I contacted Mandy Apple this month because she makes these cute little top hats and I wanted one for a shoot. So, she invited me to Kelly's Olympian (Sunday the 11th) in down town Portland because there was an event going on and she was going to have her hats there for show and tell and sell, of course. Her persona online in the pin-up world is dynamic and I want everybody to know that in real life she is an absolute living doll!
Here is my interview with her:
BROOKSIE: So, Mandy how long have you been a retro pin-up model?
MANDY: I had my very first shoot in March of 2007 (just over a year and a half), all though for some reason people seem to think I have been doing it for much longer.
BROOKSIE: Who or what inspires you?
MANDY: GO-GO Amy of course! She just takes my breath away. My honey purchased a weekend pin-up class birthday held at one of my favorite Rockabilly/Pin-up stores ever, Cherry Red in Salem Oregon. The first day was the how to's of pin-up such as hair, make-up, wardrobe, props, etc... all brought to you by the best red headed, burlesque performers, seamstress, extraordinaire. The second day was a whirl wind of girly madness, I walked in the door to be whisked away into hair, make-up, wardrobe and I endured one of the most embarrassing moments ever! Only because I had never been made up to that extreme before, especially in front of a camera but, as I warmed up, it truly was a turning point and I honestly fell head over heals in mad LOVE with everything vintage. After the class I purchased some books and spent a lot of time in the library to get the looks and outfits just right.
BROOKSIE: What inspired you to make your mini-top hats?
MANDY: My get away is my bedroom where I can get creative with sewing outfits and coming up with ideas for shoots. One day I was looking for the perfect hat for a burlesque looking outfit I made. I went to every craft and fabric store and just could not come up with anything. I finally went back to the big fabric department type store and asked if they had anything different. She pulled out a mini top hat from behind the counter and I fell in love with the idea. Knowing I did not like the cheap look that it had I gave it back to her and I grabbed some blue sparkly fabric that matched my out fit and headed home. To my room I went, I made the first hat out of cardboard, it worked very well for the shoot, light weight, easy to decorate, then as I went home and kind of tossed the hat down in exhaustion from the shoot, I realized cardboard just is not going to work. I have experimented for a while with other products but now I use a durable laminated material, that I cut out using my own pattern I made. I shape each piece then I cover each piece with fabric of choice. I then construct all the pieces into one of the cutest little hats ever. Decorating them now that is a breeze, I just go with whatever I feel, unless I have a custom order.
BROOKSIE: How long have you been making these wonderful little hats?
MANDY: About six months.
BROOKSIE: Who does your awesome pin-up hairstyling and make-up?
MANDY: I usually do my own hair and make-up if it is a vintage/pin-up shoot but if it is anything else, funky or edgy then someone else has to come to the rescue.
BROOKSIE: Do you have any words of wisdom for any wannabe retro/vintage pin-up models out there?
MANDY: Start younger than I did! Tehehe, I am now 30 and I am the old lady in this industry. Study what you like and do it right. Practice, practice, and really what they say is very true, if the pose does not hurt, it is not looking right... arch HARDER!
To check out Mandy's mini top hats go to: http://www.modelmayhem.com/applesminitophats.