Back in the 1950s, pin-up models were indeed incredibly popular, beyond comparison with the bloggers and influencers of today’s age. They were featured in magazines, posters, and even on playing cards, and they often served as a source of inspiration for artists and photographers. Their influence was significant, and they were considered to be iconic figures of beauty and style during that era.
Undoubtedly, if social media had been prevalent during their time, these pin-up models could have effortlessly assumed the role of premier Instagram influencers.
To learn about these icon pin-up models and get to know their lives, stay with us until the end of this article.
10 Famous Pin-Up Models in The 1950s
To know the famous pin-up models of the 50s, take a look at our list.
1. Betty Grable
The most iconic pin-up model during World War II in the 1950s was Betty Grable. The famous image of her looking over her shoulder, standing in a white swimsuit and heels, was plastered all over by American soldiers and seen as a symbol of hope.
The image primarily highlights her famous ‘million-dollar legs’ since it’s said that she insured her legs for a million dollars. Betty Grable was an American actress, dancer, model, and singer. She made 42 movies in the 1930s and 1940s, earning over $100 million.
For 10 years in a row, she was one of the top 10 box office stars, according to the Quigley Poll. She has starred with actors, including queen Marilyn Monroe, in the movie How to Marry a Millionaire.
2. Marilyn Monroe
The next one on our list does not even need an introduction. The American pin-up model and actress is still one of the most recognizable faces today.
She was famous for playing funny and attractive characters, becoming one of the most popular symbols of beauty in the 1950s and early 1960s. She also represented the changing attitudes about sex during that time.
You’ve likely seen this pin-up model in a video singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to President Kennedy, who was also her boyfriend at the time. Their relationship caused quite a buzz back then. However, her tragic early death prevented her from being a part of today’s era.
There’s a fun fact about Merilyn, she was chosen as a new blonde bombshell to replace Betty Grable, who was getting older, and they wanted to keep attracting people to the movies.
You probably want to know more about the iconic pin-up model. Therefore, there has been a movie released in 2023 named Blonde, showcasing her life and played by Ana de Armas, one of the hottest female celebrities in today’s era.
3. Brigitte Bardot
Brigitte Bardot, known as B.B., is a French animal rights activist. Before that, she was an actress, singer, and pin-up model. She became famous for playing bold characters with carefree lifestyles, making her one of the most well-known symbols of beauty from the 1950s to the 1970s.
All the bikini models on Instagram today owe this to her, as she made the bikini famous in the 1950s and is known for her easygoing French style.
4. Ava Gardner
Want to know another icon pin-up model? Ava Gardner was an American actress. She started with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1941 and had smaller roles at first. However, in 1946, her performance in the film ‘The Killers’ caught the critics’ attention.
She was nominated for a top movie award for her acting in ‘Mogambo’ in 1953 and also for ‘The Night of the Iguana’ in 1964. She was part of Hollywood’s Golden Age.
5. Jayne Mansfield
Check out another bombshell of a pin-up model from the 1950s, Jayne Mansfield. She was an American actress, singer, nightclub entertainer, and Playboy Playmate. A sex symbol in the 1950s and early 1960s, Mansfield was famous for her publicity stunts and well-documented personal life.
In 1967, Jayne Mansfield died in a car crash near Biloxi, Mississippi, along with her attorney and driver. Sadly, that was the tragic ending of this iconic pin-up model.
6. Anita Ekberg
Looking for a classic pin-up model? Kerstin Anita Marianne Ekberg was a Swedish actress known for her beauty and curvy figure. She became famous for her role as Sylvia in Federico Fellini’s movie La Dolce Vita. She mainly worked in Italy and became a resident there in 1964.
When we describe her as an iconic pin-up model figure, we genuinely mean it. There was a time in her life when she gained weight, but she embraced it without shame. To her, it signified personal growth, not merely increased body fat. Unfortunately, such an attitude is often considered unacceptable in today’s society, accompanied by unnecessary shame.
7. Sophia Loren
Do you want to know about one of the most beautiful pin-up models of the 1950s? Meet Sofia Costanza Brigida Villani Scicolone, also known as Sophia Loren, is an Italian actress. The American Film Institute recognized her as one of the greatest stars of classical Hollywood cinema. She is one of the last big stars from that time still alive.
Sofia believes that’ Sex appeal is fifty percent what you’ve got and fifty percent what people think you’ve got’.
8. Bettie Page
Bettie Mae Page was an American model famous for her pin-up photos in the 1950s. Known as the ‘Queen of Pinups,’ her black hair, blue eyes, and bangs have inspired artists for a long time. Many believe that she is indeed the queen of pin-ups.
9. Yvonne De Carlo
Yvonne De Carlo, whose real name is Margaret Yvonne Middleton, was a famous actress, dancer, and singer from Canada and America. She became a big movie star in the 1940s and 1950s, made music, and later appeared on TV and stage.
10. Kim Novak
Meet another icon who has been married twice in her life up to now. Marilyn Pauline ‘Kim’ Novak is an American retired film and television actress and painter. Her contributions to cinema have been honored with two Golden Globe Awards, an Honorary Golden Bear, and a Hollywood Walk of Fame star.
Looking back, you’ll likely see that pin-up models impacted art, culture, and especially fashion. They go beyond looks, shaping a more inclusive idea of beauty and feminine identity.
Monroe’s pinup pics were super famous back then, and she’s still a top symbol of the pinup look. But if we had to pick one, it would be Bettie Page. She rocked the pinup style and is credited for making it popular in the 1950s.
The pin-up style originated when the hourglass figure was considered the epitome of beauty. It doesn’t exclude other body shapes, but highlights accentuated hips as a key feature. High waists are the go-to look in jeans, capris, or pencil skirts.