Those bangs! Those legs! That smile! It all adds up to Rockabilly Pinup Queen Bernie Dexter. Arguably one of the top modern pinups around, Southern California's raven haired beauty can be seen gracing the pages of international magazines such as German Playboy
and Elle Sweden & Italy
as well as pinup magazines like Barracuda
and Bachelor Pad
. She is also the face of countless clothing and accessory lines, most notably Ars Vivendi, Lucy B, Baby Girl Boutique, Bettie Page Clothing as well as her own signature line of footwear for Elite Heels.
Influenced by the glamour of the 40's and 50's and the music of the rockabilly scene, she took cues from her showgirl mother and her own background as a makeup artist and somehow found her way in front the camera~ and never looked back. A star was definately born!
Bernie's vivacious personality and distinct looks make her one of the most recognized pinups around, with fans all over the globe. Whether she is vamping it up on a photo shoot or dancing the night away to her favorite bands, she loves what she does which explains the level of success she has acheived. Bernie was kind enough to answer a few questions about what it's like as one of the most well known pinups!You are one of the most popular Pinups on the internet!
Oh Thank you!How did you start modeling?
Purely by luck! I had always wanted to be a model but did not have much luck till I gave up and was working as a make up artist on pinup photo shoots.What was the draw for you?
It is the lifestyle I live. So I naturally just fell into it.You have a great interactive website, plus an online store. What kinds of things are available to us?
I am so pleased you like my shop. I just launched my own collection of clothing. The collection is called Young & Wild. It is a reflection of my own personal style. Most of my influences are the rockabilly music I listen too. I also have my own range of couture high heels, lingerie and stockings!At first glance, one cannot help notice a resemblance to pinup queen Bettie Page, but you seem to bring on a style of your own...
Yes, it was the first thing brought to my attention. I truly had no clue how similar we look. I never did study her. I really have just been being myself and not trying to emulate her. Of course it is an honor to resemble her.
I must say a fascination has set in. I know people think they know everything about her. What they don't know is that she actually said she was delighted with me. And I was so happy to hear this! She is still the queen of pin ups. ;)
I am sure you were saddened by her passing.
No one will ever know... I did not ever get to meet her. I do have the comfort of knowing she approved of what I was doing. She was very internet savvy, so she saw my career bloom.
How did she affect you and your career?
I actually slowed my pace down. It was really heartbreaking. But I am slowly picking up the momentum again.
Your mother was a showgirl, so there must have been some things you learned from her. Any beauty or modeling tips you've picked up on?
Yes she was! I learned EVERYTHING I know from watching her. She was amazing.
You are known for your trademark smile and raven bangs! Have you ever experimented with other looks or style of modeling?
I have, I tried to grow the fringe out but it just does not suit me. And I was platinum for about 3 months 7 years ago. It was too much work. So I went back to what is easiest to maintain.
How do you prepare for a modeling shoot?
I never over think shoots. I like a free style shoots. I get inspiration form the garment I am modeling but like I said, nothing is ever planed out ahead of time.
Who are your style icons and inspirations?
I just LOVE 1950's Barbie. She is so amazing, I also love Poison Ivy from the Cramps, Jayne Mansfield, Ginger Rogers, Myrna Loy and Tempest Storm.
I get a lot of inspiration form watching old burlesque clips on youtube. I also adore 1950's juvenile delinquent movies.
What makes the 40's and 50's styles so attractive to you, as opposed to other eras?
I was naturally drawn to them as early as I can remember. I found the styles so feminine and glamorous. Also helps that I have a popular body type of those eras. ;)
You've also had your hand in the behind the scenes action as well, doing hair, makeup and styling. Do you think that is an advantage for you in front of the camera?
Yes, I sure did. I think so. I really helped me understand all the angles.
Your husband Levi takes a number of your photos. What kind of collaboration goes on?
Yes, he takes 99% of them. He has the best eye for what I want. We have the same visions so it really works out well.
Do you have to adjust to different photographer's styles or do you just get out there and go?
No, I just do my thing. I think all models have their own style. I know I have mine. Photographers respond positively so I think I am doing it right. hehee...
Because of your recognition and popularity, have you encountered any problems with other models? How competitive can it get?
It is competitive that is for sure, but I have not felt any threats.
You've modeled for countless clothing and accessory brands, do you have any favorites?
I sure have. I feel so lucky. I LOVE modeling for ars-vivendi.com, versatilefashions.com, Bettie Page Clothing, babygirlboutique.com and onjenoo.com.
Do you have advice can you share with up and coming models?
Just be yourself. And have fun.
What are three things every pinup needs?
A good reliable photographer, good attitude and hard work ethic.
What's it like to travel and meet fans?
That is the most fun! It is wild really. I just love them all!
What do you do for a fun night out?
I go see Rockabilly bands.
How important is music to you?
It is the MOST important! It is the backbone to my pinup career.
Have any favorite bands?
YES! Levi Dexter is my most favorite, I also love the Cramps, Charlie Feathers, Janis Martin, RUTH BROWN, CRAZY CAVAN, STEVE HOOKER, LIL GIZZELLE, METEORS, CARAVANS, JONNY BURNETTE TRIO, HARD ROCK GUNTHER, Ray Campi, PEARL HARBOR, THE BLASTERS, LOUIS PRIMA. Tons more. :)
Can we peek into your makeup bag?
Haha! Yes, I use different things but right now I am using MAC Face & Body for foundation, Studio Fix, Kevyn Aucoin blushes & shadows, Estee' Lauder mascara, & YSL liquid liner.
Is there anything you are looking forward to in 2009?
I am so excited to be going to Spain for the Screamin' Fest and a week before I will be in Germany with Ars-Vivendi!!
And lastly, what is your definition of Glamour?
Glamour is a reflection of your inner beauty.
Thank you Bernie! xo
all photos by Levi Dexter, beach photo by Paul Bakan