Some of you may be surprised to learn that not only is there a pinup community in the Twin Cities, but there is “a larger pinup community,” according to Dawnfelice Warneke.
Warneke, editor of MnUps Magazine, defines its members as “the originals in the local community, innovators in their choice of personal attire, trend setters in their personal fashion. … They are visionaries, collectors, artists, pinups, students, professionals and socialites [who] work to cultivate their imitable image.”
Because no one looks like this without some effort.
That’s the fun of being a pinup girl, of course. Think World War II airplanes and posters in barracks. It’s the hair and the heels, the thigh-high hosiery and the bum-hugging skirt. Sometimes, there’s even cake.
MnUps Magazine’s first issue is just out, with a release party set for Friday. (For details, visit www.mnups.com.)
Warneke touts MnUps as a business owned and operated by women, meaning to defuse any harrumphing about sexism or objectification.
“Women are choosing how they want to portray themselves in light of the pinup, which is a more idealized light,” she said. “Some take that and really push the boundary.”
For every woman who wants to pose with her skirt hiked up as if innocently caught on something, she said, there’s the woman who declared, “I want to be standing on a scale eating cake.”
Bottom line: “Our pinups are saying, ‘I’m in charge of my sexuality — and I can have a sense of humor about it.’ ”
The idea grew from Warneke and two photographer friends who wanted to move away from working with weddings and kids. Boudoir photography works for some women, “but there are those who feel uncomfortable in lingerie, yet still want a sexy photo shoot.”
Some of the photos submitted for possible inclusion in the magazine were taken primarily as a funny, sexy gift for their groom-to-be, Warneke said. Some are for the women themselves. “It’s for any woman who just wants to feel beautiful and have a day of being pampered and dressed up.” The photos can be a surprise for a husband, posted to Facebook, used to enhance a performer’s résumé, or taken with MnUps in mind.
Amber Eisen-Ramgren, 33, of St. Paul saw some pinups on Warneke’s Facebook page and was intrigued. “They were beautiful, fun and seemed like something just exciting to do,” said Eisen-Ramgren, an academic administrator at Metropolitan State University.
“I’m a mom of two kids, my husband has some health issues and I work full-time, so everything in my life feels practical and necessary and always doing things for everyone else,” she said. The pinup shoot was the chance to be a little self-indulgent, “although it was harder than I thought it would be, trying to keep track of the body parts all at once.”
She posed in a polka-dot shirt and red skirt, with rolled, Betty Grable bangs and a flower in her hair. The trick: balancing crosswise in a lipstick-red chair.
After posting some of the leggy pinups on Facebook, she said she received lots of positive reactions. “A former boss said he had to do a second-take,” she said, laughing. Her parents even sent photos to her great-aunt, “so these are very shareable with a wide audience. And my 5-year-old daughter thought I looked really pretty.”
Warneke would like to get copies in coffee shops and other gathering spots. With a 5,000-issue press run for the current issue, and a 10,000-issue run slated for the March edition, she believes she’s on the front end of a trend. The magazine is free, with advertiser support.
Between the pinups, the quarterly magazine aims to include stories about local artists, musical groups, bands, stage performances, local fashion events, community and charitable events, and reviews of dining, fashion and service establishments.
As a plus-size model herself, Warneke said she also aims to have a quarter to a third of the pinups in each issue feature women size 12 and larger “and some transgender models, as well.”
Publicity notes that the images are “safe for work.” As pornography has famously been described as being known when it’s seen, Warneke’s philosophy is that less is more, acknowledging that she is the arbiter of propriety.
“Currently, it stops at my desk,” she said. “We don’t show too much cleavage, no nipples, no panties, only certain inches of thigh. I mean, I’m the mother of six children, five of them boys, and there isn’t anything I wouldn’t want them to see.”
“It can get sassy,” she added, describing a pinup shoot with a very pregnant woman who posed with a toddler tugging at her legs and a clothesline in the background. “It was the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.”
Kim Ode • 612-673-7185