Seven years ago, local boudoir and pinup photographer Yvonne Denault held a customer appreciation event for her clients at her private studio. Around 30 people came to this small fashion show, which was enjoyed by all. By the next year, her clientele had grown, and so did the demand for Denault to do something bigger and better. Thus, Pinup on the Plains was born.

Last year, around 800 women packed the Crystal Ballroom to take in this “ultimate ladies night out.” It’s since moved to the Ramada Plaza Suites in Fargo to accommodate such a crowd. The group enjoyed desserts, drinks, gorgeous photographs, a live band, dancing, a photo booth, and the highlight of the night – the lingerie fashion show. The tradition continues, as the seventh annual Pinup on the Plains will be held Friday, Nov. 11 at 6:30 p.m.

Pinup on the Plains isn’t just about going out for an evening of fun with girlfriends – it’s much deeper than that. When looking for models for the event, Denault purposely tries to stay away from professionals. Instead, she prefers everyday women to those who have gone through proper training.

“We have women in the show from all over, and these are normal women, not models,” she said. “We actually prefer you to be a little clumsy and unsure of yourself.” Once on stage, these “models” strut their way down the catwalk in lingerie and sexy outfits, as they are cheered on by the encouraging, all-female audience. The energy in the room is indescribable as these ladies show others, but more importantly, prove to themselves, that they are confident and beautiful.

Denault said it’s important for those attending to be able to relate to the women on stage. “They see women just like them up on the catwalk and think, ‘She’s my size, or height, or color. If she can do that, why am I so hard on myself?’” Many women who attend Pinup on the Plains for a simple night of fun have left as changed women. They come feeling insecure and unsure and leave feeling empowered, strong and capable. “There are girls who come off the stage wiping tears,” Denault said. “Women are moved. They had no idea what they were about to experience.”

There will be a circus-inspired theme this year, but guests are welcome to wear whatever makes them feel comfortable (cocktail dresses encouraged!). In addition to the regular festivities, there will be door prizes, vendor booths, and a photo shoot package worth over $1,000 will be given away to one lucky person. New this year will be a limited number of VIP tickets.  General admission tickets are available online at or at Vivie’s Boutique at 716 Main Ave., Fargo. All VIP tickets must be reserved by calling 701-373-5770. Tickets will not be available at the door.

Though Denault never dreamed the event would get so popular or have such an impact, she is very thankful for the experience. “Women’s lives change and I never thought that would happen,” she said. “This was never really part of my business plan!”


By Kristin Johnson