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Okemos teacher’s vintage modeling hobby revealed

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Okemos teacher’s vintage modeling hobby revealed

Megan Wiseman, Web Editor

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Vintage style. To many, it is simply a part of history, but for Emily Feehery (English), it is a lifestyle.

“[The term] pin up typically refers to fashion from the 30’s through the 50’s,” Feehery said. “I tend to most often dress in late 40’s to early 50’s style dresses, typically ones with big poofy circle skirts.”

When imagining said fashion era, one can picture victory roll hairstyles, Cadillac cars and the classic red lips a la Marilyn Monroe. Historically, ‘pin up’, better known now as vintage modelling, gained its name for the extravagant photos of burlesque actresses that were intended to be hung on walls. These women were the ideal image of a what a person should strive to be or to marry. They were typically curvy and sporting anywhere from natural to heavy makeup. Especially recognizable names include Bettie Page, Eartha Kitt, Rita Hayworth and Jayne Mansfield.

As time went on, women began to use pin up to recruit for the war effort during World War II and eventually shared the style between each other for fun as opposed to simply posing for a photographer. Suddenly the entire vibe changed and began to develop into what it is todayーsomething that Feehery participates in regularly.

“What I do is actually just vintage modelling and pageants…[pageants] are typically based on authenticity of the clothing being worn and are not typical beauty pageants. They are more about how well you represent the decade’s fashion,”Feehery said.

In addition to competing, she is also the Central Michigan Regional Director for volunteer group ‘The Battlin’ Betties’, which aids veterans and helps raise awareness for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Besides dressing in 40’s and 50’s fashion, Betties all over America host special events, visit veterans in hospitals and help clean the headstones of those who have served.

Feehery’s interest in vintage style began as a child dancing with her grandmother to old music. After singing in church, her love for jazz and performing grew, leading to dabbling in musical theatre and participating in jazz music competitions under the name Jeannie Von Jazz.

“I have always loved performing, as long as I can remember,” Feehery said. “When I got older, I became more involved in my community theater. I was also the lead singer of a blues band called ‘Blues This House’ for a few years.”

Wearing clothing styles outside of societal trends or norms can be daunting to begin with. Although Feehery has carried her interests on throughout her life, she also offers advice for those just getting started: “There are a TON of resources online. Also, don’t be afraid to just do it!”

Those looking to see Feehery at work can currently find her at a singing competition in Alma on Wednesdays, or stop by her room (B216) to chat and ask questions!

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Okemos teacher’s vintage modeling hobby revealed