The Notorious Janette Valentine
The local photographer talks hair metal karaoke and what makes a hot pinup girl (hint: not by singing "18 and Life.").
By Aurora Rodríguez
Every girl needs a hobby. It just turns out that mine helps me blow off steam via MAC Russian Red lip color, lots of gooey gloss and the swift twirl of a curling iron. Not necessarily every day stuff, but definitely one that's "so Miami" and fits right into a city where it's not odd for everyday people to wear many hats. Or -- in my case -- flower brooches and feather boas.
For local pinup photographer Janette Valentine, it's her passion to help ladies like me channel their inner seductress. "I think my surroundings, movies and music inspire my work," said the Cuban_Irish beauty. "A lot of what I shoot is very bright, colorful and intentional. I think the sunny weather and bright blue sky inspires a certain playfulness in my photos."
I took some time to chat with "Miss Terribly Girly" herself about the best places Miami has to offer and what a girl can do to channel her inner seductress in front of the cameras.
Does Miami and your Latino background influence your work?
My background absolutely influences my work in the sense that I enjoy photographing women who may not typically be considered the standard beauty norm. Many of the women I photograph are not professional models and are all diverse. I can appreciate the beauty of a thin girl as much as I can a bigger girl, mainly because I was raised on the notion that a woman should have curves and celebrate them.
What makes for an awesome pinup girl?
I think confidence, a good attitude and a healthy sense of humor. Any girl can channel her inner pinup girl. To really help girls become the part, I work with a talented team of hairstyling and makeup experts to begin the transformation. Helping girls choose the right wardrobe and concept for the shoot helps girls step into the fantasy and really embrace their femininity and sexiness, which then translates into a great photo.
What inspires you to create the perfect image?
Every girl brings something new and different to the table. I like shooting intuitively and will plan for the shoot, but always leave room to go with the flow. Once I start getting to know the girls' personalities and their comfort level, we can begin to create images that are reflective of them, and this can make for the perfect image.
Who's your favorite pinup from back in the day?
I can't pick just one! I love the glamour of Marilyn Monroe, the sexy quirkiness of Bettie Page, the outstanding curves of Jane Russell and the grace and beauty of actress Hedy Lamarr.
When you're not working, where's your favorite place to grab a beer in Miami?
My favorite off-the-beaten path place is this bar in Homestead called The Roadrunner (literally off a dirt road). It's a great place for a beer, and on a good night you can get a stellar karaoke performance by one of the regulars, "Linda," belting out her best Steve Perry interpretation.
Favorite place to shop?
Since I do most of my shopping online, I'd say the place I drop the most cash in is Worldwide Foto. That's where I usually rent/buy photo equipment and other miscellaneous things I need for work.
Favorite Miami restaurant?
If I'm having a pastelitos and café con leche kind of craving, La Carretta on La Calle Ocho. I do, however, love Indian cuisine, and on days when I'm craving it I like to head out for lunch at Taste of Bombay in Downtown Miami.
Favorite South Florida watering hole?
The Seven Seas Restaurant and Lounge. One side is a seafood restaurant and the other side is a smoky bar with a jukebox and pool tables. My favorite time to go is on Saturday nights when Ivonne, my favorite karaoke DJ, cranks all the hair metal requests.
Any favorite quiet bars or lounges you like to hit up to relax?
My favorite quiet place is Fox's Lounge in South Miami. I love to go there on quiet nights because the mood is set with dim, warm lighting and nothing beats Frank Sinatra coming on the jukebox while being served by my favorite waiter, Nelson.
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