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Pin-Ups for Vets: So Retro, Yet So Now, as Gina Elise Explains


FBLA admires spunk, and spunky is the word for Gina Elise. Elise, a self-described fan of all things retro, is the heart and soul behind Pin-Ups for Vets–a calendar project she dreamed up to help raise money for injured soldiers. She told us:

The whole point of the pinup is to be sexy and sweet at the same time. A girl-next-door feel… Marco Patino, the amazing photographer, was instrumental in establishing the certain looks of each shot.

FBLA had a few more questions for this sassy minx.

FBLA asked: How’d you decide on this idea?

I have always been a fan of all things retro. It’s sort of a revamping of an old idea. In W.W.II, the soldiers took pinup art/photographs with them to war to remind them of what they were fighting for back home. I really wanted to do something to help injured vets. We often hear about the fighting, but the news doesn’t really cover what life is like for these vets after they have returned home and now are disabled or injured. The funds raised from the calendar will go towards great programs to aid in recovery (see website for the different programs) at the VA hospital. People have the option of purchasing a calendar for themselves, for an injured vet in a hospital, or for an active duty soldier. I am working with a couple that sends 200 care packages a month to Iraq…so if people chose the “active duty soldier” option, this is how the calendars will get there. You can order right off the website with a credit card or there is an option to send a check. Either way, the hospital will send a thank you note. The donation is tax-deductible and the project is cosponsored by the American Legion.

FBLA asked: How do you come up with the various themes for the shots?

I did a lot of research on pinup artists/poses/clothes (or lack of!)…the project has taken me a year to complete. I started on the project this past Janurary. A huge inspiration was Alberto Vargas, one of the most famous pinup artists. As far as costumes and sets…each shot is a certain scenario–Chef girl making cookies, Mechanic Girl fixing the car, Bubble Bath girl soaking in the tub… I wanted the shots to be very different.

FBLA asked: How’d you get girls to do the shots?
It’s funny you asked, because there is just one girl in the calendar…it’s me! I am glad you thought there were multiple girls! Thank goodness for wigs and my fantastic make-up artist, Emily Sanchez. Just so you know, this project was totally a labor of love. From the phographer, to the make-up artist to the graphic designer, everyone donated their time to make this happen. Pretty amazing.

FBLA asked: Any romances blossom from the calendar?

As far as romances…ha! I just finished the first part…creating the calendar. Now comes part two! Selling the calendar to raise the funds. No romances yet…but who knows!!!

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