When little girls dream of what they want to be, they dream big. Mimi was influenced early in her life by past generations of radio, TV, movies & music. She was drawn to Marilyn Monroe, Buddy Holly, Frank Sinatra, Etta James, Bettie Page & others from the 1950’s to 1960”s era. It all began at an early age. To find an individual of her generation not highly influenced by Power Rangers, video games, Ninja Turtles & pop rocks of the 1980’s & 1990’s is very unusual. She was different in so many ways.
Mimi was raised in central Iowa & attended college in Cedar Falls, Iowa at UNI. She chose to be a teacher as her career and student taught in Mason City, Iowa. She has taught high school English & drama for the past seven years in Iowa & Minnesota. Big city lights & a job offer took her North to the Twin Cities of Minnesota. Wanting to be a pin up model was always inside of her, but she never pursued that engrained feeling until moving to the big city. After competing in her very first pin up contest, she wanted to live that pin up lifestyle. She found a very vibrant pin up scene in the Twin Cities and has brought her love of it back to Iowa where she currently resides. It is not just a weekend costume, but a lifestyle, 24/7. She even wears her full skirts with crinolines to school as an English teacher.
She states: It allows me to be appropriate as a teacher, but expresses my individuality & style. It allows me to be a role model of class & humility. Classic pin up involves more than clothes. What I wear is a lot more than most girls wear to Prom these days. Pin up has no “normal” body type & promotes confidence at any size or shape. Pin up is about more than looks. It’s about being nice & kind to other people. It is about being supportive of other women & appreciating the men in our lives. It is about being empowered & breaking through stereotypes. If you ask me, these are the traits that are needed to be a role model. I am very picky about who & what I associate with. Class is what the classic pin up style embodies. Just because I am a teacher does not mean that I cannot be glamorous.
GSTA Car Show Mimi with her Katfish Kittens Pin Up group booth
Mimi is also dedicated to a number of causes & charities. She is an advocate of the Helping Hannah’s Heart Foundation. This is a charity that John & Kim Wells created to help children with congenital heart defects. John & Kim put on the now famous traditional hot rod shows Vintage Torque Fest, Iron Invasion & Retro Rewind. Mimi has been involved in calendar projects to benefit organ transplant funds for special friends and is a strong advocate for organ & kidney donation. She has also worked with charities such as Fold the Flag and Toys for Tots with her club, the Katfish Kittens.
Mimi Meow with her 62 Buick Special - Jenna Sue Photography
Mimi likes to work on her own car “SHIRLEY”, a 1962 Buick Special purchased from the original owner’s family. This low mileage Buick is equipped with the GM experimental all aluminum 215 cubic inch V8 motor & automatic trans. This very first aluminum GM production motor was used in Buick Specials and Oldsmobile Cutlasses for a few years before being sold to Rover of England. Shirley is very original with OEM hub caps, four doors & mint interior. Mimi drives Shirley to school every chance that she gets. Her students most likely have never seen one of these cars. They know when she arrives at school that she is not an average teacher. When she steps out of the car with a vintage full skirt & vintage hair do, they know that it is going to be another special day in her class.
Mimi with "Shirley" - Jenna Sue Photography
Mimi has currently retired from competing in pin up contests to focus on judging & publication modeling. She has been awarded the titles of Miss Vintage Torque Fest 2013, Miss Vintage Torque Fest Good Girl 2014, Miss Vintage Torque Fest Bombshell 2015, Miss Mississippi Mayhem Bombshell 2015 & Miss Blue Ribbon USA 2014. She helped judge the Meltdown Drags pin up contest along with the Iron Invasion & Blue Ribbon Bombshells pin up contests in 2016. Mimi planned & organized her own pin up pageant last year at the Sundown Bar & grill in Williamsburg. Iowa. She belongs to the Midwest all girl pin up group called the Katfish Kittens. They all live the vintage pin up lifestyle and do many car shows and events every year.
Mimi was introduced to drag racing in 2016. Her very first event was the Meltdown Drags at Byron Dragway. This superlative event gave her the experience of becoming a backup girl ...aka a BUG...for a very fast & colorful first generation AFX altered wheel based funny car. She seemed to be a natural & it seemed like she had already done it many times before. She will continue to do more back up duties in 2017. On the track, in her full skirt & high heels she looked marvelous. Mimi got her second taste of drag racing in Eddyville, Iowa at the 11th annual World Fuel Altered Nationals. This was her very first taste of Nitro Methane & extremely fast outlaw fuel altered cars. She has been properly bitten with the NITRO madness that affects so many people in the old car world. Mimi will continue to do more back up duties in 2017. She was the first ever cover girl of the Nostalgia Drag World internet magazine in August of 2016. Look for her in future magazines, web sites, car show & drag strips around the Midwest in 2017.
Cover photo by Dan Ricks