Tana Louise (not to be confused with
Louise, aka TV's Ginger) started her career as a burlesque
strip teaser in the 1950's. Her real claim to fame, though, was as a fetish
model and columist for under-the-counter magazine Exotique.
Although high heels and stockings were common
prop in pin-up photography, the more extreme versions were marginalized
and only available via mail-order houses. These were the pictures where
heels had to be at least five inches longs and elements of bondage and
S&M were always upfront. Ads for these picture sets could be found
hidden in the backs of classic men's magazines. It was the part of girlie
magazine culture that was always spoken of in a whisper.
who Louise posed for, was probably the best know of these
photographers and the one most prosecuted.
Whereas mainstream girlie magazines were tolerated
by society, publishing fetish magazines was much trickier. Some, like Bizarre,
played games to avoid being attacked. They would say their magazine was
there to promote the learning of martial arts so you would would be attacked
and tied up by burglars like the women pictured in the magazine.
Exotique, founded by Leonard
Burtman, was focused less on bondage and more on women in high
heel and corsets...basically the classic dominatrix look. Louise,
because of her exotic looks and wicked smile, fit that image perfectly.
(Exotique also featured fellow Femme Fatales Bettie
Page, Betty Blue, and
After a few issues, Louise not
only became the main model and columnist for Exotique, but
she became Burtman's wife. Her column, titled "From Me To
You," was basically the text for her photo shoots. A typical one would
have her telling in exquisite detail what she would be wearing for a big
night out. On the next page would be pictures of her putting on a tight
dress, lacing up impossible heels, and pulling on arm length gloves.
After a few years, Louise's
marriage with Burtman began to wane. By the end of the 50's,
her participation in Exotique ended as well. By the early
1960's, the fetishism that was underground the decade before started to
find its way into the mainstream. Unfortunately, after her tenure with
seems to disappear from site. There is some speculation that she continued
modeling through the 60's, but nothing has been confirmed yet.
Her current popularity comes of the heels
(no pun intended) or reprints of Bizzare,
and photos from Irving Klaw. Louise is one
gal who really puts the "fatal" in Femme Fatale.