WRITING A BIO
Biographies (or bios) can be handy things to have. They are a way for us to stand out and be remembered. They let your friends, fans and audience get to know a bit about you, and writing one can be a good way to hash out who you are as a performer, what you want to portray, and what you identify with most in the vintage and rockabilly subculture. They can be used on your own Facebook page or website, for competition entries, for personal promotion and for magazine and other media submissions.
Here at the Pinup Registry we love having a little snippet of information to go along with Pinup of the Month entries and Instagram posts because it helps us connect and learn more about each other and our fabulous, global community.
There is quite a crossover between the Pinup, Burlesque and Cabaret communities, and many pinups and stage performers use their bio, or aspects of their bio, for both. To avoid confusion we're going to keep it simple and just use the generic term 'performer' - because that's what we all are!
WHY DO I NEED A BIO?
It's not unusual for competitions, shows and print media to request a short bio about you/your Pinup or performer persona. When you apply to be in an event, or a publication, a good bio helps organisers and judges get an idea of who you are, and what you can bring to their event. It's also a handy little snippet of promotion for them to help attract an audience, as well as showing a potential audience which fabulous people to expect in an event.
In an event with an MC and live audience, a bio gives the MC something to introduce you with. It can also help the audience find a way to relate to you, and have a greater understanding of who you are - so they then become more invested in your performance and success.
You often only have 100 or so words to express who you are, make an impression, and stand out from all the other bios in the pile, so how do you go about it?
It can be daunting in the beginning, but don't be scared! Think about what the purpose of the bio is, and what bits and pieces are important to include. You may not always use the same bio for everything, but you can copy the essential parts.
THE ESSENTIAL BASICS
KEEP IT SIMPLE
Think about what you need to say, not just what you want to say.
KEEP IT TIDY
Make it clear and concise.
It needs to flow well to read well.
STICK TO THE WORD LIMIT
Respect the requested bio size.
If you need to, cut words - but make sure it still makes sense.
Read it out loud.
Check for errors in spelling and grammar.
Ask someone to proof read it for you.
You don't want to sound like a broken record and blend in the background!
As with Pinup names, one of the best ways to create your own bio is by seeing what else is out there.
Do some research into what has been said by successful entrants in the past. You often find that they are a little bit different, more unique.
Find things that you like, and things you don't like, and go from there.
TIP: One place you can always find old bio's is on competition and event Facebook pages. It may require some trawling back through posts, but they don't usually get deleted year to year.
Judges don't necessarily want to hear that you love vintage cars or baking (unless they are a real passion, or business of yours) because they hear that a LOT in Pinup comps.
WHO ARE YOU?
TELL YOUR STORY
Event orgainisers want to know things like...
Answers to these questions help the organisers and audience know who you are!
And of course quirky, fun facts are always good for a giggle, and giggles stand out and get remembered. One of your favourites to date is from Miss Nadia Faye:
Miss Nadia Faye likes to do the Robot [dance]'
Miss Nadia Faye
Find out her quirky fact >
It's quirky, fun and unexpected!
Think about the setting that your bio will be read. For example, will it be at a particular event with a live audience? or a competition on a social platform?
Here are some handy questions to consider:
WHAT'S THE EVENT?
What type of event is it?
Alternative, vintage, fashion, classic car, performance?
If the event has an MC and your name is complex (is it often mispronounced or in another language?) consider adding phonetic spelling, or checking in with the MC before the event, A seasoned MC will often check with you, but pre-show preparations can be hectic and it can get overlooked.
To tag line or not to tag line?
Tag lines are a very personal option. Some people love them and some hate them, but they are by no means an essential part of a bio.
The best tag lines are unique, quirky, comical and memorable. If you use a tag line try not to use one that you've heard used before because it's quite likely that if you've heard it then others have too.
THE ERA ERROR
A statement that is often made in Pinup bio's is that 'this pinup feels like they were born in the wrong era/decade'. Before you say that, here's some things to think about:
Are you a mother with a job?
Society has really changed over the years. It's ok to be in love with things from another decade. Take what you love from it (and there is a lot to love about the 40s and 50s!), but stay in this one.
Model: Miss Moyna May
Photographer: Christine Brymner Photography
An example of this that we love comes from Miss Moyna May, owner of our regular Pinup of the Month sponsor Satin Worship. In her bio for the Miss Camperdown Cruise pinup competition she says:
I’ve often felt I was born in the wrong era, at home in an old book or being crafty... The re-emergence of mid-century styling has comforted me like a good cup of tea. Yet, in spite of this, I am inked and rebellious, a free-thinking and politically minded woman who wouldn’t choose to live in an earlier time.
Miss Moyna May
Couldn't have said it better ourselves!
There's a lot on here to think about and as with everything in life, you have to go your own path. What suits one person might not be right for another.
If in doubt remember:
Stay true to you!
Fun, quirky, unique and lighthearted bios are easier to remember.
Keep it short and sweet! If you include absolutely everything you can think of, you'll likely have an essay and not a short bio!