The Desi Pinup is a blog run by Miss Laila Shalimar, a Desi Australian pin-up and blogger from Perth, Western Australia. As an immigrant Australian, Laila’s love for vintage stemmed from a deep-seated need to connect to her Afghan-Pakistani heritage. She takes great delight in researching the history, fashion and culture of the Indian subcontinent and Middle East from the early to mid 20th century.
Far from just a pretty face, Miss Shalimar also holds a Bachelor of Criminology and Justice and is actively involved in various online and local social justice spaces. Laila believes that celebrating vintage fashion should not mean hearkening to vintage values, particularly those that uphold oppressive power structures. Laila has contributed to several publications on the issue of racial and ethnic diversity in the Vintage and Pinup subculture. She has also previously volunteered as an admin with Pinups of Color, a social media platform that aims to promote and connect racially and ethnically diverse pinups around the world. In 2015, she worked closely with Studio Damascus and The Blue Room Theatre to produce, Once we were Kings, a play reflecting the experiences of the Queer Muslim Community in Australia. In 2018 she was chosen to be the face of Australian Brooch brand Daisy Jean Floral and collaborated with the company on a range that paid homage to her Desi heritage. In 2018 her play “Sharbat” was selected as part of The Blue Room Theatre’s 2019 season and is currently in production.
Miss Shalimar is a beloved member of her local vintage community of which she has been an active member for more than a decade. From organising rockabilly gigs, to styling aspiring models, to writing articles for Australian and international publications, she invests her heart, soul and passion in everything she does.