Hilda, one of the few plus-size pin-ups of the 1950s is the creation of illustrator Duane Bryers. From 1957 to 1985, Bryers generated over two hundred gorgeous paintings of this voluptuous ginger beauty for a series of calendars released by printing company, Brown & Bigelow.

Atypical for the era and ahead of her time, Hilda is a full-figured, plump, and curvaceous young woman often depicted in humorous scenes.

What drew me to this quirky redhead was the fact that in all of Bryers’ illustrations, Hilda’s personality shone through. If I were to construct a narrative based on these paintings, I could easily describe Hilda as someone who loves to read, someone who is adventurous, someone who is carefree, and ultimately someone who is happy and content with life’s simple pleasures.

Hilda is beautiful.

Not “beautiful for a larger woman.” Not “beautiful despite her size.” Just simply beautiful. Full stop.

This is especially meaningful for me as a person who could never be described as skinny. The fact that I see beauty in every image of Hilda reminds me to see the beauty in myself. I, too, am beautiful without exceptions or qualifiers.

Hilda, to me, is more than just a pretty face. She is an inspiration.

Below are some of my favorite Hilda paintings.

All Hilda images are property of Brown & Bigelow.

If you also love Hilda or would love to know more about the illustrator, Duane Bryers, check out this interview conducted by Les Toil!

7 thoughts on “Hilda

  1. There were times when I thought only “certain people” can be called beautiful or handsome. The more I retrain my brain, the more I found beauty everywhere. I had crushes to two girls at campus and their bodies were exactly Hilda’s type (they wore glasses and smile more easily than me, which probably also the things that caught my attention, haha). I don’t know if this sounds right, but now I found myself a bit weirded out for calling someone “beautiful plus size person”. I can only say “beautiful”, like you said, full stop.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you’re totally correct about the smiles–smiles signify joy and kindness and those are two very attractive qualities! I’m also trying to retrain my brain to stop using qualifiers like plus size. If someone is beautiful, then they’re just beautiful! 🤗 Thank you for reading and for being the biggest supporter of my blog!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been a voiceover guy for the last 10 years, and always had a soft spot for old time radio, Golden Age nostalgia, film noir, etc… and there’s a 5×7 vintage pinup of Hilda currently hanging on the wall of my VO booth! Thanks so much for this post. Always glad to know there are others who appreciate cheeky fun.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi! And thank you so much for taking the time to comment!! I’ve seen tons of reproduction Hilda prints for sale but I would LOVE to have an original! I’m sure it would be out of my price range, though! She’s the only pinup I’ve really taken the time to study about because she’s just so adorable!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I found the postcard inside a crate of old books that I picked up at an estate sale, and loved it instantly. I don’t think it’s worth much because it’s hardly in collectible condition… but there’s plenty of sentimental value. She’s feeding a skunk, by the way. Such a cute and funny picture!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Aww that does sound like an adorable scene!! I’ve always dreamed of going to estate sales and finding something fantastic! Even if it’s not in mint condition, the sentimental value like you say still makes it valuable!

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: