Getting To Know GNARLY Pinup Winner: Vida Vargas
By Jeff Alexander
Hailing from Austin, Vida Vargas happily states the city continues boasting a thriving music and kustom kulture scene. It’s no secret that Texas is home to a strong live music community but the southwest is not often associated with kustoms, but Vargas states otherwise.
Chris Gomez Photography
“Austin is known for its music but kustom kulture continues growing in Texas. Jesse James and his Austin Speed Shop has given the community more visibility while awesome shows like Lonestar Rod & Kustom Round-Up draw huge crowds. COVID restrictions are different here so we’re confident they’ll be even more Summer events,” she said.
Vargas is thrilled to have won GNARLY’s pinup contest and is happy the timeless style continues gaining more visibility.
Photos above by Lucky Devil Pinups
“I’ve always loved the style, the glamour and how people took pride in the details. The style has evolved and is a little more contemporary; You see more women with tattoos and I think it’s healthy for the scene that more people are gravitating toward it. You can be sexy yet tasteful and it can be a diverse scene,” stated Vargas.
Vargas was first introduced to moto culture courtesy of her father. Both would attend weekend races and other hot rod events.
“The subculture was always there, though people may not realize it. I grew up going to the racetrack in Holland and eventually learned about the inner workings of cars, which led to me finally getting a ’66 Mustang! I love it, but of course, there are issues. The previous owners didn’t really know what they were doing and when they got it repaired, it wasn’t done right. It’s got a 289 but it wasn’t bored correctly so it overheats a lot but, it’s my baby so I really just need to do it right and get it over with; An engine swap and put in a Crate,” said Vargas.
Chris Gomez Photography
Vargas continues her career within the music industry, so she’s been privy to Austin’s behind-the-scenes challenges as well as successes.
“Musicians work very hard and Austin is a very locally-focused scene however, I don’t think they’re respected as they should be. There have been some positive gains, such as the new ordinance of creating traffic signs allowing musicians with better, safer parking in front of venues. These loading zones, specifically for musicians allows for smoother load-ins without creating traffic jams while temporarily parking elsewhere. Also, there’s now an available program for full-time, working musicians to obtain health benefits which is a really great thing for the city to help keep it vibrant,” said Vargas.
Photo by Dario
For Vargas, she continues supporting musicians within her artist hospitality career, affording her unique opportunities to keep Austin’s community alive while embracing the southwest’s growing kustom kulture scene.
Josh Woodhouse Photography
“Working as house manager at Austin’s Paramount Theatre shows that support for historic venues is still strong. It was built in 1915 and people take pride in it. With kustom kulture, I continue seeing younger people attend events so I can see firsthand that perhaps a newer crowd is coming up to support the car scene. As for me and pinup, I’ve gotten more exposure and positive support with entering contests and I’ve had some photographers reach out to me. I’ll continue to pursue it as a fun, passion side project,” concluded Vargas.