August 5, 2011

Spotlight Series: Mrs. Bella's Dolls

I’m excited to present the first interview in the RGG Spotlight Series - the beautiful Bella Vlasis, creator and owner of Mrs. Bella’s Dolls and her world famous cigarette girls and also owner of celebrity impersonator talent agency, Tribute Productions.

(Do you have what it takes to be the next Mrs. Bella’s Doll? Retro Girl’s Guide and MBD will be teaming up soon for a contest to find the next Mrs. Bella’s Doll! Be sure to follow us both on Facebook for exciting updates!) 

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RGG: Hi Bella! Thank you for taking the time to chat with us today about your gorgeous Mrs. Bella’s Dolls (MBD).  Tell us, what is a Doll and what inspired you to create your very pin-up infused company?
MBD: Hello Retro Girls, thank you so much for having me here. I am honored to share with your readers about Mrs. Bella’s Dolls Classic Cigarette Girls. I have always been inspired by the 1930s & 1940s and these eras seem to follow me throughout my life. I was very influenced by my parents, I loved looking and admiring their photos as a young girl. Mom also introduced me to Betty Boop, Marilyn Monroe, and other beautiful actors so I have always felt a strong connection to this time in history. My Grandfather would always tell me I looked like “Lana Turner” or “Betty Grable” and its not until now that I “get” what he was seeing.

About ten years ago I had a casting agent cast me as a cigarette girl in a film and I immediately fell in love with the part (I had always wanted to be an adorable cigarette girl!). It was at that time I realized I wanted to blossom my love for vintage cigarette girls into its own professional company. There was no one else at that time doing anything like it and I wanted to be the first and create it with absolute love and integrity. I was fortunate enough to work hundreds of jobs myself, and eventually began auditioning other beautiful performers to work along side of me to learn the ropes of becoming a Mrs. Bella’s Doll.

RGG: You live out every little girl's dream of dressing up in gorgeous costumes (I don’t think we ever outgrow it!). Where do you find your beautiful ensembles?
MBD: Thank you so much! I LOVE the idea of helping all women discover and find their own “inner pin-up girl” each of us have this within us and I believe there is something liberating and empowering about it. My collection of costumes has taken years to create. I am on a forever hunt for the perfect pin-up look and I am constantly looking in thrift stores, Ebay or collaborating with seamstresses and sewers to bring a vision to life.

RGG: What do you think about this blooming trend of vintage inspired designs in clothing, accessories, decor, etc.? Do you have a favorite brand?
MBD: I love fashion and especially classic couture. I feel the creation of garments in the 40’s had a quality to them that today’s fashion some times lacks. But there are some amazing places to find retro inspired fashion and (PUG) is one of my current favorites.

One of the reasons I feel so many people are drawn to the 1940s is the fashion and elegance of style and how people loved to get dressed up (men and women). I feel it is a time in history where fashion was a statement about life. Women looked impeccable with their clothes, hats, shoes, hair and accessories so naturally the 40s are a time that fashion will always come back to. The 1950s brought in curves which I am a big fan of, as well as amazing color pallets and more form fitted styles.

I love when current fashion borrows from these classic years for inspiration, and love seeing new generations of people finding the love for these classic styles. I am a person who definitely wears a certain style no matter what is in “fashion.” Create your own rules and your own trends as long as it makes you feel alive!

RGG: What kinds of events can you find a Mrs. Bella’s Doll performing at? 
MBD: We have worked The Emmys, (getting ready to work them again Sept 2011), MTV Awards, The Golden Globes, The Young Hollywood Awards, Spirit Awards, Fashion Week (getting ready to work that again as well in Sept 2011), Mad Men Premier, Celebrity Private parties, Corporate Events, Film Festivals, Mitzvah’s, Movie Premiers, Hotel V.I.P Events are the majority of events you will see my Dolls.

RGG: You are based in Los Angeles, but do you have Dolls in other parts of the country?
MBD: Yes we are based here in LA but have beautiful Dolls in NYC, Florida, Georgia, DC, San Diego, Las Vegas and soon we will be on the look for Dolls in every State (stay tuned).

RGG: What does it take to be a Doll? Do you need special modeling, acting or dancing skills?
MBD: I like to hire all kinds of women (need to be at least 21 years since many job assignments require this) but all shapes of body type as long as you have nice legs, the Dolls that really understand “people skills” are my most requested girls. You have to understand how to conduct yourself in a professional manner as many events are celebrity parties so knowing how to always maintain a professional disposition while working is a must! I love a pretty girl with a great sense of humor as most of the job requires speaking to people; learning product information; being warm and friendly; knowing how to be “on” in a moments notice; how to handle stressful situations with grace; how to deal with a not so easy client or guest; and mostly how to be your own best, beautiful pin-up girl. Acting is a huge plus as well as dance.

RGG: Tell us a little about your other company, Tribute Productions. I also see that you have written several books on being a look-a-like. Where can we find them?
MBD: Tribute Productions is my Production Company where myself and husband produce talent, shows, and music for events, film, TV, print and live shows. I am a specialty casting person, in where I am able to connect the talent to a casting director or producers specific need (and many times “hard to find talent”). I worked as a professional double for Madonna for 25 years and that helped me learn the business and industry from the inside and allowed me to eventually become and work as a show producer myself. My husband takes care of the music, musicians and I do the dancers, models, actors, shows & acts. I have also written 2 industry books you can find on or from the publishers (you can see on our web site).

RGG: And now for silly fun.... If you could be one animal, what would it be?
MBD: Oh, hmmmm... as much as I adore cats, I think I would say bird so I could fly far above the world and take in all its beauty! :)

RGG: Give us one quote from a favorite movie or book:
MBD: “Remember honey, it’s alright to say YES on your wedding day!”  (from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes)

RGG: Chocolate or vanilla?
MBD: I like to mix em!! Mmmm a little French vanilla with some deep, dark delicious chocolate!!! Darn now I’m hungry!!

RGG: Thank you again for speaking with us today, Bella! You are incredible and so are your amazing businesses - truly inspirational!
MBD: Thank you so much for having me here on RGG - I am honored and flattered!

Be sure to follow us both on Facebook for exciting updates!

Fan Bella on Facebook through Tribute Productions

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