There will never be a time where I have TOO MANY sequin garments in my closet
When did your passion for the pinup scene start?
I've been into pinup and retro styling since I was a teenager. I was a tomboy and didn't like dresses or makeup as a kid, but heading into my teens the only ones I did love were retro dresses. Big skirts, petticoats, wiggle dresses and the magnificent hairstyles. I didn't get into make-up till my late teens, but ever since my staple has been the cat eye and red lipstick. My parents often say that I was born in the wrong era, I enjoy almost everything from the early 20th century; the styling, the manners people used to have, the slang, the music and the attitudes people developed towards "mend and make do" during wartime. The only thing I do not like is the attitude towards women. If I had been in that era, you can bet that I would've been wrecking up the place because of that.
What kind of style are you influenced by?
It's a mix depending on how I feel, a lot of my inspiration comes from the Golden Age of Hollywood - big gowns, well structured bodices, slinky and draped gowns and fishtails. There will never be a time where I have TOO MANY sequin garments in my closet. I also take from everyday wear, I am particularly fond of the uniforms worn by the ATS (Auxiliary Territorial Service) the women's branch of the British army during WWII. An iteration of this uniform is what inspired Peggy Carter's uniform in Captain America: The First Avenger and was also worn by Queen Elizabeth II when she was still a princess and served in the ATS. I grew up as a military brat, so for me the wartime style and music has a special place in my heart.
Who is most influential to your style?
I take little bits from many different people, a lot of what I take comes from old pictures of women from the 1940's and 1950's - not famous, but everyday ladies in their time. If I had to pick some well known ladies however, I'm influenced by a few old actresses and burlesque stars - Mae West, Blaze Starr, Bettie Page and Hedy Lamarr (who gets a bonus for also being a badass inventor).
What is your favourite era?
The 40's and 50's
What are your Top 5 must have items for being the pinup you are?
1 - Red lipstick - my personal favourite is Besame's Victory Red, it is the exact replica of the colour promoted to women in WWII to "boost morale" and was even a part of the some of the American women's uniforms
2 - Pin curl clips. The metal ones. My hair would be nothing without them!
3 - Head scarves! They are versatile as an accessory and can also be super handy if you're lazy (like me) and haven't washed your hair in a few days.
4 - My hair emergency kit - a tiny can of Schwarzkopf Super Styling Lacquer (5), some pin curl clips, a fine toothed comb and a seemingly endless amount of bobby pins.
5 - Con - fi - dence ! you can pull of any look as long as you're serving up confidence in spades.
Tell us about your makeup routine and how long it takes you?
I do pinup make up on a daily basis, cat eye and red lip (except on days where I know I'll accidentally rub my lipstick off, which has happened before!) My morning makeup takes up to 30 minutes, but if I'm in a rush I can do it in 10. The routine goes:
1. Tarte Face Tape Foundation (with a sponge blender)
3. Laura Mercier Bronzer for contouring with an angled sable brush
4. Blush (but only on the apple of the cheek and blending up the cheekbone slightly)
5. Eyebrows with Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Powder Duo, lining with the darker brown and then filling in with the lighter brown.
6. Eyebrow gel from Nudestix to keep the hairs from running away
7. Zoeva Eyeshadow (Rodeo Belle Palette) in three parts - shimmer dark brown on the outside and upper eyelid, matte taupe in the middle and a lighter taupe in the center.
8. Eyeliner - I prefer to use Kitten liquid liner by Tarte as the nib makes it easy to draw the cat eye and it tends to last long on my oily skin.
9. Lights, Camera, Splashes waterproof mascara from Tarte. Makes the little amount of lashes I have look magic. Taking the brush up under the lashes and going in a zig zag to make sure it covers the lash, but doesn't clump.
10. Lipstick/Lipgloss - I tend to wear lipglosses at the moment as the colour is less intense for my colleagues, on the days where I'm feeling like a boss bitch or need a bit of perking up I'll wear my Besame red lipstick with a lip liner.
For shows and competitions though, it can take up to an hour and adds on a more intense eyeliner, false lashes, harsher lip liner, primer, concealer and more intricate eyeshadow.
How do you set and style your hair?
I have naturally curly hair, so it tends to hold curls very well BUT it also means it's very difficult to tame into neat curls. I use two different methods depending on how lazy I want to be. If I'm lazy I curl my dry hair by rolling it with my fingers, if I have more time and I need it to stay put all day, I'll use a curling iron. Either way, I spray it with The Lindy Charm School Essential Setting Lotion before curling, curl the hair up to my scalp and pin it with a pin curl clip. I'll then hit it with some Schwarzkopf Super Styling Lacquer (5) from all angles and let it cool. It can take quite a while with the amount of hair I have, but after it all cools I take the curls out and let them down gently. Once they're all down I either tease with a fine toothed comb from the scalp to the start of the curl and brush it down with a postiche brush or I'll only brush the top of my hair from the scalp and move the curls into a position I want them and keep them in place with large bobby pins. I'm a very ad-hoc pinup.
What's your best kept secret?
Apart from good underpinnings like a corset or girdle and stockings to finish the look, it's most definitely something more intangible: attitude. You can wear the most expensive clothing and have your hair and makeup done to a T; but if you don't feel comfortable and don't enjoy yourself, it will not only take away from the look but also the experience of being a pinup. Be sure of yourself, be confident, love your body the way it is and embrace that all pinups are different shapes and sizes. That means you aren't any less of a pinup babe because you think you don't "fit in" to the "perfect" pinup size. Be kind to yourself and shine!
A little bit more about Miss Valkyrie Starr
Don't take everything so seriously, pinup is pinup whether you live it as a lifestyle or wear it when you go out. Don't be afraid to try new styles even if you're unsure about how you will look in them and don't be afraid to ask questions! All pinups were in your position when they started, don't feel like you're annoying anyone or asking stupid questions; everyone is always learning!