Hilda: The Controversial American Pinup Girl No One’s Ever Heard Of

by Laura Caseley
Laura is a writer, illustrator, and artist living in New York City.

Looking at the so-called “ideal” female form day in and day out can be a little exhausting for a lot of women.

Whether it’s in magazines, on TV, or on huge billboards over the highway, constantly being told what you’re “supposed” to look like can really do a number on your confidence and self-esteem.

And it wasn’t much better in the past — if anything, it’s probably gotten better! Today, all kinds of women are learning to love and celebrate their bodies, no matter what society says is and isn’t “beautiful,” like the woman who shows how it’s not about how you look, it’s about how you feel.

In the past, it was the the classic pinup girls who upheld the beauty standards for women: thin, tall, and long-legged.

But amid all these slender beauties, there was someone else. You’ve probably never seen or heard of her, sadly, but she was there to prove that no matter your size, anyone can be seriously sexy.

Her name was Hilda, and she was the creation of artist Duane Bryers. This full-figured pinup appeared in calendars from the 1950s through the 1980s, and was fairly popular. But for some reason, she’s been lost to history.

But luckily, she’s been found again. Check her out (in more ways than one) below!

(h/t: MessyNessyChic)

In the middle of the 20th century, pinups like this one were more common, and featured tall, thin women in artfully suggestive poses.

But, luckily, there was a pinup who represented more fuller-figured ladies.

Meet Hilda. The creation of artist Duane Bryers, she debuted in the 1950s on pinup calendars.

Hilda was an alternative to the slender calendar girls we imagine when we think of pinups. She was also a lot of fun.

Hilda was painted in many of the same campy scenarios as her thinner counterparts, but she was also somehow livelier.

She seemed like someone with a great sense of humor.

She seemed like a real living person — fun, energetic, and adventurous.

But there was still no question that she was a sexy, desirable woman.

She was also not usually drawn in the “classic” pinup poses, many of which seem uncomfortable and staged.

Instead, Hilda was drawn relaxed and natural, even sometimes slightly awkward.

But it makes her even more likable.

In fact in some images, like this one, Bryers was clearly influenced by old master paintings, like those by Peter Paul Rubens, which also featured plump, pretty women as their stars.

She was also pretty inventive.

She’s shown with an adventurous, outdoorsy streak, hanging out with animals and climbing trees.

She seems like the kind of girl who’s not afraid to get in a little trouble for the sake of an adventure — she seems like someone you really want to hang out with!

And whether it’s a daisy chain or a recycled flour sack, she’s also pretty inventive when it comes to bikinis.

But not all the time!

Then again, Hilda was aware that sometimes, the world isn’t particularly kind to bigger ladies.

But she never let that stop her.

So what happened to Hilda? Well, she seemed to fade from memory for a while.

It could be because of her figure, or it could owe to a quirk of Bryers’ style.

He wasn’t the best at continuity, so Hilda’s face and figure would change from time to time — and immediate recognition is key to a successful character.

Whatever the reason, we’re just glad she’s back. Let’s hear it for Hilda!

You can see more awesome images of Hilda on the Facebook page dedicated to her.

And if you think everyone should know about this full-figured, adventurous, intelligent pinup girl, please SHARE Hilda on Facebook!