Word of the day
Zaftig /zäftig/ adjective: (of a woman) Having a full, rounded figure; plump.
Meet Hilda, the creation of illustrator Duane Bryers and pin-up art’s best kept secret. Voluptuous in all the right places, a little clumsy but not at all shy about her figure, Hilda was one of the only atypical plus-sized pin-up queens to grace the pages of American calendars from the 1950s up until the early 1980s, and achieved moderate notoriety in the 1960s.
“She’s a creation out of my head. I had various models over the years, but some of my best Hilda paintings I’ve ever done were done without a model,” veteran artist Duane told the online pin-up gallery Les Toil.
Despite being one of history’s longest running calendar queens alongside the likes of Marilyn Monroe, even the most dedicated vintage enthusiasts probably won’t have come across Hilda before.
“[Duane Bryers] had the chops to have been one of the greatest pin-up artists in America, but possibly his lust for ample-sized women prevented that,” admits the online gallery curator and Hilda collector, Les Toil.
That isn’t to say Hilda wasn’t capable of “inspiring strong sexual sensations in any red blooded woman-lover” (and still is).
Another reason why our Hilda may not have not have enjoyed as much success is due to the fact that her face and body would often look different from calendar to calendar. “Unfortunately Mr. Bryers’ continuity skills weren’t perfect (which he admitted),” notes Les.
Of the moment he first discovered the lost Hilda watercolour illustrations, Les recalls:
Quite a few summers back while perusing a local outdoors antique show, I came across a vintage calendar from 1965. As my eyes settled on this fine piece of lost Americana, all else slipped away … A light from the heavens shone directly on Hilda’s sweet, rosy face, fiery red mop top and that incredible abundant anatomy. Hilda is the only known ample sized icon in pin-up history that I have come upon. And yes, she very well does qualify as an icon.
So let’s hang out with Hilda and appreciate her sexy round bottom for a moment …
She also likes to do a lot of the same sort of stuff as you and I…