The Life of a Full-Time Pin-Up

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The day Idda van Munster joined Beautylish was the day we fell in love with her flawless style and captivating charm. An avid blogger and vintage style connoisseur, Idda has a mid-century approach to beauty—something you don’t typically see these days. With her perfect winged eye and her artist-drawn crimson lip, she sets the standard. We spoke to Idda about her inspiration and what it means to live a life of old-world allure.

B: What era do you feel you most belong to?

It’s funny—people have always told me I was born in the wrong time period. I am a history geek infatuated with any time period, but I belong in the 1920's, 1930's, 1940's and 1950's. I love the Roaring ’20s—flapper girls, getting the right to vote, and luxury cars. I also love the 1930’s even if it was the Great Depression. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Follies left and right, and George and Ira Gershwin! Out of them all, I love the 1940's and 1950's most—wartime and postwar society is fascinating. I adore big band music and swing dancing, and some of my favorite movies came out during this decade. Love seemed so real and genuine then, and that’s the main problem I have with life today—how complex and unemotional things have become. Young people especially have lost a sense of common decency and kindness towards others. The world is so instant gratification-oriented to the point where I would just like to go back to simpler times, when the world wasn’t so convoluted with texting and computers. I’d rather send a letter than a text message. I’d rather stand in a field and breathe sweet air and look up into the night sky and see the beautiful stars, instead of standing on a concrete street corner and breathing in exhaust fumes and looking up into the sky filled with smog that man put there. I just want to live in a time where a moment still meant something.

B: Where did your affinity for the vintage stem from?

Ever since I was a child, I have wanted to look like the actresses of Old Hollywood. I watched black and white movies and my favorite childhood TV show was The Munsters. I was fascinated by Marilyn Munster, the sweet, glamorous girl I always wanted to look like. I have bookshelves full of old family photo albums, and I was always fascinated by the women in those photos.

B: Which beauty products are pivotal for your vintage look?

I love the new Artdeco collection by Dita von Teese. The compact powder creates the perfect porcelain canvas, the gel liner is ideal for the cat eye look, and the red-orange lipstick exudes sex appeal. Aside from makeup, my must have is sunscreen!

B: What is it like being vintage in a modern world?

Strangers and friends are usually very positive and, sometimes, they even lust after my latest finds. I find that people don't realize some of my outfits are vintage—they assume they’ve been purchased from expensive boutiques. Wearing vintage often means being overdressed compared to today’s fashion. To me, there's no special occasion needed to wear a lovely dress. Every day is a special occasion!

B: Who is your ultimate beauty icon?

When it comes to what inspires me, it’s a composition of many things from films and music, to fashion and icons. I always feel so inspired by all the old classic beauties—Elizabeth Taylor, Ann Blyth, Ava Gardner, Ginger Rogers, Dovima, and Suzy Parker. These women were talented, elegant women. No matter how many times I see one of their movies, I am always stunned at how amazing they were. One of my favorite style and beauty icons is Marlene Dietrich because she was very in tune with what her own personal style was. As you might have noticed, I admire strong women. I love women who know what they want, work hard to have it, and still have time to be caring, loving, and feminine. As Dita von Teese says, ‘The most powerful of women are women who let themselves be inspired by greatness in other women.’

B: Do you have any secret tips, tricks and products to perfecting your classic winged eye?

The perfect winged eye is a very elegant, sophisticated look and an important element of vintage glamour. Generally, getting the perfect flattering line is hard! I look down into a mirror to apply it so I can see the shape and match them up symmetrically. A lot of people are afraid of liquid liner—and for good reason! At first, it can be a little tricky to work with, but as with all things, practice makes perfect! Using a black liquid liner with a very thin brush, gently drag the brush along your lash line starting from the top inner corner of your eye toward the outer corner of your eye. I always use a hands-free mirror and keep my eyes relaxed and slightly open as I line. After lining both eyes, be sure to compare the liner on each eye. Are they even? If not, simply take a pointed q-tip and lightly drag the line along the eye to make it symmetrical to the other eye. Don’t worry if your liner isn’t perfect after your first try. Remember, always follow your natural eye shape.

B: Your brows are impeccably structured. How important are they to your beauty routine?

The secret of beauty is perfect eyebrows. More often than not, eyebrows are overlooked and many women really underestimate the power of amazing eyebrows. I read the book Beautiful Brows by Nancy Parker which contains a plethora of before and after photos, and found that you must have a good understanding to discover the best brow shape for your face. Well-groomed brows can make you look polished and bring focus to your eyes, while ungroomed brows can look messy.

B: How did you develop your pin-up career?

Pin-ups feature women in sensual and provocative positions, yet these women are fully clothed. They present themselves in an artistically seductive manner without having to expose themselves. This is their legacy. Models can either work with an agency or freelance, though pin-up models often fall into the latter category because this type of glamour modeling is not as commercial. As freelancers, pin-up models must work diligently to advertise themselves and get jobs. For photoshoots, I do my own makeup, hair and often wear my own clothes. When I was young, I grew up in Germany watching a lot of old Hollywood movies and hearing stories of WW2—I love how children, teens, and Hollywood stars supported their troops and veterans. I simply adore the clothing and it has become my lifestyle. I feel like for the first time in my life I have found something that makes me feel complete, cute, and sexy. It gives me that confidence that I had always longed for.

B: Any last words?

The only real beauty and elegance is in the mind—If you've got that, the rest comes naturally.