it’s what can’t be seen, that makes it work. You don’t need naughty underwear or lavish gowns in order to achieve the perfect pin up boudoir shot – a section of lace, satin or feather can be made to look incredible in the right lighting.
If you are planning on booking yourself a photo shoot like this, then I would encourage you to seek out a burlesque class near to you because the fundamental basis of this is to help you improve your self confidence, understand your body and know how to position yourself in an assertive and flattering way. A good boudoir photographer may also include the hair and makeup into the package which also adds to the experience and will ultimately allow you to positively shine in front of the camera. I love to see the result of photo shoots, especially when I know the preparation and hard work that’s gone into someone’s mind set – it really shows and the eyes never lie.
During my Vintage Weekender event in 2016, I hatched a plan to offer a cheeky pin up boudoir experience to my female guests and together with photographer Ash Black, we created a secret venue within the holiday park setting called Cheeky Chalet. Once guests had arrived, we quickly spread the word that there was a secret chalet and only the bold could have access to visit. During the three day event, ladies could visit the Cheeky Chalet and enjoy some time in front of the camera away from prying eyes and indulge in some ‘me time’ expertly guided by Ash who has a real knack of getting the best out of her subjects and of course if the ladies also happened to be students of mine, then they had the added bonus of knowing their best angles. I will be repeating the Cheeky Chalet experience at my next Vintage Weekender in October. See my website for details.
Let 2018 be the year that you explore your confidence, discover your inner pin up and unleash the power of you.
Written by Dawn Gracie
Images: Ash Black Photography
Vintage singer, event and cabaret producer, burlesque instructor & award winning businesswoman Dawn has been inspiring women to discover their inner pin-up since 2012. Catch Dawn’s live chat sessions on Vintage Life Magazine Facebook pages every other week.