When you think about Pinup models, and no it has nothing to do with Pinterest, you cannot help but think about the iconic Betty Grable, Bettie Page, Marilyn Monroe, Bunny Yeager, and Eartha Kitt. There are so many women who, through the self-expression of the Pinup culture, find their true selves and become comfortable in their bodies. Unfortunately, it is still something that is not well known and is misunderstood as women flaunting themselves. That could not be further from the truth, and there is now a documentary available called Bombshells and Dollies to showcase the truth. Thanks to TriCoast Entertainment, Nerds and Beyond was fortunate to have the opportunity to screen this film.
The director of Bombshells and Dollies, Daniel Halperin (Picture Windows), took on many roles in the film by being a producer, co-writer, and additional photography. The film follows 12 finalists in the Miss Viva Las Vegas Pinup Pageant that takes place each year at the Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly weekend celebration. It follows their journey traveling to Las Vegas, NV, how they prepare, and some of their personal stories as the fascinating women get introduced. If you are expecting to see pageant drama and catfights, this is not the documentary for you. What you will see is body positivity, femininity, volunteerism, and women supporting each other, which we need more of in the world.
The four judges featured are Tom Ingram (Founder and Producer of Viva Las Vegas), Adam Thyssen (Kustomville), Lisa Love, and Ms. Cherry Dollface. The MC for the event is the makeup artist and the creator of Miss Las Vegas Pin-Up Contest, Rockwell De Vil (Raquel Perez). The contestants featured in the film are Ivy Fox, Victory Violet, Brittany Jean, Marilia Skraba, Angie Honeyburst, Little Bit, The Blue Haired Betty, Hell Cath, Dixie Delight, Lulu Divine, Ruby Red, and Jayne Dean.
They’re real people who benefit society.
If you are wondering where the term Pinup came from, here is a brief history lesson. They became quite popular during World War II, where the images of the beautiful women posing in less than average clothing – also called cheesecake photos – were popular among the men serving in the armed forces. Funny enough, the term Pinup comes from the fact that the photographs got pinned on the wall in lockers or barracks. These empowering photos were also considered to be taboo in the early 20th century. However, it is now a form of self-expression and, while still misunderstood by some, a beautiful art form.
This is like the Oscars to pinup girls:
Aside from crowning the Miss Las Vegas Pin-Up, other awards got handed out during the contest for Best Hair, Best Makeup, Best Wardrobe, 2nd Runner Up, and 1st Runner Up. The weekend event was started in 1997 by Tom Ingram, who had organized festivals in the United Kingdom before moving to California. With over 20,000 attendees yearly, it also features a car show, dance contests, vendors, guitar showcase, burlesque showcase, bands, and so much more.
I have always been fascinated by Pinups and the timeless beauty and stories behind each one. Even by trying to stay objective throughout the documentary, you cannot help but root for these women and end up with a favorite, or three – Lil Bit, Angie Honeyburst, and Miss Victory Violet. You can see the camaraderie and how passionate they are about being a Pinup and representing the history and iconic Pinups before them. I like how in the end credits you get an update on the 12 women and where they are a year after filming.
And the winner is………. Well, you will have to watch to find out.
You can watch Bombshells and Dollies on various streaming and online digital platforms like Amazon, DirecTV, AT&T, FlixFLing, Vimeo on Demand, Vudu, and FANDANGO. Watch the trailer below!