Between her running from photo shoot to photo shoot, launching her new hair flower retro accessory line "Hair Affair by Kelvis", planning her wedding, and her exclusive Retro Lovely Magazine model edition, she has little time but squeezed us in for an interview and we couldn’t be happier. Learn more about this Western New York native and you’re sure to fall in love with her just like we did!
Let’s start at the beginning…What made you start modeling Kelvis? What do you like the most about it? The least?
People have always said to me, "You should model."... but I never considered it, because I'm a size 10 on a good day. I'm not sure what exactly "MADE" me start modeling. A woman approached me in a local bar and asked me to be "Miss October" for a biker magazine. I was so excited, seeing as though I ride and I was going to pose on a pretty cool chopper, I said “yes.” I met the photographer who was shooting me, named Melissa who owns Lovely Day Photos and a few months later I asked her to take pictures of me for my boyfriend. The pictures were so good I started thinking... why not model??? So a few months after that, we decided I should shoot on my boyfriend's old cars and those pictures came out great and so on and so forth. Eventually I started slowly building a portfolio and the rest is history!
Kelvis says laughing, “I love everything about modeling.” I love old bizarre books and flipping though pages looking at the posing. I love the history of it I guess. I love clothing.... really like to put outfits together. I love seeing yourself in a way you never thought you'd look. I love meeting new people and the traveling is great. I’ve met so many nice girls and photographers. The money is tough though… saving money for clothing, shoes, traveling, hair, makeup and the photographer.... it gets to be to much... taking time off of work can be hard as well. Marketing myself takes up a lot of my "free time" especially being on the computer trying to network myself. I love the makeup and I hate it. It looks amazing, but sometimes I just want to rip it off my face... I'll pay so much to have someone do my makeup and hair and take it off as soon as the shoots over.....or I'll wear it all night. Also, you are under the "spotlight" a lot... which leaves much room for critics both good and bad. That is why you have your photos online I suppose... for people to see, but sometimes, people are a**holes... but that’s life. I try to keep the negative comments out of my mind and keep my head up. If I'm not getting negative feedback here and there, I'm doing something wrong.
Where does the name "Kelvis" come from?
Simple, Mike (my fiancé) and I were trying to think of a name for me for the Suicide Girls group. So Mike says "Felanie", I said part laughing and part serious, “No way. I'm no angel, but I'm no where near a felon!” So we sat and thought for a few moments and Mike suggested the genius idea, "Kelvis", because I have a strong love for Mr. Presley and Elvis plus Kelly (my real name) = KELVIS!!!!! Needless to say, I decided not to do Suicide Girls. I wanted to do my own thing.
You are very supportive of other models, do you have any advice for aspiring pinup models?
We are all trying to do the same thing in the end. Whether it’s to be in a magazine or just take beautiful photos to look back at when we are old and crusty, you have to support the other girls. No one needs negativity. Feed off positive vibes by supporting each other!
To start modeling, I would go to a local photographer. My friend Kristy owner of Scarlet Noir Photographic is amazing. She is out of Buffalo, NY and her prices are so reasonable!! I shoot with her a lot and have gotten some of my best work from her. If you have money to travel Va Va Voom Photos from Florida is one of my favorites! I also have many awesome photos from her. After you have yourself a decent amount of photos, make a "Model Mayhem" profile. That's how Retro Lovely Magazine found me! Pinupliifestyle.com is great as well. Use facebook to its fullest and take advantage of the free advertising.
Besides the old chin up/down, suck in, pop your boobs and butt out, over exaggerate every move, smile and point your toes. Have fun with it. Never take modeling too seriously. Competition is fierce in the pin up world. So many gorgeous girls are modeling now. It’s tough to stand out. Don't ever lose yourself in modeling. Be yourself...all day everyday…no matter what it is you do! Don't ever forget where you came from and who helped you get there. Make sure your bills are paid, your children and man are fed.... and then model. Don't quit your day job. You'll find you put so much money into this hoping for the best. It's a total investment for ASPIRING pin up models. You'll actually need a second job to support your modeling! Unless you're a trust fund baby... then you're lucky.
What is Kelvis the most proud of in her pinup career (so far)?
By far, my own "Kelvis" model edition of Retro Lovely Magazine, as well as my billboard for "Old Sled Works", an antique dealer in Duncannon, PA. I highly suggest you go there, especially if you love antiques! I won a contest Retro Lovely and Old Sled Works did together awhile back, and part of the prize was to be their billboard model! Many people are in magazines... but who has their own billboard??!!!
What does Kelvis have planned for the future?
I'm working with Retro Lovely Magazine on getting my model edition together right now. It’s very exciting. Scarlet Noir Photographic and I have been doing themed shoots for girls who want pinup shots taken just for fun or to build portfolios. We just recently did a Halloween themed shoot and now are doing a Christmas shoot called "Dirty Santa" on December 3. It’s fun to help the girls with outfit choices, help with posing and watch them transfer from your average Jill into this sexy pinup! Something comes out of these girls when they shoot, and we aren't sure how we do it or why it happens, but when we see their pictures it’s an immediate "WOW"! It’s so much fun to share something I love so much with others. Hearing the girls reactions when they get their photographs is so satisfying for us. They’ll ask, "That's me?" and it makes me feel good that they leave with such a positive experience.
Why did you start Hair Affair by Kelvis? What makes Hair Affair flowers different from the ones already out there?
I started making hair flowers for my friend's local band "The Blue Ribbon Bastards" as a little volunteer work. My girlfriends and I decided the boys needed a female selection in their sale items. We thought hair flowers with the BRB logo in the middle was perfect! They became hot sellers. That's how I learned to make them. Then I decided I wanted to make my own. My first ones were terrible, but practice makes perfect. Now I have it down to a science. I like making flowers that you wouldn't think of putting in your hair, like spiders, fingers, owls. I just recently made Halloween ones with eyeballs in the middle! I like making custom order ones as well. It’s fun to "design" a hair flower for a bridal party, burlesque troop or even my friend’s daughters! Nice to see people enjoying my work! Making the flowers is just something to take my mind off of work since I'm so busy all the time. My wind-down time at night.
What’s it like to team up with Cats Like Us?
Julie Ann and Andrew have been really supportive of me from day one. I truly appreciate that…having me come in for my first "signing" and let me sell my magazines, photographs and hair flowers, even asking me to be interviewed for your blog right now. As well as, giving me a chance to sell my hair flowers in your store too kind. CLU is a very "support the people", as in the local businesses, models and bands. I dig that! I also looooooove your clothing selection. I get many of my outfits from you...... and I get to wear them for my photo shoots as well. It’s such a unique selection. It's like online shopping but in REAL LIFE! Well.... since I live in Buffalo, NY I'm lucky and can come into the store.
Julie Ann’s famous line "We only sell cute clothes!" I agree.
I’d like to give a HUGE thank you to Kelvis for taking the time to answer these questions and also congratulate her on her wedding to Mike T. Cats Like Us wishes you two the best of everything!
To follow the adventures and photos of Kelvis or get a copy of her Retro Lovely model edition, check out her facebook page https://www.facebook.com/KelvisPinUp . To see her creative flowers https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hair-Affair-by-Kelvis/100338756736687