Thursday, August 4, 2016

The Style Of Me: Part 3

"The Style Of Me"
The Story Of How My Style
How I Used It To Control My
Confidence & Body Image
Emily Doll TVD

Part 3
"And Then There Was Rockabilly" 
It's funny how sometimes the people who support you the least in life and are the most poisonous to you can also help you discover yourself. The year I turned 17 was the year I got into my first relationship. My boyfriend who later turned into my husband, who later turned into my ex husband is the guy that introduced me to Rockabilly. I would hope that I would have discovered it no matter what in my life, but with out our history together I might not have. This part of my story is bitter sweet. Where the step I took helped me find myself, it also brought a lot of drama, bullying and heartache.
Me at 18 Trying to Embrace My Love For Rockabilly 

My ex hung out with what was probably the most active group in the Rockabilly community in Oklahoma City at the time. His best friend was at the center of it all and although he was friends with them and occasionally tried to fit in with the style, it was never really his thing. He took me to my first car show at 17. It was at Jeff Becks garage. I met so many awesome people there. Brian Dunning, who I am sure is the closest thing to Elvis left on this planet. He is an awesome fella and keeps the rockabilly music genre alive with his band. His band performed at that car show and it was my first real dose of Rockabilly music, boy did I fall in love with it. Mike "Mini Mad" Cook who is a huge part of the custom car culture here as well as being an all around dare devil has become a great friend as well. He kept me from getting man handled at a party once at 19 when I was drunk lol. Him and I are still great friends. I have a lot of love for him. There was Juke Joint Jenni! Such a sweet heart who opened her closet full of music and vintage nostalgia knowledge to me and has always accepted me, even back in my all things polka dot phase. Buffy, my Rockabilly mamma. She gave me the courage to cut my Bettie Bangs and told me to never take any crap! There were many people in the scene here when I first discovered it who inspired me and showed me how amazing the Rockabilly culture was and how it was more than a way to dress. It was music and history. It was freedom and confidence. It was me.  
Now, I can't say that I just became this Rockabilly chick and knew all things right out of the door. It was a huge struggle for me. I fell so in love with it, but it also scared me. It was so bold and so different than anything I ever knew or anything I ever was and it intimidated me big time. I doubted my involvement in the culture and worried way too much about what others may think about it. I allowed my fear and self doubt keep me from my passion from the age of 16 to 21. I quietly studied and enjoyed Rockabilly within my own thought for many years. I tried other styles and other things to try and fulfill that want for something that seemed to call my name. I still remember my first car magazines. My ex would buy them at 7-11 when we would get drinks. I discovered Pinups and how they were still around in today's world. Their boldness, confidence and embracement of their own sex appeal called my name. Again, I ignored it. 
I loved the car shows, the music, hanging out with my ex's friends. It gave me this sense of home and self awareness that always scared me but I wanted to push. Rockabilly. Cars. The Music. The Pinups. It all grabbed a hold of me. I tried to run from it. I tried to make excuses. I tried to deny my love for it out of fear of what others would think. Until I was 22... it all changed. 
Me at 22 Finally Beginning To Embrace My Passion

In part two of this blog serious, I talked about my summer working at a sports bar when I had to go back to work after having my son to help take care of my family. It was a very negative experience. At that point in my life, I was really lost and going through a lot and I was so desperate to find myself and be secure in something. About the time I was about to move on from that choice, I had finally decided to embrace my love for Rockabilly. I couldn't deny my passion anymore and just went for it in both my everyday life as well as beginning to take the plunge into pinup modeling. I had no idea what to do or where to start. So I just started trying. What else could I do right. The more I tried, the more I realized how much I already knew what I needed to know. The knowledge I had gained from my love for the culture helped me grow in what I was doing. 
I decided to start a Facebook page after speaking with an amazing role in the modern pinup community, Sorelle, owner and creator of Pin Up Passion. After I came across her website while studying pinup history she told me I needed to be brave and go for it! So that's just what I did. My first online feature was with selfies I took on the Pin Up Passion website. Sorelle was my first supporter and gave me so much courage. I can never thank her enough for believing in me from day one. She is and always we be one of my biggest inspirations in life. 
I woke up one day, got dressed, styled my hair the best I could at the time, set my camera up on self timer on my sons walker with some blocks, ran for the couch, posed, and the photo below was captured. To this day it is still my favorite photo. Its the photo I started "The Vintage Doll" with.
After creating my Facebook page, I knew I would need more photos. I did a shoot all by myself in my home at the time while my oldest who was 7 months old napped. They were so amateur, but just like now I made what I had work and as a stay at home mom with no funds and no way to buy clothes or book a real shoot, this is what I could do. I rocked it out the best way I knew how at the time! We all have to start somewhere and starting small is easiest.
I was so shy and insecure. When I got in front of the camera it gave me life and I quickly became addicted to it. Creating art in my self shot photos was something I had always wanted to do. I studied all things fashion, modeling, beauty and the industry for so long. I also wanted to go to school for photography, which still to this day is a huge passion of mine. It's just what I love and I am knowledgeable in it because I have invested so much of myself into it. I never wanted to model until I found pinup. I fell in love with it and it was what I wanted for myself. I wanted to bathe in my pinup persona and never get out! That's just what I did. I made my Facebook using the name I had been using already for years as an email. The Vintage Doll. A spin off my love of Vintage and the fact that I was called a doll by both family, friends and strangers do to my petite porcelain features. It only made sense and I rolled with it. I started posting more about my growing look and culture involvement, Then I decided it was time for.... BETTIE BANGS! 
Bettie Bangs were really scary to get done but I have never been happier with a style choice in my life, and I've had them now for 6 years. After cutting them, I finally after years of wanting to, dyed my hair jet black. My parents never wanted me to and to this day none of them really like it lol. But I love it and it helps me embrace who I am and why not do that right! It's me and my look and I've never not liked it. 

Within the first couple of months I started interacting with local photographers in Oklahoma. I made contact with a few who wanted to start shooting pinup and needed a model. I had never shot before but knew this was my chance to really do what I loved. I was scared and nervous and had horrible anxiety about it but I stepped out of my comfort zone and set up a shoot with Carlie Denton. He was amazing. He understood pinup, understood lighting and posing and helped me see that The Vintage Doll was really someone and she needed to keep pursuing her dreams. This is one of the photos captured in my first ever pinup shoot. I had no hair and makeup team. I had no expensive wardrobe. Just me, what I knew from years of passionately studying something I loved, and a huge dream of becoming a pinup. This photo is still one of the most shared all over the internet. 
After this shoot was when I faced my first negative issue with my choice to embrace my love of the Rockabilly culture. I quickly had all of the Rockabilly community here turn on me within seconds of me releasing my first shoot. Started by the girls in the group which quickly had all of their guy friends on board, openly trashing me online and making fun of me. I was quickly deemed a poser and had no right to love what I did. I was attacked online and had to block people on my phone who constantly texted and called me to tell me how much I was hated and shouldn't be doing what I was in pinup. They shared my photos and tore me apart, said I needed my ass kicked. All of it soon out of control and I started reconsidering what I was doing. Other peoples negative attitudes made me want to ignore what I loved. I loved them all so much. I looked up to them and respected them. I loved the culture they introduced me to and wanted to share it with them but clearly they didn't feel the same. I had to make a choice to either allow others to dictate my future or take control of it myself and move forward. That's what I did. I blocked them. Ignored them and their negative attitudes and bullying and kept chasing my dreams. Still to this day there are several of them from my past that still mock me, call me "The Vintage Fake" and pick me apart. Sadly they haven't grown up or moved on. I just shake my head. No longer am I a scared naive young girl looking for others approval in the things that I love. They can hate me and judge me. I will continue embracing who I am.

For the next three years I started really growing in not only the Rockabilly culture and pinup industry but also in myself. I finally felt like me. I felt like I was comfortable in my skin and not searching anymore. I suffered a huge blow not long after I started my modeling. About a year in I struggled through both a miscarriage and being cheated on by my husband at the time. It really made me question myself as a woman. I was so so broken, empty and alone. I knew he told me he supported what I was doing but his actions said other wise. The more I embraced myself and what I loved, the more he lashed out at me. He didn't really like the fact that I was doing what I did. Made comments about my style and appearance and called me an internet slut for making friends online. His abusive behavior towards me only grew. It was never a healthy relationship and we had a lot of problems, but this seemed to make him more angry with me. How I was seemed to annoy him, "Why can't you just be yourself?" It was really hard after years of mental abuse to not hold it against myself and become self conscious again after I was working so hard to get past that. We separated for a summer after I discovered his unfaithfulness. I gave him a second chance for the sake of our son and tried my best to move forward. I continued to embrace my love for Rockabilly and who I knew I was, and he continued to abuse my love and trust. I turned to my modeling and blogging as a way to keep myself going. I did everything with my oldest son at my feet and The Vintage Doll kept getting bigger. As did my own personal style! I had so much knowledge packed into my brain from studying the culture for so long. I really didn't realize how much I knew until I started really becoming myself. My hair and makeup improved and my wardrobe started becoming more than just polka dots lol. I feel like that's how most of us start out. You fall in love with the culture and music that built it and then your style builds around that. My style was fueled by my love of Rockabilly and has grown so much since then. I've embraced my love for 40's and 50's style. My vintage bone runs deep. 
I tried to shoot when I could but I was told there was no time and I just needed to be a mother. That it was selfish of me to want to focus on that. So I didn't. I was told things like the clothes I loved or style I loved was a waste and I was never allowed to do anything that helped me grow in it. So I had to find other ways. What I loved was unimportant to the person controlling my life at the time so it felt impossible to get anything done positive with what I was trying to build. I decided to start working with small brands at the time and that's really when things took off for me. I started doing my YouTube Tutorials and growing in my style with the help of brands. I did a lot of trade work because I couldn't afford to buy anything and I couldn't afford shoots. So I offered trade. I started small with hair accessory brands. I took every brand serious that I worked with because that was their livelihood in my hands. It was my job to use my skills to help them get seen by the world. They worked hard and deserved it. So that's what I did. I quickly became a brand model for promoting some of the best brands in pinup fashion! I respected the designers and what they put into their work and tried my best to return that to them in the services I offered. I have met some of the most amazing people working with these brands and they have all helped me grow so much. It isn't " Free Stuff" it is their passion that I get to be apart of and they have helped my brand grow in return.
My page, brand and modeling work really moved slowly for several years. I was in a marriage that didn't really support it so I did what I could, but purposefully put it on the back burner always to keep from getting into arguments. I recently had my second son and my following went through the roof! It was amazing that even when the person I loved din't support what I did, so many people did. In December 2013 a lot changed for me. I became a single mother. I was heart broken, lost, questioned myself in every area. It was a really hard time to get through. I healed daily and moved forward with my life. I decided that it was all about me and my boys. So I started focusing on my brand to make myself feel better. I started more aggressively embracing my personal style as an outlet now that no one could judge me for it. And then I dyed my hair PINK! They say a woman who changes her hair is about to change the world. I didn't really realize how much I was about to really change. It was all for the better. 

Over the 11 years I have been evolving into embracing and fulfilling my love of this culture and style I have had good days and bad days. I've cried, been bullied, almost gave up and questioned why I was even trying to accomplish for myself. Sometimes its hard to go after what you want in life and one of the hardest things to be in life is yourself at times. There will always be someone there judging you and telling you why you cant or shouldn't or why you don't make sense. Telling you that you are fake or a poser. Trying to steal your destiny. You always have to keep pushing. If I gave up I never would be who I am today. It was hard but every day I learn more about myself. I learn to accept myself more. I learn to love the body I am in even though I am told I shouldn't. I learn to be brave and vocal about who I am and what I want in life. At first look I would be deemed Rockabilly or Pinup style in today's world. Which I agree with, Both of those things are a huge part of me and I love them to no ends. Its a genre, style, culture, music and life style I love. Its a time I love. Its what I feel connected with. Most importantly I love it because it finally helped give me a voice and help me find who I am on the inside. I may have conquered the fashion side of this life style but that's not the biggest part of it or what's most important, Its the self confidence and self awareness it brought me. Well that and a totally bad ass style am I right!!!! HAHA!!
I'm evolving. I'm evolving everyday into the woman I am meant to be. I face challenges, self doubt, anxiety, depression, stress, but through it all I stay focused on being myself. I like the person I am becoming. I like me. 

No matter what, I am most happy that I am finally just able to just be myself. I'm proud of my style knowledge and I love what I do so much. Its me! Its who I am and who I was always meant to be. It feels amazing to over come your own fears and self doubt in something and take control of it and do it! I totally doubted myself. I remember being that girl who said ''Oh I could never pull that off" when all I had to do was embrace myself. I am finally me and I am finally happy and I finally have an outlet for my passions and creativity. My outsides finally match my insides and that is a great feeling!

Started At The Bottom Now We Here!! 
The left I am 18 years old. Just starting to embrace my love for Rockabilly culture and pinup. The right is a photo of me today at 27, capturing a promotional photo for one of the top Rockabilly styling products for Pinup and Rockabilly women in today's scene, Suavecita Pomade 
The left I am 22 years old. That was one of the first photos I took of myself to start my modeling career, The right I am 27, finally able to say, "This is me" 

Questioning yourself is easy, accepting yourself is hard. Never stop searching for your personal happiness. 

Stay tuned for part 4 in my newest blog project 
Evolving: The Story of My Style & The Embracement of Me 

Thank You for reading and I hope you come back to read Part 4 when posted on my Blog. Feel free to share and follow with others. Together we can embrace our growth and change in who we were meant to be, with out shame or ridicule but in love and confidence instead. 

"Remember To Always Be Yourself & Your Will Always Be In Style"

Emily Doll TVD

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