Blair Strange freely admits that she likes watching "Doctor Who," playing World of Warcraft, and going to fantasy and science fiction conventions.
“I’m a dork,” she said, laughing. “There’s no better way to say that.”
Strange, 26, said her parents, Charlie and Leslie Strange, raised her to be a nerd. She has tattoos based on video games, she used to work at GameStop, and she even debates with her friends about wizards. But over the years, one thing has nagged her.
“When I got older, I realized how excluded women were from that culture,” she said.
Now, she has combined geek culture and femininity to create a 13-month pin-up calendar, featuring women dressed as characters from science fiction movies, TV shows and video games in a vintage style reminiscent of the 1940s and 50s.
The P1nupgirls 2012 calendar hit the market last year, and Strange is already working to create a 2013 calendar.
“The pin-up thing has always been an obsession of mine,” she said.
Strange, a lifelong Temple Terrace resident and graduate of , said she and a friend were trying to come up with costume ideas for a convention about four years ago. They thought of dressing up as girl versions of all the men who have played "Doctor Who" in the British TV series.
“It kind of snowballed out of control from that,” Strange explained.
Last year, she finally put the idea into action. She opened up auditions through Facebook, and a panel of judges narrowed down the model choices.
Then there was costume construction. Strange and her friends make all of the costumes. Strange said she learned the basics from her mother, Leslie Strange, who creates costumes for . A friend taught her the details.
The models and costumes were ready to be photographed by July. Strange, who studied graphic design and a little photography at the Art Institute of Tampa, took the pictures.
Afterward, there were about three months of photo editing, during which time Strange’s boyfriend was allowed to help.
“Everyone that helped with costumes, makeup and hair were all girls—except my boyfriend,” Strange said. “He was more forced than allowed.”
The girl power theme is one that Strange said she’s proud of. She said she wants the calendar to symbolize that geeky girls aren’t society’s image of frizzy-haired, glasses-wearing, braced-teeth nerds. They’re women who can win at Starcraft and are just as hot as the supermodel on the box cover.
Strange set up her own company, P1nupgrls, and started selling the 2012 calendars last fall. She said going through the entire process was a learning experience.
“It’s a lot more difficult than I anticipated,” she said. “It took a lot more time and cost than I expected.”
So this year, Strange said she’s better prepared. She’s already in the costume-designing phase and expects to shoot the 2013 calendar by late-May or early-June. Her goal is to finish the calendar by August so she can take it to Atlanta for Dragon*Con, the largest annual sci-fi/fantasy convention on the east coast. It takes place during Labor Day weekend this year.
Until then, Strange will be striving to make the 2013 P1nupgrls calendar a reality. She said she stays busy. During the day, she works full time in graphic design.
“Then I come home and do this for fun,” she said.