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My 1950’s Pinup Photos Changed How I Feel About Aging

Shannon Bradley-Colleary challenges your (and her own) ideas about what’s old with pin up girl pictures she had made to celebrate turning fifty.

I’m creeping up on 50. It used to be that 50 was the time we transformed into the Crypt Keeper. Now, it simply seems like the beginning of an exciting new chapter.

Last week, in celebration of my mid-life marker, I got to be a Bombshell. I’ve always wanted to be a Bombshell and am grateful to chocolate and french bread for making it all possible.


Like a lot of women, I always have my eye on what I consider to be my five extra pounds.

I live in Los Angeles, which may explain how I hound those five pounds when they would really like to help fill me out. They keep throwing up their hands and yelling, “Just move to freakin’ Kansas already, because we could use some extra company.”

Stinking L.A., man. It’ll mess with your curves.

I’m currently working on a project called Love Your Body Now: Healing Body Image Issues Through Fine Art Nudes.

In a doctor-heal-thyself moment I flew to Boulder, Colorado to meet with my project partner, photographer Beth Sanders, so she could make me as beautiful as humanly possible, then photograph me for time and all eternity as a 1950s pin-up girl.

I didn’t know if I could pull it off, but once you’re creeping up on 50 you just say, “If not now? When?” You also begin to quote Risky Business: “What the f*ck! Because ‘What the F*ck’ brings freedom. Freedom brings opportunity, opportunity makes your future!”

Beth sent me off to a makeup artist who spackled and painted and glued my face until I looked better than I ever knew I could.

Then it was off to Beth’s studio in a barn on a sprawling farm where weddings and such-like events occur where I squeezed into my vintage-inspired swimsuits and midlife-crisis red stilettos and struck a pose or two.


I’m thrilled with the results.

Being me, I see some flaws, but I also see a lush, laughing, lovely woman enjoying life. And a big part of my big smiles came from posing for a lean, laughing, lovely woman who looked through her approving lens at me and only saw Beauty.

Ladies and gents of midlife, what do you do to celebrate your age? Also, if you’d like to keep up with my age-flouting shenanigans sign up for my free updates by CLICKING HERE.

Shannon Bradley-Colleary

Shannon Bradley-Colleary blogs at The Woman Formerly Known As Beautiful. She's also a contributing blogger on The Huffington Post. Her posts have landed her on The Today Show, NPR, CNN, Raising America with Kyra Phillips, Fox11News and more. She's been published in The DailyMail Online, Babble, Blogher and MomsLA. Her book, Into The Child: 40 Weeks in the Gestational Wilderness was named one of the Top 100 Indie Books of 2012 by the Kirkus Review. Her book, Smash, Crash and Burn: Tales From The Edge Of Celebrity, details her life as an L.A. Wacktress (waiter/actress) in the early 90s; including her relationship with Brandon Bruce Lee and a her tête-à-tête with David Schwimmer. She kisses and tells. Shannon is thrilled to be a monthly columnist on Midlife Boulevard.

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Thursday 2nd of October 2014

Great post. I will be going through some of these issues as well..


Tuesday 17th of June 2014

The black & white stripes with the red heels are AMAZING! This post is most inspiring for any age. :)

Anne Parris

Monday 16th of June 2014

Hubba hubba! You look great! I love the whole vintage look from the shoes to the suit. It really suits you!


Monday 16th of June 2014

Absolutely stunning! I know we all see our own flaws, but honestly, I don't see them here :) My hubby would love it if I would do something like this - maybe I will get brave enough!

Andrea B (@goodgirlgonered)

Monday 16th of June 2014

You are gorgeous!! I love these pictures and how BRAVE you were to take them and share them. :)

Shannon Bradley-Colleary

Monday 16th of June 2014

Andrea thanks so much!! It was so much fun and an extravagant gift to myself. I think every few years we ladies need some glamor shots, right up until we go out with a bang!

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