Long before Twitter and Instagram were the mode for transmitting sexual and provocative photographs, pin-ups were the ultimate in femininity and sexuality. The name actually refers to the ability to “pin it up” for it to be viewed, like in a locker or on the wall or as a calendar. Before you had a Facebook wall, you needed an actual wall to view photos and what better to look at than a beautiful woman?
While women have been photographed in various states of undress since the time the first camera was invented, the idea of an actual pin-up girl doesn’t exactly call to mind women in black and white photos wearing bustles under their dresses. Instead, people think about models like Bettie Page and Marilyn Monroe.
A classic pin-up photo features various themes, ranging from women empowerment “We Can Do It” posters to swimsuit shots while drinking from a Coca-Cola bottle. Naturally, there were mixed feelings about how these women looked, with some feeling they empowered and others feeling they demeaned.
However, the changing times have proven that those swimsuit shots with women wearing sailor hats aren’t exactly as shocking as they used to be. While the nostalgic looks of the ’20s, ’30s, ’40s, and ’50s have made their way back on trend, the purpose is not to shock and provoke as it once was. Instead, the look is meant to be reminiscent of a nostalgic type of glamour that can be quite flattering on the right celebrity. Check out our list of the 10 celebrities that look like pin-up girls, and see how modern fame can look similar to Old Hollywood.
10. January Jones
January Jones has had a number of different roles in film and television, but she seems to excel in period pieces the best. Both Mad Men and X-Men: First Class take place primarily in the ’60s and even though the ’60s look is a bit different than the classic pin-up style, she’s been able to prove her versatility on and off the screen. On the red carpet, she often favors the standard pin curl hairstyle with neatly-coiffed waves and dramatic makeup. She’s had a few different hair lengths throughout her career, but whether it’s short or shoulder length, she seems to always be able to create a pin-up girl style and flaunt dramatic makeup to create a signature look.
9. Gwen Stefani
Gwen Stefani may have started off as a punk/ska rocker girl, but it’s been quite a long time since she was a band member of No Doubt. Nowadays, she favors the pin-up girl style, with defined curls and waves and the signature red lipstick. Definitely standing out from others in the music industry, she has changed her look various times but many of her favorite styles resemble nostalgic ’40s and ’50s hairstyles. The Reverse Roll Updo is a classic 1940’s style, and one of Gwen’s favorites. While she might sometimes still don a few punk rock styles, she tends to revert to her pin-up look when she’s out and about or even performing on The Voice stage.
8. Kate Beckinsale
Kate Beckinsale has acted in a number of blockbuster films throughout her film career, but she is most known for her role in the Underworld film series. While she definitely proved she can be a bad-ass on the big screen, her leather and wet-haired look is just a small part of the persona she can embody in movies. Her depiction in the Pearl Harbor film was perfect for those looking for a pin-up style movie star with sex appeal. While she may not have been one of the women painted on the side of a fighter plane, she was close enough to it when she was all dolled up in red lipstick, pin curls, and a 1940’s nurses uniform.
7. Katy Perry
Katy Perry is an artist that thrives in expressing her creativity through more than just her music. At a time when other celebrities were seeing how blonde they could bleach their hair, Katy Perry was already making up her own rules. From music videos to albums to looks on the red carpet, Katy Perry has always embodied the pin-up girl style that exuded sex appeal. Her second studio album, One of the Boys, featured Katy Perry wearing some retro chic swimwear and stretched out in a lawn chair. However, her dark hair is a perfect fit for the classic Bettie Page look. Her love affair with wigs has served her well through the years, and the different colors help to put a twist on the same retro styles of the ’50s.
6. Holly Madison
When Holly Madison was first introduced to audiences through the reality show The Girls Next Door, the public could already see her sex appeal and nostalgic style. However, it was her activities after the show that helped bring out her true self. Starring in the Las Vegas show, Peepshow, and writing a tell-all book about her life at the Playboy mansion, Holly Madison has proved she is far more than just one of the three girlfriends of the elderly Hugh Hefner. Since the first duty of a pin-up girl is to exude sex appeal, who better than a former Playboy model?
5. Christina Aguilera
Christina Aguilera has gone through a number of different phases through the years. The blonde afro look, the black extensions, and even cornrows; she hasn’t exactly been on the top of the list for the most glamorous celebrities. However, there was a stage that she hit during the time of the Back to Basics album in 2006 when she started taking on a different persona. Her look in the “Candyman” video featured a Victory Roll hairstyle and a naval uniform, complete with hat. She must have really liked to play dress up during that music video because she seems to frequently return to that era, even now. From bandannas wrapped in her hair to pin curls, Christina Aguilera could definitely take on the duties of a pin-up model, since she has the style already locked down.
4. Lindsay Lohan
Lindsay Lohan is a celebrity that has had more than her fair share of controversy. Battling addiction, poor work ethic, and a tumultuous sexual past are all synonymous with a classic Lindsay Lohan tabloid headline. However, those statements can also be used to describe the late Marilyn Monroe, who Lohan even played in Love, Marilyn. She was photographed in various Marilyn-esque fashions and many believe she embodied the late actress in more than just her look. While her blonde look offered a great take on one of the first modern pin-up girls, Marilyn Monroe, it’s her red hair that makes her the perfect Jessica Rabbit style pin-up model.
3. Kim Kardashian
Pin-ups were first thought of as almost scandalous in their depiction of women. Something to be shared with a whisper or tucked underneath a mattress. Nowadays, there isn’t much that can shock and provoke when it comes to sex appeal. While Kim Kardashian has posed in Playboy and starred in a sex tape, she proved she can still provoke through sexuality when she posed for Paper magazine. “Breaking the Internet” and creating the ultimate in a pin-up picture, Kim Kardashian has the look and sex appeal that is perfect for making a poster or calendar. Each photo in the Paper magazine spread gets more and more shocking, with full frontal nudity that is reminiscent of early pin-up Queens like Miss Barrey.
2. Megan Fox
When Megan Fox first made it onto the Hollywood scene, many considered her a younger version of Angelina Jolie. With the same dark hair and glamorous features, it seemed difficult not to compare the two. However, her inferior acting skills and unfortunate ability to make an enemy out of Steven Spielberg have caused a definite divide between the two actresses. With Megan Fox having difficulty landing a good role in Hollywood, she might consider taking up being a pin-up model. She often recreates the pin-up curl hairstyle and glamorous red lipstick on the red carpet, so she definitely has that Old Hollywood look that befits a starlet from days gone by.
1. Dita Von Teese
When making a list of celebrities that resemble pin-up girls, there is no way to leave out Dita Von Teese. With her jet black hair, porcelain skin, and signature ruby red lips, she somehow has the look of nostalgia without resembling any one specific pin-up model. Instead, she has created a modern version of vintage glam. Specializing in modeling, burlesque, and fashion design, Dita Von Teese exudes sex appeal, femininity, and nostalgia. She can be seen on the red carpet in a glamorous light, but it’s her modeling photos that really highlight the retro chic style she has become famous for.