Anyone who gets an
eyeful of the lovely Kate Donovan knows instantly how well
she personifies the classic image of the pin-up. Every pose perfect. Every
smile hinting at something saucier. But Donovan isn't a gal
who lives solely in the past. She is undeniably modern, building on all
the themes and styles set forth by previous generations of cheesecake models.
Not only is Donovan on the cutting edge of pin-up modeling,
she is also at the forefront of creating a larger pin-up community. For
these reasons and many more, we are proud to add her as one of our
Below is an exclusive interview with Kate
Donovan: Don't forget to scroll all the way down to see a gallery
of her photos.
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Java's Bachelor Pad: First off, I have to tell you that I have
been a fan of yours for a long, long time. Your look is so perfect. You
are a gal who really does her homework. When did you get started and what
drew you to cheesecake modeling? Who takes your photos?
Kate Donovan: Oh Goodness, thank you sooo much!!! Comments
like that make it all worth while! Let's see, I put my first site up in
October 2000. I started taking pictures for it in September of that same
Well, my mom was always into the old classic styles, she always said
they never go out of style they just keep coming back around with a new
accessories. Growing up I was very influenced by my grandparents, Mom and
I lived with them quite often. They loved having cocktail parties
and they were always such gracious hosts. I grew up wanting to be just
like them! My Grampa also had all the old Playboy mags in his closet that
I used to sneak a peek at! I remember being about 4-5 when I discovered
them for the first time! It's been a life long desire of mine to
emulate the beauty, playfulness and grace of the ladies in those
pages. Mix that with wanting to be just like my grandparents and
one might think I am in the wrong era!
As of now I have one main photographer that works for me, Kitty-Sue
Perrmann. We have been working together for the last three years now and
there are no signs of that changing any time soon! I have done a couple
of shoots with a friend of mine in the UK as well, her name is Catherine
Bliss. She owns a wedding photography company and does boudoir photos
as well. The sets with her are more for her to learn my style and integrate
it into her own for her business. The early photos on my site, 2000-2002,
where shot by my ex-husband. I did retain all rights and ownership to them
so don't worry they won't disappear!
JBP: When I look at your photos (and I do quite often!) I really
see that sense of playfulness that made classic pin-ups so fun. What is
your approach to pin-up modeling? Who do you get inspiration from?
KD: Hmmm...I would say I take the art of classic pinup
very much to heart. I really try to emulate a sexy, playful and teasing
girl/lady. I love to communicate to the viewer through the camera!
I often tell stories in my sets, which along with some great sexy
pictures it can also lead to some pretty silly pictures! It's fun
and the viewers seem to enjoy it as well, so I get to be sexy and
fun with out loosing the erotic element, how cool is that! I find looking
at my sets that the more clothes I take off the bigger my smile gets!
My greatest inspiration has always been the classic pinup models/artists.
I prefer the slightly campy or flirty posses that they did and I love to
use my imagination to theme my sets so that they have a story line running
through them. I think that the best themes I have done and which were really
great fun to do were Naughty Nautical, The Unusual Suspects and Bus Stop
Brother. I love looking at the old movies of the 40's and 50's getting
ideas for clothes and sets. As I also really enjoy the old fashioned
feel of the movies this is more like relaxation than work!
JBP: Another thing I admire about you (and there is a lot to
admire) is that you're a real do-it-yourself'er. From what I understand
you do everything yourself from creating the scenes, getting the props,
and taking the photos. Do you just find it easier to do it that way?
KD: I am most definitely a perfectionist and sometimes
this causes problems when it comes to putting it all together. When working
with friends we can sometimes have very different ideas. I do enjoy all
the banter that goes on while we work our way through from the original
concept to the final set. Discussing through a story line and altering
the original concept can make it perfect but it can often mean we create
a totally new and different set to that originally conceived. It just goes
to show the ideas and options for sets are endless and it is so fun coming
up with each and every one! With the concept decided on we then spend time
perfecting the set and the wardrobe. The thing that then takes most time
is getting the makeup and hair absolutely perfect.
All the bouncing ideas back and for stops me form getting stale.
It also means that from time to time one of my friends will come up with
a really great idea which is fresh and new to me. I love doing those sets
just as much as the ideas I have come up with myself.
JBP: To go along with the last question, you seem like you're
always taking photos--which is great for fans like me. How hard is it to
do something you haven't done before? Where do you get your ideas from?
How have your pin-ups changed over the years?
KD: I am really lucky to have Kitty-Sue Perrmann as
my photographer! Kitty-Sue
is so good about letting ideas develop whilst we are shooting so
that we always get the best results. With both of us being perfectionists
some times the fur can fly! We always resolve our differences in the end
though and we produce sets we are both immensely proud of.
Some times the technical stuff can be a bit overwhelming. Lighting
has been a baggy for me in the past but I think we are getting this sorted.
As for posses and props I try new things every time I shoot. We always
take plenty of test shots so that if any of it doesn't work we just
chuck it and start again! Technically lighting and angels are the hardest
and fortunately for me those tend to be the things Kitty-Sue is most passionate
to learn more about!
Over the five years that I have been doing this my sets have changed
quite a lot. I think I am braver now about trying new things and not worrying
about whether they will work technically. I am into more classic poses
now than I was at the start and I think my sets have a greater style now.
I have more props and my wardrobe is much larger so I can create more variety.
I have also changed quite a lot physically and emotionally in this time
and I am really comfortable in my own skin now. I think my new physique
is much more suited to the pin up genre and I hope you agree! It has all
been a learning process as I have had some really tough personal stuff
to deal with over the last 5 years, don't fret as I have come through
it all now.
JBP: I have to tell you I was knocked out when I saw that Bettie
Page/Tempest Storm homage you did with the lovely Bernie
Dexter. Talk about being in pin-up heaven! I know that you
make it a point to work with other up-and-coming models. Why is this important
KD: WOW Thanks!!! Bernie and I had sooo much fun planning
out that shoot! Do you know it took nearly a year for that shoot to happen!?!?!
hehehe "Sometimes the best things are worth waiting for!" said Kitty-Sue.
Working with up and coming models Bernie, Lana (Landis) and Kitten
on The Pinup Portal is
great. We have had tons of fun when we have done sets together but
I am only comfortable doing this because we were friends first and
they truly wanted to do retro pinup. I not sure if I would ever be
comfortable working in the mainstream.
Part of the fun of being in The Pinup Portal is that I can
help the new girls not to make the same mistakes I did. I can pass on my
knowledge of the technical stuff and help them to develop their own style.
When you look at their pictures you can really see their personalities
shining through and I like to think I have helped them in some small way
in achieving this. In return they help to keep me fresh and enthusiastic.
All the girls on the Portal have their own totally unique style,
abilities and flair! I love looking at their latest sets and celebrating
their successes with them. All of this means that together we each continue
to expand our horizons and express new thoughts and more feeling into our
posses and themes.
JBP: You've been talking about
The Pinup Portal.
I've been to the site and it looks exciting. Tell us more about it.
KD: Having been able to make my site reasonably successful
I have now turned my attention to the pinup genre as a whole. Put simply
I love pinup and everything it embodies such as tease, erotica, glamour
and celebrating the "art of being a woman." I think it has a very important
place on the net despite all the lewd and hardcore sexual imagery that
is so freely available today.
The Pinup Portal is a service designed to help those already
in the pinup arena and those wanting to become a part of it. If you are
an aspiring pinup model or a business associated with the world of pinup.
If you want a reliable, flexible and powerful online presence with the
minimum of financial outlay. Then The Pinup Portal will provide
everything you need.
I want to see this new breed of retro styled Pinup blossom and become
a mainstay again! With the contributions of The Pinup Portal's guests
and the addition of more and more like minded pinup genre people I know
it will get there! From models to artists, clothing companies to antique
retailers, custom car shops to history buffs and so on and so forth!
JBP: Sounds like you're a busy gal. Do you have any other projects
in the works?
KD: Oh...there is always something more whirring around in
my head, you know me always looking to the future! I don't plan to stop
until I'm dead so you can bet I will always have something new and exciting
to work on!