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The Interview

The Interview: Pinup Palmer

Well hello there Pinup Palmer! I’m so excited to have you brighten up my day a bit considering we had a hail and thunderstorm combo today here in New York!  How is your quarantine going?

Surprisingly, it’s going quite well over here in Sunny California!  I finally have time to use my creativity instead of work!

I am trying to use my creativity during this time as opposed to my Netflix account and food delivery apps! And getting to talk with a fellow creative like you who is doing so many cool things is a treat for me! But before we delve into what you are up to, let’s hop in the Delorean and start at the beginning, shall we? Where does the Pinup Palmer story begin?

*Laughs* Well I would have to all the way back to the 90s with my grandparents. My Grandma Olive had all these very old vintage fur coats, dresses, jewelry etc. For me I was a child of imagination and seeing her closet was like a kids dream for dressing up! So I paraded up and down the hallways in her 1950s long night gowns that clearly didn’t fit, pretending to be a queen or a witch or whatever I was feeling that day. That’s what began the interest in vintage style and playing as someone else. Then fast forward to 2010 when I got hired by Universal Studios Hollywood for Halloween Horror nights. Immediately I was put into the world where monsters were first created and movie stars roamed. I eventually got the role of Marilyn Monroe and when I began training for her, I had to watch all her films, movies and interviews. What came out of that experience however was not just me studying her but full on diving into the vintage world of old Hollywood! I became curious about other stars of that era, about what clothes they were wearing and I tried to figure out how I could look like that. I was hooked! Marilyn was honestly my segue into the vintage world.

Not to get all up in the feelz as the kids say these days but I watched your recent vintage makeup tutorial and you were surprisingly open in the very beginning, talking about having bad skin problems when you were younger. I got a bit misty eyed listening to you talk about it! Fortunately I had waterproof mascara on or that would have been a real problem. What made you decide to share something so personal with your audience?

I shared it because it had been a very big part of my life, even though it had caused me more embarrassment than anything. Once I hit middle school, hormones started to kick in and the dreaded acne made its first appearance. It got worse and worse until it reached the point where it covered my back, chest, face and went all the way down my shoulders. It was bad. I wore sweaters in the summer. I tried to cover it with makeup and of course failed. No one ever saw my bare face until 2010. Now the acne has finally calmed down and I actually can use my makeup skills to try and look better instead of trying to look somewhat presentable. It’s one of those moments where you used to get made fun of for wearing so much makeup and now people are asking me “How do you do that?” and “What products do you use?”. And dare I say, people actually call me pretty! Even if it’s mostly just the makeup talking, it’s still a big step for me.

I know there are other people out there who struggled just like me who could use something or someone to relate to. Growing up I just wanted someone to tell me it’s okay to have these problems and it’s okay if you have a butt load of makeup up on. Instead we got those Proactiv commercials telling all the kids with acne that they were ugly. I had no one to look up to and I never saw a single flaw in any celebrity. Now I think things have changed and I just would like to let people know they are not alone. It gets better and makeup can be fun and not just a way to hide.

 When you were going through everything when you were younger, could you have ever imagined that you’d grow up to become this stunning pinup with a big fan base online?

I actually had no direction as a kid. All I knew was that I was decent in my school plays and had a very creative mind. I used to draw a certain female all the time on my school papers. She looked like Jessica Rabbit with huge eyelashes and opera length gloves on …and very large boobs! *Laughs* I think subconsciously I was drawing what I wanted to be but didn’t know how to achieve it. It seemed impossible but through practice plus a butt load of makeup and hair dye, I have slowly turned myself  into that drawing…..just without the big boobs! *Laughs*  I’m scared of doctors so I can settle! And honestly, I’m still in awe that people even care to follow me! I have kept my bizarre personality so I think it helps combat the extreme amount of makeup but I’m very grateful for it .

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One thing I have seemed to notice is that people who have an interest in the pinup/vintage style many time seem to also have a strong interest in spooky things as well, particularly those classic Boris Karloff-era monsters. Is there a connection there and where do you think that comes from?

I believe the culprit is Halloween.These are the kids that loved Halloween more than Christmas. The vintage world loves to dress up, show off and be a little different. During Halloween you get to dress up, show off and definitely be something different plus you get candy. They are similar. A lot of pinups when they where younger used to either dress as goth or as a scene kid. From there it invariably moves into psychobilly, then to rockabilly, then to pinup and then finally authentic vintage.These are people that have always felt a little different. Also have you seen the actor who played the Gill-Man in Creature From the Black Lagoon? He would make any person fall in love with vintage monsters! He is so stunning! *Laughs*

Your Instagram page is a series of one glorious picture after another! For people who have never experienced it before, what is a pinup photoshoot like? Do you have some particular photographers you enjoy collaborating with?

*Laughs* Thank you! It’s the filters! A pinup shoot can vary. If you are doing a shoot for a clothing company, get ready to be there all day, trying on about forty different garments while trying to maintain your hair and makeup. Then there are the vintage car shoots! Those are usually outside so the weather can suck but they are usually really down to earth and fun …just don’t scratch the vintage car!

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Then there are classic pinup shoots, which typically are either in a vintage home or studio, where you get to bring your own clothes, you do your own hair and makeup and kind of role play depending on the surroundings, whether it’s Tiki, 60’s mod, housewife, burlesque tease or whatever the shoot calls for. But like everyone else, we do the occasional selfies too and I like to recreate iconic moments or characters from either the old Hollywood days or horror films. And yes, my all-time favorite photographer is Susana Vestige of Vestige Photography! She has shot almost every pinup model in the business and even has a pinup newspaper called The Velvet Gazette. She just knows how to capture everyone’s individuality alongside some of the best sets and cars. And she is easy to work with!

You mentioned Halloween before. With everything being so up in the air right now with the Coronavirus, hopefully we will all be able to celebrate the spookiest night of the year properly this year. In the past you’re worked on some Halloween burlesque shows that have featured some of the stars of Dragula, including Vander Von Odd and Ursula Major. Do you have any tentative plans for this year? What is it like working with drag queens for you?

I really hope we have a Halloween!  But yes, last year I did a burlesque show with Beauty of Burlesque which was presented by one of my good friends, Miss Tosh. Fortunately she liked what we did and I asked to do the Halloween show again, but alas we don’t know if that will come to be with everything going on. I hope it does because Beauty of Burlesque is more than just a burlesque show. It has musical numbers, bizarre monster acts, shit talking gay puppets, drag queens and of course, plenty of boobs and butts! Who doesn’t love that? *Laughs* Working with the drag queens was honestly an honor. I’m obsessed with RuPauls Drag Race and I always go to DragCon to meet the queens and see some friends like Vander. My favorite, of course, is Sharon Needles who I have countless pins and T-shirt’s of.

I idolize drag queens because I feel they have it all. They can sing. They can dance, They can do these fabulous impersonations. They make me laugh and they make me want to look like them! I’m just obsessed and think very highly of them. So when I finally got to do a show with some queens, it was a legit honor for me and I have Miss Tosh to thank for making that possible.

I think you mentioned in one of your videos that your makeup is very drag queen inspired actually?

Oh yes! Heavily inspired. I follow drag queen makeup techniques since they are painting a face of a women on their face and they just completely transform. They taught me that if I don’t like something on my face, I can just change it with makeup! Thank God for Raven‘s contour tricks. The obsessions with drag makeup honestly all began when I was performing as Marilyn Monroe at universal and I pulled up Jimmy James (’s 2015 Jim Bailey Lifetime Achievement Award recipient) up on stage during the show. I knew exactly who he was since I had to study not only Marilyn but people who impersonated her as well, which included men like Jimmy fricken James! He is one of the best Marilyn impersonators I have seen, so it was a honor to pull him up on stage with me. After the show, I got called into the makeup room and there stood Jimmy with my wig ladies. He happens to know one of them and asked to help me with my makeup. At this time it was awful! He kept saying “You look more like Sophia Loren. Marilyn’s eyes were innocent, not sharp”. He proceeded to give me a few little tricks and makeup tips on my face! I was in such bliss. Jimmy taught me some of his secrets that I not only applied to Marilyn but to this say, still use in my everyday makeup. I credit him fully because otherwise I would still be looking like Phyllis Diller in a Marilyn dress!

Phyllis Diller in a Marilyn dress might have been my first Twitter bio I think? I just have to add that your Marilyn is sensational, better than many tributes who do her as their full time jobs! Since we’ve mentioned it a few times now, do you find your YouTube channel to be a good venue for your creativity during the quarantine? For someone who hasn’t visited it yet (Check it out here!), how would you describe your channel?

Oh man how do I describe this mess of a channel? When I first started it, I wanted to be the horror version of Traci Hines or Todrick Hall, meaning that I would do recreations of musical numbers and movie moments, things like that. I had a horror hostess character that I played named Victoria the Vintage Vamp, who was in campy horror movie last year called Vampire Dad that should be coming out sometime this year. They let me borrow that character that I played so I took Victoria and used her like a horror host, introducing all the weird worlds we created but alas the Vampire Dad movie was bought and with that went my ability to use the character. It halted all my projects. I have a crap load of video footage and musical parodies that have not been seen. After that blow, I decided, “Well I need a audience first because no one will randomly type in Victoria’s vampire tales.”, so I went with makeup and hair since my Instagram has been asking for it for awhile now. I think I could sum up my channel into a couple of different categories: vintage hair and makeup, horror cosplay and makeup, horror movies, musical numbers, and eventually horror locations vlogs. But I just sum it up as me just liking everything pink and spooky!

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Speaking of horror, we have reached *cue special effects*…. THE LIGHTNING ROUND! Do you dare to play??  

Let’s fricken do it!

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Must have makeup item? 

Fenty Beauty KillaWatt Freestyle Highlighter in Wattabrat.

Best part of being a pinup?

The stares from people.

Worst part of being a pinup?

It’s expensive!

Most surprising thing about you that people might not know?

I used to be a junior Olympic diver! *Laughs* My mom was the coach.

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Drag Queen you would pay the most to see?

Either Sharon Needles or a Peaches Christ show.

Guilty Pleasure?

Drama channels on YouTube.

Last movie to make you cry?

Jojo Rabbit.

Death Row last meal?

Chipotle with a side of Mr. Pibb.

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Netflix Binge recommendation?

Harlots! Or is that Hulu?

We’ll accept it. Disney character you relate to the most?


In the movie of your life, who plays you?

Sophie Turner.

Final question, most embarrassing song on your phone?

I frequently jam out to The Exorcist tubular bells theme! I have no idea why. *Laughs*

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Forgive me while I back away slowly!

I understand.

But in spite of that last answer, it looks like you’re going to survive…..THE LIGHTNING ROUND!

Oh it’s alive! It’s alive and welll!

Haha! So before we wrap it up here and…..well, I guess just continue to stay in our homes rather than go off and do something spooky and fun together, where can people find you out there on interwebs? We already mentioned your YouTube channel and your Instagram page. Is there anywhere else you haunt, Twitter, Myspace, Christian Mingle?

I’m on Tik Tok but I don’t suggest it! *Laughs*  Instagram and YouTube are my platforms.

Well then I am afraid we have reached the end of the road here together Palmer! You brighten my day with every new post and video so I am excited to see what comes next for you! Do you have any final words of wisdom to leave the Universe with?

Be kind to your friends and always keep it pink and spooky!

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The Interview
Written By

(she/her) Despite being a drag journalist for over a decade, Chiffon only recently realized that she missed a golden opportunity back then to change her drag name to Rhoda Story.

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