Linh England is currently in the running to win the Miss Viva Las Vegas Pin-Up Contest, part of a rockabilly celebration this April. Voting ended over the weekend, and now the Colorado native is waiting to hear the results.
England has been involved in the local pinup-model world for the last few years. In 2014, she and some of her friends put together a calendar to raise funds for a friend who had to have a kidney transplant. The effort was so much fun for everyone involved that England had the idea to go legit by establishing an official charity. The first week of January 2015, Pinups for Charity became an official entity. The organization is holding events to help families in need in Colorado.
If she becomes one of the finalists for the Miss Viva Las Vegas contest, she plans to represent the charity at the culminating event. It may seem like an unconventional way of advocating for a charity, but it's in line with what England does every day for her line of work.
"I do data and quality for the bone-marrow transplant team at University Hospital," reveals England. "I also open research studies and such. Lots of data and lots of analysis that I get to audit every day. So this is a fun hobby."
As a woman of Vietnamese descent, England is not the stereotypical pinup model. She came to the local pinup scene through a connection to rockabilly music and the many honky-tonk bands in Colorado. England became interested in swing dancing, and on Tuesday nights for a handful of years, she took swing lessons at the Mercury Cafe and then went to see rockabilly and honky-tonk bands at the Skylark Lounge. Groups like the Velvet Elvis and the Railbenders appealed to England's affinity for the music of the 1940s and 1950s that she listened to growing up. But she was also drawn to the culture of rockabilly beyond a sense of nostalgia.
"I think it goes back to the fashion -- how the clothes were meant to look good on a female body," says England. "Unlike now, where it looks good on a hanger and only fits certain body types. The clothing from the '40s and '50s fits the curvier ladies. I hate to use the word 'real,' because we're all real. It also goes back to the whole idea of empowerment and when women stepped into the workforce in the '40s during World War II, and now women are taking it back -- their sexuality and their confidence. They're saying they're going to own up to how they love themselves."
As one of a very few pinups of Asian extraction, England has connected with other Asian pinups and as someone who displays a confident and proud bearing and living self-sufficiently, She hopes to be the kind of role model for other Asian women that she never had growing up in her culture, where Asian women are often seen in movies and TV in an unrealistic light.
"We were either prostitutes or laundry ladies, you know?" quips England.
Astute in knowing that visibility is helpful in challenging prejudice and stereotypes, England hopes that her inclusion in the final round of the contest will help to break the mold of the blond bombshell that dominates in the contest. But it isn't just transforming the standard of what is beautiful that is at the core of England's efforts.
"It's more important for me to spread my charity message than it is to stand up there and look pretty," she concludes.
This year, Pinups for Charity will be raising money to help a young boy with autism and getting him a proper service dog.
So please vote for Delicious Ruckus at www.vivalasvegas.net/pin-upcontest and help a grassroots charitable effort gain some visibility beyond the Mile High City.
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If you'd like to contact me, Tom Murphy, on Twitter, my handle is @simianthinker.