Apologies for being a little MIA over the last week! I won’t bore you with the details but what I will do is tell you that I’ve had the chance to chat to a lovely lady called Dolce Douleur @_dolcedouleur_ for the next part of my #vintage Instagram series. This is an absolutely lovely read and, while it may be a little different to the layout you’re used to, it will leave you with warm feelings of times past.
To start to tell you a bit about myself I must first tell you about the people who are to thank for making me who I am today. I am the proud granddaughter of two great war veterans. My grandfather Don fought in WWII, Vietnam, and Korea. My grandfather Mack fought in WWII as well, both men are my heroes and married the incredible women who I owe my fashion and love of family to.
My grandmother Nakeeta (named from a silent film her mother watched during the Great Depression) and my grandfather Don raised me. As well as spending a great deal of time with my grandmother Marie throughout most of my life, it is because of these two women and amazing men that I have always had the desire to have been born in the 30’s. It had to have been a hard but exhilarating time to live. Men and women had such style, grace and composure.
My grandmother Nakeeta worked in Dallas during the time of Kennedy’s Presidency, she in fact still has the tickertape that has the world changing news that says, “Ladies and Gentlemen of The United States of America, we regret to inform you the president has been shot.” I cannot begin to fathom what the world felt that day and yet I can imagine her remaining poised and calm as she went home to her husband and children, to comfort and maintain a sense of calm.
She attended modeling classes (as ordered by her then husband, who demanded that she be as poised and perfect always) worked and took care of two very young children at that time. Her grace and strength in the face of tumultuous life changing obstacles will always be an inspiration.
I constantly raid her closet and memorize her stories of all the wonderful and sometimes sad experiences she lived through. During a time when women did not have much of a voice in things, she was and to this day is a force to be reckoned with.
My grandmother Marie is a woman of tremendous endurance and immense capabilities, with fierce red hair and fire red lips, she was and still is stunning. She raised five children, worked, and maintained a momentous amount of love for her children. That love was so powerful that all the memories I have of her are filled with such overpowering joy. Her warmth is like laying under one of her homemade quilts on a cool day and feeling perfectly warm and safe, the kind of safe feeling that we mostly only experience as children. She made hundreds of quilts throughout her life that has brought joy to so many, both family and friends. Her ability to comfort those around her helped so many of us to not give up hope, even on the days that it felt like nothing would ever be right again, she found a way to make it feel like everything, no matter what was going to be alright.
Up until the last year when the cancer came back into her life, she was still getting dolled up and going dancing multiple times a week. She once told me that you must have one “boyfriend” for dancing, one for going out and one to just keep the maintenance up around the house. She has always had the ability to command the presence of the entire room and her dance card was always full.
Though it might sound as though she as encouraging promiscuity, that could not be further from the truth. “Always leave them wanting more that will make them fall in love with you, and you’ll have their hearts forever.”
Though many men throughout the years fell for my grandmother, her heart always belonged to my grandfather Mack, who passed when I was seven. Now with great sadness and almost twenty-five years to the day she soon will be joining him again, and the world will never be the same without her.
I know I have gone a bit off topic but it simply is not possible to tell you about myself without having told you about them. They are both not only my style heroes as well but without them I would not be the person I am today.
To tell you a little bit more about me personally, I am the proud mother of an amazingly talented, non-verbal autistic son who is my everything. I feel guilt often because there is so much I want to be able to do for him in life, that at this time is simply not possible. You see I take care of my grandparents and my son on my own. It is a 24/7, 365 job and I wouldn’t change it one bit. I am a firm believer that family is everything in life. As time is passing thins are becoming more and more difficult for my grandparent’s daily activities, between taking care of them and my son, time for myself and my hobbies is an exceptionally rare treat.
Moving on to the rest of your questions since I have run on about my family a bit more than you were expecting, my first interest in pinup came about in a multitude of ways, from dressing up in my grandmother’s clothing and jewelry to admiring my grandfather’s photographs of the WWII bombers.
As an adult, I had such fear of judgement because of bullying throughout my school years that I never thought I could even attempt to do the things I have accomplished in the recent years.
I was living in Dallas, Texas and one weekend I decided to go to my first Invasion car show. I saw these gorgeous women and daydreamed of having the courage to be able to do something like a pinup competition.
The answer to both questions four and five go hand in hand. You see last year I finally go up the courage to compete in the pinup show at Mothertruckers in Dallas. I was so nervous I could barely breathe (My corset probably didn’t help with that situation very much either.)
Unfortunately, my nerves got the best of me, and when I made the second round where I had to speak, I froze.
This year I had almost talked myself out of going, but I knew that I had to show my son that no matter the outcome that you cannot give up on yourself.
So, I found what I now refer to as my Cinderella pinup dress with a red petticoat a purse, belt, and charm bracelet that I borrowed from my grandmother’s wardrobe. The shoes, though gorgeous, however, are not my favorite. They are far too tall for me to accomplish walking with much ease. Thankfully a dear friend Krash Vegas assisted me to the red carpet to enter the competition. So, there I was nervous again, but surrounded by the incredible people who hosted and attended the event. They treat you like family, with their encouragement as well as my son being constantly on my mind, I walked on stage. My legs shaking, my breathe struggling and my heart about to burst from my chest. I made it though, I made it to round two again. “oh no” I thought to myself, “ I have to speak again.” My nerves were so high strung, I can’t remember the exact wording, but when they asked me why I wanted to be Miss Mothertruckers. I poke from the heart. It went something like this:
“I know that confidence is a large portion of the judging and I know that I am obviously nervous, but I know that I have to fight it. You see my son is autistic and non-verbal, he is my world, and if I have to fight every day of my life to be his voice, I will do whatever it takes to show him he can do anything. If I am going to be his voice, I want to be the loudest, brightest, shiniest voice I can possibly be for him.”
When they called us back on stage and the votes were tallied, my nerves weren’t as bad because I knew that no matter what I had fought my fears.
The ladies I was competing against were all so beautiful and talented that I was rather positive that I did not win. They called 2nd runner up, then 1strunner up and I was convinced that was it. I was going to finally take these shoes off, and that was that, but then they called my name. I was in so much shock that I actually stepped back. They could not have possibly called my name. Then Cinnamon, the owner and host of the event, said “well, do you want it?” I immediately said “Yes,” and the tears just came. I actually did it, I fought my fears and I won. The timing for my personal/financial life couldn’t have been more perfect, and I am eternally grateful for that evening in more ways than words can ever express.
My style heroes will always be my grandmothers. Their strength, grace, and class are attributes I will always aspire to attain, if you couldn’t tell that already from my previous answers, my admiration for them is never-ending.
Another icon I have always admired is Audrey Hepburn. I have every film she was ever in, and I am also lucky enough to have a theater in my hometown, The Indie Cinema, that shows classic films on Tuesday nights for free, and getting to see Love in the Afternoon with my best friend of over twenty years is a wonderful memory I won’t soon forget.
Audrey was an inspiration to us all. She lived through so very much, and to her last days she still was caring for others as we should all live by her example.
I still get nervous at times when people look oddly at me when I am dressed the way I do, but I officially have the full-blown courage to just smile, wave, and give a little wink or curtsey because we as a people need to not be afraid to be ourselves, to never let fear of what people think or our own anxiety hold us back.
The best advice I can give anyone is be yourself, life is so preciously short that wouldn’t it be better to tell your children or friends in the future, “Look at everything I did because I stopped letting fear rule my life.” Instead of just looking back on the ‘what if’s’ or ‘what could have beens.’
As my grandmothers are both nearing the last days of their lives and telling me the stories that they kept secret from me as a child, I know that they have lived their lives the way they wanted. Sure, they have regrets, but they took risks. They fell in love, and they truly lived. That, I believe is all one could ever truly want in life. I want to be just like them.
Oh, and I will most definitely be buried one day in my pinup dress, because if I’m going out, I’m going out in style.
Thank you so much Miss Dolce Douleur 🙂
Since interviewing Lauren her lovely Grandmother Marie has unfortunately passed. It’s been so lovely to hear about her life and how she influenced those around her. If you enjoyed reading this please show Lauren some love <3