Updated: May 6
Meet Jeannie Von Jazz, our Pinup of the Month for March - Jeannie is a pinup, vintage style addict and and jazz singer from Michigan USA.
Jeannie has won an underbust mesh corset from our lovely friends at Orchard Corset! And an interview here with us so we can get to know her better, which we have really enjoyed!
How did you choose your Pinup name? I made SOOOO many lists of options when I was choosing it. I like alliterations, so I knew I wanted to do that. I share my middle name (Jean) with my grandmother, and my parents had thought about naming me Jeannie, but they were afraid kids would be asking me for "3 wishes" like genie, so they eventually decided against it. I have always loved the name Jeannie, so I knew I wanted that to be a part of the name. I am a jazz singer as well, so there was the alliteration, just waiting for me. My family is originally from Germany, so I decided to throw the Von in there to give the name a little swingy rhythm, and Jeannie Von Jazz was born!
Why do you love pinup? There are a LOT of things that I love about pinup. 1) The first thing is that I have ALWAYS loved vintage style, and this gives me an opportunity to wear it and live it the way I have always wanted to. In the past, I really only had the opportunity to dress in vintage styles when I was on stage singing. My grandmother LOVED watching me dress up and sing, so pinup makes me feel connected to her now that she is gone. I know how happy it would make her to see me in competitions, volunteering, and gaining fans from around the world. She always believed in me as a performer, and I love to think about her looking down on me doing what I love even though she is no longer here in physical form. 2) Volunteering with the Battlin' Betties (a national non-profit which supports veterans and first responders with PTSD and mental health awareness) has lead me to my very best friends. We are like sisters, and I am so happy that I have found my people. It also gives me an opportunity to reach out and help people. I had some opportunities to volunteer before the group, but never in this capacity. I love what we are able to do for these men and women who have and DO risk everything to protect us. 3) It makes me feel like ME. I feel most comfortable when my hair is set, my makeup is on, and I'm wearing a true vintage dress that has been passed down over generations. It makes me feel connected to all of the beautiful and strong women who have come before me. 4) It is giving me a reason to flex my creative muscles. My father owns a sewing store (The Alma Sewing Center), and I never had a reason to learn to sew before. As I get more and more into the world of pinup (I started about a year and a half ago), I have ALL sorts of design ideas for dresses that don't exist yet. Last June I sewed my first dress (the peach one in the picture) from all things I found at the Salvation army. It was made completely from bedsheets, curtains, lace that I cut off from other dresses, and all sorts of things. I had such a fun time making it, that I've been designing my own dresses ever since. Sometimes I alter existing dresses and sometimes I start from scratch, but the main thing I love about it, is that it gives me an opportunity to bond with my dad. He is one of the most creative people I know, and I'm really having fun showing him my ideas and learning from him.
Would you like to share your favourite beauty tip? My biggest advice is to NOT try to copy makeup and hair tutorials to the tee. Instead, realize that your face and hair are unique to YOU. You can use them to learn techniques and get inspiration, but in the end, you need to find what works for you and your look. My eyelids are going to be shaped differently than yours, and my skin is probably a different shade. The way I do my eye makeup might not work for you, and that's AWESOME because it means we are unique. Anyone can do a cat eyeliner, but the angle, width, and style will be different for everyone.
What’s your favourite aspect of the Pinup and Rockabilly subculture? I love that we are all united, but unique and diverse. If a person shows up at a themed contest, you better believe that no two girls will look alike, even though they were all given the same instructions. This is truly an art form, and we ALL get create in our own ways. I also love the people. Like I said before, these ladies are my best friends, and I wouldn't have made the connection with them (or even MET some of them) without pinup subculture.
When did you know that pinup was the right thing for you? As soon as I heard that there were other girls out there doing vintage/retro looks, I knew. This has ALWAYS been my thing (I was obsessed with antique stores by the time I was 5), and I just thought I was weird. Having all of these THOUSANDS of women across the world who share the same love for vintage style has made me feel like I'm a part of something bigger. In 2018 my dad was watching a PBS show called "Michigan Under the Radar" and a pinup competition was featured. He told me about it, I googled it, and less than 24 hours later I had applied to be a Battlin' Betty. The rest is history!
What advice would you like to give to new pinups? Don't try to be something you aren't. Marilyn, Jackie, and Liz weren't copying anyone, and you shouldn't either. Be YOU. It is fine to admire others, but never try to be them, that is never as much fun. If you are doing competitions, do NOT look at it as a competition and you won't be as upset if you don't place. I ALWAYS go into competitions with the idea that I will get to showcase my creation, meet new people, get fabulous photos, and learn more about how to be successful as a model.
Favourite business shoutout! It's too hard to pick just one! My favorite places to find vintage clothing: -Community Finery (located in the ReoTown Marketplace in Lansing, MI) -Flashback on Leonard (Grand Rapids, MI) Favorite pin-up photographers: - Erica Jo Photography, LLC - she is trying to break into the world of pinup. We have a special bond because her first pinup photoshoot was MY first pinup photoshoot. I've learned a LOT about modeling and vintage style since then, but her talent has ALWAYS been there. I really want more pinups to book with her, because she is truly phenomenal. She also took the photo I used to enter this contest. She was WAY in the back of the crowd, and got THAT quality and angle. I have no clue how she does it. -RSii photography - Ray is AWESOME. He came to my house to do a photoshoot, and he was amazing. Not only is he an extremely talented photographer who is familiar with the world of pinup, but he is also kind, compassionate, respectful, and patient. -Phillips Photo, LLC - Shannon is GREAT. I did a photoshoot with her the same week I did the photoshoot with Erica. They happened to be back to back. She typically does branding photography for businesses, and she has awesome, creative ideas. She is SUPER talented, and really helped me with posing and placement during the shoot. -Wild Times Photography- He is new to the game and considers himself a hobbyist, but my goodness does he take great photos! He really shines doing event photos and taking photojournalistic style photos. He gets wonderful action shots, and does a really nice job of editing! -Varga Photography- I know Roy is a favorite of everybody! I still haven't gotten to do a full photoshoot with him, but I DID get to do the photoshoot that I won at Relix Riot last year, and I learned SO much from him. Roy doesn't just shoot photos, he directs his models the way someone might for a movie. He TEACHES you and COACHES as he is shooting. My photos and stage posing has definitely improved since my shoot with him, and the photos turned out GREAT. Favorite Hair Stylist: -Shelby Danielle at The Artisan Salon. She is amazing with vintage styles and gives great advice for how to style, what products to use, etc. She has connections in the pinup and burlesque world, so she is really great at knowing what is going on in the pinup community.
What pinup-related skill would you like to master during your social distancing time out? I have already started learning new skills! So far, I've learned how to shoot and edit tutorial videos, do still shots for outfit of the day photos/self portraits, and have set up a new recording studio for my music in my home. I also started a Patreon, and I'm starting to be able to post to it more and more now that I have time to create. If anyone is interested in checking it out, you can go to www.patreon.com/jeannievonjazz. The more subscribers I get, the more content I can produce!
What plans do you have to keep yourself busy during social distancing? Besides creating new content, I'm also working on some online college courses to move me to the next pay bracket at work. I am ALMOST there! Yay! I also rented a dumpster and will be cleaning out my garage so I can make myself a workshop.
What's your favourite movie to watch in your down time? I've been watching a lot of things, but the next movie on my list is Fido. If you are unfamiliar with this movie and you like vintage culture and/or Zombies, watch it. It is a comedy set in a post-zombie-breakout 1950s. It has a Leave it Beaver vibe, IF there were zombies trained to be house servants. I don't know how else to explain it, but definitely watch it.