“So many out-of-the-way things had happened lately, that Alice had begun to think that very few things indeed were really impossible.” – Alice in Wonderland

Being a pin-up model was a little like falling down the rabbit hole.

I arrived with bushy hair and a clean face, wearing a t-shirt and jeans, and within an hour I was transformed into a woman from a different era altogether.

There was this sense of disassociating from the moment, of leaving behind the Meghan who is Director of Research and Planning, the Meghan who is modest and self-conscious and self-effacing.

It was like creating a set of characters all my own, like having multiple personalities captured on film.

It was amazing…

* * *

Veronica

Megan3webresized

(Photographer: Stacey Barich)

She’s a good girl learning to be bad.

She writes letters to her husband who’s stationed in France and fills them with naughty words her friends teach her and before she seals them up, she sprays them with perfume.

Sometimes, when he writes her back, she thinks she can smell copper and earth in the paper and she worries.

She wants him to come home and live up to the promises he’s made in the pages he’s sent her, promises that bring a blush to her freckled cheeks.

He tells her that he keeps her pin-up close to his heart, in the inside pocket of his uniform shirt.

She wonders if that’s why the government sewed those in there in the first place.

* * *

Betty

Megan4web

(Photographer: Stacey Barich)

She grew up in a tiny and iconic northern town, a true American homestead with flags framing a Main Street that’s straight out of The Saturday Evening Post and Schwinn bicycles and kids playing baseball on the high school diamond in the summer months.

She left it to be with a man who told her she was beautiful and that he loved her.

When they sent him off to Hawaii she had pinups taken so he’d have something to remember her by, something tangible.

He makes it home in one piece and he asks her to put the dress on so he can take her out for a night on the town.

Being a smart girl, she wears the garters, too.

* * *

Lizzy

Megan1webresized

(Photographer: Stacey Barich)

She meets a wonderful man who takes her on picnics and tells her she’s amazing as they stare up at the stars.

He was a mechanic before Uncle Sam got a hold of him and turned him into an engineer.

He fixes the planes that arrive in Pearl Harbor, their engines sputtering and dying, their pilots much the same.

She writes him letters once a week and she sends him a photo of her smiling, posing just for him.

He’s been gone almost a year when he proposes to her in a beautifully written letter, a letter that arrives on December 8th.

She pulls it out sometimes, looks at it when she’s sure she can focus on the words, and pretends his name isn’t carved on the granite monument at the center of town.

* * *

See?

It’s amazing what a photo can become when given the chance, amazing what a person can become when given a garter belt.

At first glance, those photos are me having a good time.

There’s so much more to them, though.

They’re the in between moments when I wasn’t laughing or stretching kinks out of my neck and arms and legs or making faces at Jilly and Jessica while Stacey changed the set.

They’re the moments when the camera captured something other than my shyness.

The whole point of this pin-up shoot was to teach me something about myself, to learn how to feel good about myself without having someone tell me I’m beautiful.

I’ve never considered myself sexy.

I’ve never looked in a mirror and thought that I was beautiful or a knock-out.

That night, in Stacey’s basement, with the Tungsten lamps on me and her camera clicking a million photos a minute, I felt larger than life.

It was like having 26 years of self-esteem issues lifted off my shoulders and deposited elsewhere.

Being a pin-up girl was the most amazing experience of my life and it taught me that every woman should have the opportunity to dress up like a 1940s vixen and strut her stuff in front of a camera.

Because, in the words of some very wise people I’ve known, if you don’t love yourself then how can you expect anyone else to?

XOXO, Va-Va-Va-Voom

P.S. That letter in the first photo actually had writing on it and while I won’t repeat what it said for fear my mother would never forgive me, I will say this: Stacey’s vocabularly makes me envious.

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Putting aside her commitment to the National Ninja Association, this young, bright and talented author has finally come out of hiding. She currently exhausts her brain capacity working for government, but spends many afternoons dreaming up new ideas for her incredibly blasphemous novel, The Absolutely, Positively, True Adventures of a Religious Prophet, while keeping her typing fingers limber. She can be reached here on the comment board or over at her blog, The Unbelievable Adventures of Claire Elizabeth Rogers.

3 responses to “From Little Gray Storm Cloud of Doom to Pinup Girl: Part Three”

  1. New Orleans Lady says:

    Wow!

    Really, wow! Amazing piece! I have more to say, I think. I believe I’m speechless.

  2. You know what’s awesome about this site revamp (emphasis vamp) we get to revisit favorite posts of the past!

    I was a mere reader and not contributor when this series first came out, and was never brave enough to comment.

    Now I can tell you, unabashedly, how much I LOVED this series, and how much I still love it!

    GO MEGHAN!!!

  3. Thanks, ladies! I recently did another shoot with Stacey…but due to my position in local government those gorgeous photos cannot be posted! Damn my job! 😀

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