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The Rita Sue Team: Featuring Miss Pin-up NZ 2016, Fran Henricksen Posted on 12 Jul 13:10 , 0 comments

Introducing: Miss Pin-up NZ 2016, Fran Henricksen (aka Fran Robertson - Decorator of People and Things)

Miss Pin-up NZ 2016, Fran, is one of the most hard-working women I have met. She is originally from Dunedin, and now lives in Auckland, but she spends much of her time commuting around the country working the Pamper Parlour doing Hair and Make-up at a variety of events. Recently, she has set up a new company “The Beauty School Dropouts” with Monique Mclennan, and we look forward to new projects with them both in the future. She is also an inspiring photographer and can sing like a star. We were overjoyed that Fran was the winner of Miss Pin-up NZ this year! Her colourful and quirky sense of fun, and flair in the creation of her outfits brilliantly showcased her creative design skills, and she has talent to boot. Fran is an inspiration to many in the Pin-up scene and you can read more about her on her own blog, and check out her Instagram @frantasy_island

Measurements: 58” – 38” – 60”
Eye colour : Green or Brown - depends on my hair colour at the time!
Favourite Lip Colour : Deep Reds – MAC ‘Diva’, Jeffree Star ‘Unicorn Blood’, and L.A.Girl ‘Secret’ are my top three right now!

What does being a pin-up mean to you?

I think the term ‘Pin-Up’ has changed a lot recently, in a colloquial sense, but it’s never really been a term that resonated with me! I dress in the clothes that I love, in styles that suit me, but I’ve never considered myself to be a ‘pin-up’, per say - it’s only been in the last year that I’ve begun to feel comfortable using the term to describe myself!
With that in mind though, our community is what keeps me hanging around – I would never let the way I dress dictate my social group, but there are so many amazing like-minded creatives within the pin-up community that I love having the opportunity to interact with, and I know that I wouldn’t necessarily have met them if it weren’t for our shared interest in pin-up and vintage.

Fran doing hair & makeup for the Glory Days team at The Very Vintage Day Out!

How did you first enter the pin-up scene?

I’ve been a collector of mid-century homewares and furniture since I first moved out of home - and I began collecting vintage and vintage-inspired clothing long before that – but it wasn’t until 2015 that I started actually meeting other people from within the NZ pin-up scene! Claire from Glory Days invited me to come and work at the Pamper Parlour for VVDO, and that was a huge eye opener for me – I’d never seen so many people who loved fashion in the same way that I did, and it was amazing! After that I knew I’d found my people, and I haven’t looked back!

Fran & Rose Jackson at the Glory Days Stall!

Who are the international and local pin-up models who inspired you and how?

My inspirations in the wider pin-up world are always the people doing really cool stuff, and turning their passions into their jobs without compromising on their personalities - Cherry Dollface, Xanthia Pink, and Rockabilly Ruby, for example, who are all really talented boss-ladies, and are absolutely kicking ass.
Closer to home, my pinup girl-gang are always inspiring me to try new things, and encouraging me in everything that I do. I’m lucky to have such a fabulous and supportive group of friends that back me all the way!

You are known for your awesome hair colours… how do you colour and style it?

Thanks! I have a background in Hairdressing, and I’ve been colouring my own hair for well over a decade, but there were definitely a few spectacular fails when I started out! With time and experience I’ve figured out what works for my hair and what doesn’t, so I’ve got a pretty good system now. I know how much my hair can take, and what products work best for me (for example, I use a number of different products to get the colours I like, but as a general rule Manic Panic do the best Blues and Reds, and La Riche Directions do the best Pinks and Yellows) and I take care not to over-bleach my hair, and not to wash it too often – this helps both with styling, and also with colour maintenance.
I look after my hair well – I don’t use heat styling, I use a treatment once a week, and I’m super careful when I brush out my backcombing - but at the end of the day, it’s just hair. It’ll grow back if anything terrible happens, so I’m pretty open to experimenting! 

What piece of advice would you give to young aspiring pin-up models?

Have fun putting your outfits together, and only wear things you love! There are no hard-and-fast rules about being a pin-up – If you want to wear Chuck Taylors’ with your swing skirts, do it; If you’re really into graphic tees, wear them; If you don’t like soft florals, don’t buy them! You can be interested in and inspired by ‘pin-up’ without having to live and breathe it, so take the bits that work for you, and don’t do it if you don’t enjoy it…because what would be the point?  

How do you think other people see you? And how would you describe yourself?

I’m a self-confessed weird kid, who has somehow grown into an even weirder adult, but I’d like to think that I portray a pretty honest version of myself – I try and be as authentically ‘me’ in public as I am at home with my family, so I hope that people see me that way! I’m friendly and approachable, and always happy to help people where I can, but I’m also pretty stubborn and I don’t take shit from anyone, nor do I let anyone mistreat the people I care about.

If you could meet an idol, (currently alive or not) who would it be and what would you ask them?

I’ve never really had idols, as I don’t believe in putting people on a pedestal – how can you relate to someone if you place a higher value on them than you do on yourself and the people you love? – but I’d definitely love to meet Betty Friedan, who wrote ‘The Feminine Mystique’ in 1963, and was credited with starting the second-wave feminism movement. It would be amazing to have the opportunity just to speak to someone so instrumental in the fight for equality and women’s rights.
Who (family/friends) have been the strongest influence on your life growing up?
My strongest influence is definitely my Mama. She’s the best kind of weird, an absolute delight to be around, and is the cutest most adorable little lady in the world, but she knows how to fight for what matters and she can always find a positive. If I grow up to be half the person she is, I’ll consider that a success.
She taught me some of the most important life lessons that I have ever received. My siblings and I were brought up to value ourselves and our ideas, taught that respect needs to be earned, and we were never expected to do things without an explanation. “Because I’m in charge” was never a reason to follow instructions - there was always a discussion about the pros and cons, and we were allowed to make our own decisions based on the information provided, which taught us to evaluate situations and think for ourselves. I imagine this probably annoyed a few teachers, considering I never really prioritised homework, or wearing uniform, or turning up to detentions, but it was a valuable lesson in cause and effect, and taking responsibility for my own actions!

You are so multi-talented, what made you choose to focus on Vintage Hair & Make up?

For the most part, I love the glamour that comes from vintage styling! I still do a lot of ‘normal’ hair and makeup, but glamorous up-dos and bridal looks encompass a huge amount of vintage styling anyway – french rolls, chignons, loose beehives, and braid crowns are all super popular looks for weddings and events right now, but they all have roots in vintage styling! And while there are certain elements to makeup that are seen more predominately in some eras rather than others, as a whole, a makeup look is always tailored to the face it’s going on. It’s just a coincidence that 20s, 50s and 60s makeup trends are not only my favourites, but are also the most universally flattering - which is why they are the basis for most modern looks too!

You have had some huge challenges to overcome with your injuries from your accident and yet you remain mainly positive. What advice would you give others struggling through adversity?

It’s ok to have bad days. Fighting off bad days is what wears you down, and it’s really had to stay positive when you’re feeling shitty. Also, remember that while there will be people out there that have things worse, that doesn’t make what you’re going through any less significant. I try so hard to maintain a positive outlook, and accept the things I can’t change with grace and dignity, but I’m not afraid to just be angry sometimes, and work through things in a healthy way rather than holding onto them and letting them fester. Otherwise I’ll just become bitter, and I’m not willing to let that happen because bitter people are boring and I’m not ready to be boring yet!

What are the three most important things in your life right now?

1. My family, who are always the top of the list. Things have changed a lot in the 7 years since I moved, and I don’t get to see them as much as I’d like, but they’re always there when it matters and I love them more than anything in the world.

2. My husband Tony, who is selfless, and never wants credit for doing amazing things. Before we started dating I asked to bunk in with him on a camp, so he secretly went and bought a brand new tent so he wouldn’t have to turn me away, and didn’t say a word about it. I only found out when a friend accidentally mentioned it, 6 months into our relationship.

3. My career. I love what I do, and I’m going to keep doing it until I’m not physically able to anymore…and even then I know I’ll fight! I get so much joy from making people feel amazing, and it’ll be a cold day in hell before I let anything get in the way of that.

Fran looking cute with her husband Tony

What are your goals moving forward?

Once I finish my degree I’ll start making some goals!
Honestly though, I’m in a really good place. I have big plans for the future of my business, and also for The Beauty School Dropouts, and also I hope to start making my own cosmetics in the new year, but for now I’m really just focusing on getting my last semester out of the way so I can cross that off my list!
In the grand scheme of things, I just want to keep doing the things that I love, surrounding myself with new and interesting people every day, and trying to bring a little sunshine to some pretty bleak days.

Check out Fran Robertson's blog at!