Sabina Kelley recently had an interview with me on behalf of Pop Culture Spin. The internationally known pinup model has been featured on the cover of numerous magazines, a judge on Best Ink, and in the past was a Las Vegas showgirl. To anyone looking to follow an elegant model with an impressive and diverse body of work, Sabina is the ideal individual.
Pop Culture Spin: Sabina, thank you for spending some time with Pop Culture Spin. With you being a respected international pinup model, could you please start this interview off by explaining the main differences between pinup work versus other areas of modeling?
Sabina: PinUp modeling is a certain style of modeling. A PinUp model is based off of the 40’s and 50’s style, and they are really classy and sexy at the same time. PinUp models were what the guys fighting the war would Pin Up on their walls to boost their morale. Some big name PinUp models that I look up to are Bettie Page and Bunny Yeager. Being a PinUp model is about the retro hair, makeup, wardrobe, facial expressions, personality, and poses. You can’t just have a couple of these correct. You need to have all of them correct for you to call yourself a PinUp model or say you did a PinUp shoot.
PCS: I saw it mentioned online that you used to be a Las Vegas showgirl and have been a dancer since a young age. So I assume your passion for dancing came before your love of modeling?
Sabina: Yes, I have been dancing since I was two years old, and love it. I never wanted to be a model, that just kind of fell into my lap and I’m really good at it. I was a Las Vegas showgirl in “Jubilee” at Bally’s Hotel for two years and I also recently just guest headlined for a year in the Stratosphere Casino show, “PinUp”!
PCS: Beyond your versatility, you’re also known for your variety of tattoos. Has having ink ever presented any obstacles for you as a model, and if so, how were you able to overcome them?
Sabina: My tattoos have definitely presented obstacles for me as a model. I highly suggest if you want to be a model, don’t get tattoos. I had to bust my butt and prove myself in the modeling world to get photographers to give me a chance and work with me. Now a days all kinds of models have tattoos, but when I started I only knew one other girl who modeled and had tattoos.
PCS: Is having extensive tattoos still uncommon for models or is it becoming a growing trend?
Sabina: Depends what kind of modeling you are talking about. High fashion modeling it is completely uncommon for females to be heavily tattooed. Male models have been a lot more accepted in that world. In the alternative world, yes it is a growing trend to be heavily tattooed and it is accepted.
PCS: I’m a big fan of numerous tattoos shows, Ink Master and Best Ink especially. What’s your experience been like as a judge on Best Ink?
Sabina: Being on Best Ink was an amazing experience. I learned a lot about the TV world and that was a lot of fun for me. As far as being a judge on tattoos when I’m not a tattoo artist, that was really hard for me. Even though I am heavily tattooed, have owned tattoo shops, and do tattoo removal, it’s hard to tear a tattoo artist’s work apart when I am not a tattoo artist myself. I’m lucky I have a big name in the industry otherwise I would not of been as respected.
PCS: I interpret your photo shoots as having an interesting combination of sophistication and edginess. Is this or anything else in particular something you want audiences to take away from your work?
Sabina: Honestly I want people to feel like my images are highend, classy, and sexy. The direction I am headed in my work right now is high fashion with a retro PinUp twist.
PCS: You’ve been featured on a variety of magazine covers throughout your career. Can you speak to some of the behind the scenes aspects of what creates a successful photo shoot?
Sabina: There are so many things that create a successful photo shoot. The most important is that everyone on the shoot gets along and has the same picture and goal in their head of what the final image should look like. When I do big cover shoots, I like to make sure I have my full crew, my photographer, his or her assistant, hair stylist, makeup artist, and a wardrobe stylist. So, I have someone to make sure each and everything on the shoot is perfect!
PCS: Have you dealt with any backlashes for taking part in provocative projects or have people usually met your work with acceptance?
Sabina: I don’t get backlashes for my work. I have not shot anything that was not classy. The farthest I shoot is implied nude, so you can’t find an image of me anywhere where you can see anything that would hurt my career. I have seen girls that have been in the industry for years shoot stuff when they were younger that they regret now, and is affecting jobs they want now. I am super thankful I never crossed that line.
PCS: Anyone who follows you on social media can see the importance you place on your family. Has balancing a family life with a busy career been overly hectic or are you able to manage?
Sabina: My family is everything to me, and comes first over my career. If I never modeled again, I wouldn’t care. My family keeps me balanced and down to earth. Balancing my career and a family is really hard, but I seem to do a pretty good job at it for the most part.
PCS: Thank you again for doing this Q&A with me on Pop Culture Spin’s behalf. To close our back and forth out, where can fans follow you and is there anything special they can expect to see from you in the future?
Sabina: Thanks for doing the Q&A with me. My fans can always follow me here:
I have a lot of things in the works right now. My main focus is Sabina Kelley merchandise. I have just released some t-shirts and a new poster on the goodies page of my website, but will be coming out with all kinds of new stuff in the next few months. I am also working on my first book, to be released by Christmas! :)