View Full Version : Simpson enlists in the pinup wall of fame

07-01-05, 04:41 AM
Simpson enlists in the pinup wall of fame
By César G. Soriano, USA TODAY


Simpson is a popular pinup with overseas troops. She recently visited troops in Iraq.

Fresh from her visit to Iraq, all-American girl Jessica Simpson appears on the July cover of GQ wearing camouflage pants, an American-flag bikini and military dog tags. "That's why I'm there," the pop singer tells GQ. "To bring smiles, even if I have to show a little cleavage."

Simpson is the latest in a long line of wartime pinups dating back to World War II, when soldiers decorated their bombers and tents with "Varga Girls" sketches and photographs of Betty Grable.

The iconic pinup image of Simpson was photographed by Peggy Sirota, who says she never gave the pinup history much thought when she came up with the idea for the photo shoot.

In one of her photographs, Simpson is crawling on all fours in combat boots and a camouflage swimsuit, her hair billowing from a real Huey helicopter hovering overhead.

Sirota says she and Simpson hope the photos "bring a smile to the face of anybody involved in that endeavor."

"We get a ton of e-mail from soldiers, and their two biggest complaints are a lack of women and a lack of beer," says James Heidenry, executive editor of Maxim magazine. Because of a military ban on booze, no one can help with the beer, but the magazine's sexy pictorials are a favorite with troops.

The July issue of Maxim is dedicated to U.S. troops and has three separate covers featuring models Carmen Electra, Kelly Hu and Kim Smith posing with militaria including a Kevlar helmet. The issue also includes three pullout posters of the models on one side and a picture of an apple pie on the back "so soldiers can swap it around if (Donald) Rumsfeld makes a surprise visit," Heidenry says.

Model and sports reporter LeeAnn Tweeden says there is no difference between the pinup models of yesteryear and today.

"It's still about that beautiful image of a beautiful woman that guys — and the majority are guys — long to come home to, whether it's a pinup, or a photo of a wife or girlfriend," says Tweeden, 32.

The host of Speed Channel's NASCAR Nation and correspondent on Fox Sports' Best Damn Sports ShowPeriod is returning to Iraq for a fourth time in August as part of a USO tour and will appear on that month's cover of FHM magazine. "It's my way of giving something back to boost morale and brighten up the troops," she says.

When she was about 8, Tweeden recalls seeing an autographed photo of Raquel Welch that her father, Bill, brought home from his tour in Vietnam. "Maybe someday, somebody will pass my photo to their son or daughter and say that I was their Raquel Welch." But unlike Grable and Welch, no single celebrity dominates the trailers and tents of soldiers and Marines serving in Iraq.

"(It's) pretty much a collage of girls that catch their eye," says Maj. Richard Bartoszuk, a public affairs officer with the Army's 1st Brigade of the 42nd Infantry Division, based in Samarra.

"Some of the guys totally wallpaper their rooms with these pics. Maxim is a big one, also FHM and Stuff."

Maj. Steve Warren, a spokesman for the 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, says Simpson and Angelina Jolie are popular among soldiers based in Baqubah.

"Pretty much anything from Maxim that shows any fleshy part might get hung up," Pfc. Sam Spurlock says.

Female soldiers are also into the action. Warren's colleague, Cpl. Natalie Loucks, has a picture of a male model torn from a health supplement advertisement.

Warren says military rules prohibit pinups that include nudity. "I had to define the word 'pinup' to a number of soldiers."

Contributing: Rick Jervis in Baghdad