Infinitely customizable and ready to adopt all manner of fashions, the pinup girl is the perfect dress-up doll. From dancers wearing hula skirts and coconut shells to flirtatious geishas in low-cut kimonos, there seems to be no other type of tattoo symbol which can so easily jet around the globe and adopt any port of origin. Such is the case with our choice this issue, the Chicana with a sombrero. Although her lustrous skin, dark eyes, and dark hair could make her a native of many sunny regions, it is her accoutrements that make her Mexican American (Chicanas and Chicanos are Americans who trace their ancestry both to Hispanic and Native American cultures).
The most prominent and identifiable piece of clothing is her headgear, called a sombrero after the Spanish word for shade (sombra). With its typically wide brim and high crown, it was worn in Mexico and the Southwest by Mexican ranchers and cowboys, proving so useful that the frontiersmen of the United States eventually modified it into the cowboy hat. Our Chicana sports her own traditional sombrero but it is really her beauty of face and form that makes her a standout pinup. Her seductive pose combines with a facial expression that is neither shy nor a tease. Instead, the hallmark of the true pinup girl is quite the opposite – a direct, unpretentious, unashamed, and overtly flirtatious gaze. The long heritage of the pinup girl in tattooing and her continuing popularity are testament to the power of those visual cues. Distilled into her essence, she is fundamentally the personification of sex and sex appeal – with a good dose of South of the Border flavor in this case.