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Detroit Pin-up Girl Inspired By History, Hot Rods

By George Fox
CW50 Detroit Blogger

This post is semi-NSFW. I know ... scandal!

Cool cars are part of the Motor City DNA. Many would say a few of the cars dreamed up here are downright beautiful so one beauty deserves another. Just like we all want something nice to look at in our driveways -- guys are in the habit of decorating their man caves and garage walls with hotties. Instead of that Coors Light bikini babe, why not hang up something classy like a pin-up girl.

Paige, a Metro Detroiter, is an aspiring model specializing in the vintage-style pin-up photography and car show modeling. Using the alias, "Ada Vice," she's been developing her throwback look for about ten years and started modelling professionally in 2013. She's worked at a handful of local car shows, awards gigs and costume contests.

Paige is originally from Owosso. Like many mid-west families she grew up taking occasional trips to area car shows. That's where she got introduced to classic cars and something sparked her creativity.

Ada Vice RSll Photography Beach
(credit: RSll Photography/Ada Vice)

Paige picks and chooses elements from different movements. They range from masculine to feminine although she's drawn to the latter. Everything from a luxurious early 19th century Edwardian long dress to heavy eye makeup popularized by the mod subculture, 40's trousers, the Dior "New Look", hourglass silhouettes with exaggerated hips and waists and full skirts.

Doing pin-up work and modeling isn't her full-time job. What do her employers think about her unique style? Does she wear some of this stuff to work? "I do," said Paige. "I'm kind of a chameleon. One day I could be in comfy jeans and a sweatshirt or in a 50s full gathered skirt with my hair done up in a poodle or I could go with a 'Rosie the Riveter' look," she added. Her bosses are totally cool with it.

Ada Vice RSll Photography Beach
(credit: RSll Photography/Ada Vice)

WWII Influence

History is a big part of her interest in the throwback culture. "Why we did those things fashion-wise WWII hair changed to be more work oriented couldn't be down and long caught in a machine."

The war popularized pin-ups as soldiers would often post magazine pages, calendars or post cards of actresses in their barracks or keep them in the field as a welcome diversion.

Paige's favorite era is '50s. During WWII, women took on factory work and that changed the way they styled their hair and what they could wear. Long hair and heavy machinery don't mix. Paige explained the historical reasons for women's style choices. "Hair changed to be more work-oriented. It couldn't be down and long or it would be caught in a machine," she said. A couple of her favorite styles are victory rolls and wrapping her hair up in a scarf like a turban.

After the war, the feminine silhouette was back as the majority of women migrated their work from factories back to the home. Women wanted to "shed the masculine look ..," said Paige.

On Creepers

How many times do these girls hear "Do you come with the car?" If you see "Ada" at an event, she's happy to take a picture and strike up a conversation. "Thankfully no creepers," she hasn't had to deal with anybody getting "too fresh."

She loves to hear when people enjoy her work. It's validation for all the hours spent putting together an outfit -- not to mention hair and makeup.

Get The Look Locally

Paige loves The Peacock Room in the Park Shelton near the DIA. "Rachel Lutz is amazing," she said of the vintage, reproduction clothing boutique owner.

Does she also use 40s, 50s manners of speech like dame, broad etc..? "Usually it isn't quite appropriate," she said, but Paige is partial to calling guys "fella." One of her favorite ways of dealing with bothersome people is to tell them to "take a long walk of a short pier."

Ada Vice RSll Photography Beach
(credit: RSll Photography/Ada Vice)

Detroit As A Platform

What about Detroit has helped her succeed in this endeavor? "I think because it has such a huge car culture and a rich history down here it fosters people like me." In other words, "When they see somebody coming up with an idea and vision they really want to get on it and help promote. It helps to further your goal. That's really unique. We're all in it together," she added.

Paige plans to attend the REO Town Thrift Store Gala and Burlesque Extravaganza! on Saturday, March 29 in Lansing, Mich.

Placing in the top 12 in last year's Autorama pin-up girl contest landed her a feature as Miss November in the 2014 Vinsetta Garage calendar. She recommends the noodle burger at Vinsetta, which sounds awesome by the way.

You can follow Paige's alter ego "Ada Vice" on Facebook and Instagram.

Full disclosure: a colleague of mine recommended that I should like "Ada" Vice on Facebook. I was lucky enough to win a set of awesome signed pin-up photo prints. I thought I'd write a profile on her.

George Fox is a Spartan, a Michigander, and Web Producer for CBS 62/CW50 in Detroit. When I'm not working on content for the CBS Local websites, I'm probably hanging out on the boat, at deer camp or spending quality time with the fam. Follow George on Twitter @GeorgeJFox.

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