Cute, Clumsy and Curvy in All the Right Places
Most people have never heard of Hilda, and if you’re one of those people then you’re missing out on a real American pin-up who came to life in the mid-1950s and held her own for 36 years.
The artist behind this iconic beauty was Duane Bryers who was hailed as, “the Norman Rockwell of pinup art, with his zaftig beauty, the oft-bikini-clad ‘Hilda’, taking center canvas.” That description of Hilda and her creator couldn’t be more on the mark.
In an interview from Tuscon.com, here’s how Hilda came to life, “I got the idea for a plumpy gal pinup and thought I’d like to make it into a calendar series,” Bryers said. “But how was I going to sell a plump girl?”
He took his series to Brown & Bigelow, then the country’s top calendar maker, and “they reluctantly put it in the line and figured it would last a short time,” he said. “It went on for 36 years.”
Hilda is really every girl’s hero inside, sometimes she’s a bit clumsy but she’s always having fun on her own adventures. She’s not ashamed of her body and flaunts her full figure in tiny bikini’s and skin tight clothes. She’s that girl full of self-confidence that everyone knows and both loves and envies. Her adventures and confidence make you smile and that’s the charm of Hilda.
History of Pin-Up Models
Pin-up models date back to the 1890s, and yes – you heard me right. In the 19th century actresses and burlesque performers took advantage of hand drawn or photo cards to advertise themselves and promote their business and appearances. Understanding the power that these images had, they were mass produced and pinned wherever they were allowed. Their unique sexuality on full display as they were posed in fancy dress hoping their images would capture someones eye. They were very popular and soon the term, Pin-Up Girl was associated with these advertising cards. One woman, Fernanda Barrey was to become the first pinup in the modern sense during World War I. Her full breasts were on display along with full nudes, both of which left men on both sides fantasizing about her while they fought in the war. World War II saw a surge in what was then modern day sex symbols, with enlisted men carrying the picture of their dream girl and painting them on their fighter planes as nose art solidifying pin-up girls in history. An excerpt from Wikipedia explains the fervor for pin-up girls further, “The 1932 Esquire “men’s” magazine featured many drawings and “girlie” cartoons but was most famous for its Vargas girls. Prior to World War II they were praised for their beauty and less focus was on their sexuality. However, during the war, the drawings transformed into women playing dress-up in military drag and drawn in seductive manners… The Vargas girls became so popular that from 1942–46, owing to a high volume of military demand, “9 million copies of the magazine-without adverts and free of charge was sent to American troops stationed overseas and in domestic bases.” The Vargas Girls were adapted as nose art on many World War II bomber and fighter aircraft; generally, they were considered inspiring, and not seen negatively, or as prostitutes, but mostly as inspiring female patriots that were helpful for good luck.”
With that being explained, let’s get back to Hilda with a look at some beautiful artwork from a very talented artist. Enjoy!
If you want to read more about Hilda… have a look at: Hilda: The Controversial American Pinup Girl No One’s Ever Heard Of and America’s Forgotten Pin-Up Girl
Interested in the artist, Duane Bryers? Sadly he’s passed away but there’s a wonderful interview by Les Toil on his site: http://www.toilgirls.com/interview
Duane Bryers’ wonderful “Hilda” Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/wonderful.hilda/