An Interview with Leanna Bruce Pt 2: Pin Up Girl Shoots

David Wickman Photography for Natalie Ross Designs
David Wickham Photography for Natalie Ross Designs

Leanna Bruce previously told us about her appreciation for the great Hollywood Pin Ups (read Interview Part 1 here) and you can tell from her style that she takes inspiration from them. Although not having an interest in featuring in one of her Burlesque shows, Leanna has recently taken to Pin Up Modeling. We’ve got the behind the scenes scoop on her first few shoots to get an insiders view of the beginnings of a Pin Up girl.

How did your adventure into the Pin Up world start?

Lena Mae recommended me to a friend who is a clothing designer for a brand called Natalie Ross Designs. She makes wiggle dresses and wanted me to be a model for her new range for her website… It was like, do you want a dress made for you? Wasn’t going to say no.

That shoot was really good because it was a group thing as well; it eases you in as it wasn’t just focused on you. You are all in the same boat apart from a couple who I took a bit of advice from. It was a Bar in Guildford so it was a bit like a night out and then we were all at the bar doing our poses, so it was quite nice.

Leanna Bruce, Appleton Pin Up Girl, Verve Rockabilly Studios
Verve Rockabilly Studios

You then did a shoot with Verve Rockabilly Studios in London, which you Blogged about. How did it compare to the one previously for Natalie Ross with David Wickham Photography and going it alone for the first time?

The Verve shoot was a studio makeover and I was literally waited on hand and foot. So I was getting a lot of fuss, full hair and full make up. At one point I had just got my makeup done so I had my tea through a straw and I was being fed while I tried to sit still. I couldn’t even dress myself.

It was really good but very different for when it came to standing in front of the backdrop. There was no one to hide behind and there was no one to copy. I am on my own and she is staring at me with this camera.

When you look back at the pictures you think oh if only I had put my hand here or I’d put my head up higher. It does make you think though. Some of the poses you get put into, it looks natural… but its not. And it hurts!

Last week when we did another similar shoot, my friend’s legs were killing her for days. Posing is actually worse than working out, I’d rather do a bootcamp than try and get into some of these positions. It’s a lot more hard work than it looks and with all the big studio lights on you, you feel like your freshly made up face is going to melt off. It just slides off.

But it hasn’t put you off?

Lying on the floor with you back arched as far back as you possibly can whilst getting really hot and trying to look sexy, when really you are like errr, is hard.

But it hasn’t put me off. I’m not very confident in myself what so ever so it’s just learning to accept some of the photos, dealing with how they look, and moving on. One of them last week I looked drunk. I really did. You’re just hoping for a better one next time.

Leanna Bruce. Appleton Pin Up, Pin Up Girl, Verve Rockabilly Studios
Verve Rockabilly Studios

You are also tying in photo shoots with your Burlesque Shows. You did your first one a couple of weeks back at yours, how did that go?

We had Stuey Hamilton from Joust Photography come down all the way from Norfolk. I met him through the Cream Tease who are a Burlesque Troupe, based on the Isle of White. I really liked his work and he came down as the photographer, for Lady Catalina and Evita Rose from that Troupe, for one of my shows so I got to see his work for me first hand before.

So you then invited him to create his Mobile Studio in your living room..?

It’s very small so it was very interesting.

There was one shot with Kristyl Rose who is one of the performers at my last show and a local performer who has been my stage kitten for all my shows from the first one. She was doing a shoot nude, covered in rose petals, and my cat came in and sat on her belly.

And then when she was laid on the floor with petals that are just placed in the right places; the cat walked straight up to her and shook his head like a dog covering her in cat spit and then walked off. Rose is lying there like ohmygod and Stuey is going don’t move!

A mobile studio does work really well because we can be upstairs in my bedroom getting changed and ready. It’s a bit like a night out without too much whisky and drinks but you can go down and change the backdrops. It is the good thing about having a studio come to you.

Joust, Leanna Bruce, Rockabilly, Pin Up, Tattoo Dress, Old is Now
Joust PHotography

What is your next aim with Pin Up Modeling?

Well one thing that has happened in the last few weeks is that I got signed by Diamonds and Feathers, which are a Pin Up Agency. That was good. One of my performers Bexi Owen, who was in my first ever show, she is signed with them as well. It’s all about the retro and pin up style. That was a big first step forward for me, I had a couple of shoots and now I am with an agency.

But just having a play with different types of looks for different types of people. Maybe even to collaborate with various brands.

Three shoots down, and having recently been signed to Diamonds and Feathers we recommend keeping tabs on Leanna Bruce, which you can do over on her Appleton Pin Up Girl Blog here. We look forward to seeing more shoots soon and thank you for the interviews!

Leanna Bruce, Natalie Ross, Pin Up, Wiggle Dress, David Wickham

The Faux fur debate

posted in: Fashion and Beauty | 0

There is an ongoing debate as to whether it is acceptable to wear fur, and even wearing faux fur can be seen to be glamourising fur. I personally would not wear real fur, however have no problem with vintage furs being sold and traded, it is the production of new fur that I have an issue with but what does everyone else think?

Blaire Rowland 23 "I think if it is vintage, so killed a long time ago, than that is okay. But that there is no need for new furs to be made because killing animals is bad!"
Blaire Rowland – Hook
“I think if it is vintage, so killed a long time ago, than that is okay. But that there is no need for new furs to be made because killing animals is bad!”
Dawn Clements - Bishopstoke 'I wouldn't wear fur and I don't like the idea of modern furs being produced I think vintage fur is better although I still wouldn't wear it.'
Dawn Clements – Bishopstoke
‘I wouldn’t wear fur and I don’t like the idea of modern furs being produced I think vintage fur is better although I still wouldn’t wear it.’
Donna Bevan - Sherborne st john 'The ban on fur production in the UK has meant that it is now outsourced to other countries like China, where there is less regulation, at least if it were being produced in the UK we would have tighter regulations.'
Donna Bevan – Sherborne st john
‘The ban on fur production in the UK has meant that it is now outsourced to other countries like China, where there is less regulation, at least if it were being produced in the UK we would have tighter regulations.’















The general consensus seems to be that modern furs are far less desirable than vintage ones, modern faux furs can be of quite high quality so the demand for real fur is far less. We also do not live in a climate where fur is a necessity in the UK it is purely a fashion statement.

There are of course also legal issues involved as well as ethical ones, for example fur from endangered species can only be traded if it was made pre 1947. There are species of animal that are becoming endangered due to the production of furs such as the silver mosaic chinchilla.


It is with no doubt that fur & faux fur will remain desirable as it is a luxurious fabric that looks stylish, and works perfectly for creating a vintage look.


An Interview with: Leanna Bruce aka. Appleton Pin Up Girl

Leanna Bruce, Natalie Ross, Wiggle Dress, Pin Up
Leanna Bruce, David Wickham Photography for Natalie Ross Designs

Leanna Bruce is Appleton Pin Up Girl; a Burlesque Show Producer, Blogger and Journalist and has recently taken to Pin Up Girl Modeling – all in her ‘spare’ time. Having first been lured into the scene through the likes of Gypsy Rose Lee and Dita Von Tease, she continues to be inspired by Hollywood Glamour. Leanna’s knowledge and excitement for the scene made her really interesting to interview and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed quizzing her!

Here’s an insight into Leanna Bruce, the woman behind Appleton Productions. In this interview we chat about her role as a Burlesque Show Producer. Part 2 of the interview, looks at her foray into Pin Up Girl Modeling!

So how was it you first became interested in the scene?

Dita von Tease is probably the biggest thing for me because it was watching her and then learning about other performers, when I went and did my research, that kind of got me interested in the whole idea.

After researching who was it you were most impressed with?

I’ve always liked Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren and all the Hollywood Pin Ups. But also people like Catherine D’lish and Pearl Noire, which sort of leads you on to wanting to know about the greats from the past. Then you just start to build up your knowledge about the scene really.

Leanna Bruce, Verve Rockabilly Studios, Pin Up Girl
Leanna Bruce, Verve Rockabilly Studios
So that interest in Burlesque performance then led you on to creating shows in Basingstoke. Why not London where they are typically held?

I wanted to teach people what Burlesque is and encourage the scene to grow rather than saturate something in a small area that’s already doing really well. That’s the idea with the Blog too.

My local show is called Hundred Watt Club based in Aldershot, which is run by a lovely lady called Lena Mae, who is an amazing Burlesque performer. She’s actually in the show on Wednesday so you will get to see her doing two of her classic routines. The Hundred Watt Club has been a massive inspiration because I get to go up the road and see a show the same quality of London, without the hassle of a two hour round trip and fighting my way through London Underground.

Speaking of London venues, how do you feel about Madame Jojos closing?

It is a huge shame as it was a great stage where a lot of performers had started out with so much history. I think they will always be able to find new venues but finding one that is so regular that people just know? That’s what takes time.

Would you consider branching out to any other local venues?

I am always interested with working with other venues locally as I want to bring Burlesque to the whole of Basingstoke, but it’s nice to have an established place that’s slowly building up and The Tea Bar is the perfect venue for that vintage kind of feel. But there will be something I’ll be working on for the Haymarket next year.

Appleton Productions, Show Girls
Appleton Productions, Show Girls
Do you think that if you were to approach new venues there would be an issue with Burlesque, is there any stigma surrounding it?

I think so, even at my current one I think people don’t necessarily know about it. I do think that yeah, when you say it, you get links to strippers. I’ve been to a strip club and I’ve had a lap dance, they are very different things. It is art; it is like going to the theatre and making people realise that for me is one of the biggest things. What I’m trying to explain to people is that Burlesque might not be what you think it is.

Obviously you’ve done five shows this year, which is a big achievement, but the November show was cancelled. Do you think there is any reason for that in particular?

I had never been in that position before where a show hasn’t sold. It was a very last minute show so I think a lot of forward planning would have to happen for a future Saturday one.

It’s also letting people know that we are here. Every time I’ve done a show there have been people there who have never heard of Burlesque. Then there will be some people who I have seen at every show since the first one!

And are there any Performers you’ve got your eye on for your upcoming shows?

All of my cast from the last show that didn’t happen… I do want to see them at another show definitely. I took the time to choose them because I knew they’d bring a good show to The Tea Bar. I think I’ve worked with so many performers and seen so many shows that I would have lists and lists of people. Every week for the next year I could still probably come up with people who I know, let alone people who come through castings!

Finally, what can people expect from Wednesday’s show?

This show we’ve definitely gone for the traditional Christmas theme, but still with my classic Burlesque and Cabaret show. There will be some classic performances a bit of bump and grind, some singers and very alternative type performers, so it will be a nice mixture for people to keep them entertained and on their toes. It is definitely a Christmas show hosted in the most fun way.

Behind the scenes at an Appleton Productions Show
Behind the scenes at an Appleton Productions Show
Tickets are still available, and if you can’t make this Wednesday stay tuned via our Twitter or Facebook so we can let you know of the next date! Want to know more about Appleton Pin Up Girl? Visit her Blog here.

Appleton Productions, Tea Bar, Basingstoke, Burlesque Show