The Queen Of Kustom Kulture: Carly DeVille

One Southern Californian local has transcended, and through her undying passion is rising as a torrent of inspiration, not only for her female contemporaries, but Kustom Kulture enthusiasts worldwide.

Since its inception women have held powerful seats at the forefront of Kustom Kulture which draws its roots from aesthetic elements and romanticized notions associated with heyday hot rodding and domestic vehicle kustomization.

But, suppressed sexism in the workplace, frequent exploitation (both demonized & accepted by varying demographics) in mainstream media, and a woman's freedom to fashion her demeanor by erring on the side of conservatism, or embracing a free-spirited lifestyle comprise the complexity of American society's treatment, reception, perception, and overall views surrounding female gender.

Pinup culture is particularly special because it is a form of expression where sensuality & sex appeal are the fuel, while the exhibition of subtlety is the craft.
— Author

Very few expressions seek to take a visceral, raw, and primordial quality then attempt to present it in, not a subdued fashion, but a controlled climax. It is a unique experience in which the subject commands the attention & ability to satiate base desires and effectively quell the yearning for instant gratification embedded within the character of modern society. It is the art of snake charming, taming lions, and submitting alligators coalesced.

Grave Goods Society interviewed pinup model, nurse, mother, fiancé, and Kustom Kulture event coordinator, Carly DeVille, to learn more about her latest project; the fast-approaching Port Nationals: Kustom Rodz & Bobberz Show.

Taking place July 18th, 2015 in the coastal city of San Pedro, California, renowned for its historic naval base, DeVille has toiled through 2014-15 while balancing her many commitments outside of the scene. While some of her contemporaries have phased on, or have lost interest altogether, DeVille has grown with the culture and has gone from solely modeling to becoming a vanguard of the culture's preservation.

DeVille explained, "I've been pinup modeling since 2007 and am currently working on Port Nationals as the event coordinator & designer along with my partner Eddie Greenwood."

"I wanted to create an event that was strictly for car people as oppose to a corporate event geared towards making money. I really want to create something where everyone can come and enjoy themselves, the culture, the cars, good music, and good food."

DeVille continued, "The event is being held in the Port of Los Angeles which is a new location for a Southern California show, so it's very exciting."

I think I’m probably the first female to ever coordinate and design an event of this scale. To have a female doing that in the male-saturated market is pretty amazing I think.
— Carly DeVille

Eddie Greenwood works in the Port of Los Angeles as a longshoreman. DeVille said that while they were scouting locations they came across an area where the SS Lane Victory was docked. According to DeVille the area met all the needs for this, "beast of an event."

"The SS Lane Victory is a U.S.A. Victory-class cargo ship that was used in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War" (

DeVille explained why this event was so special to her, "I'm an R.N. Monday through Friday and any extra time I have outside of that is dedicated to building the event. It's really cool because I think I'm probably the first female to ever coordinate and design an event of this scale. To have a female doing that in the male-saturated market is pretty amazing I think. I'm really proud of that and have been really blessed to meet the right people along the way who've helped me make this possible."

DeVille on why the event is so important amidst her other life commitments:

"I really see the vision of Port Nationals becoming something big. You don't just put out a flyer and say, 'Hey I'm going to put out a car show' it doesn't happen that way–it's a daily, hourly, to-the-minute type of work. It comes down to, if you want to do something and you want to do it right you have to put in the time and the effort. I want to build something that people will be able to look forward to for years to come."

DeVille on advice towards ladies interested in pursuing modeling for the first time:

"You have to stay true to yourself, and you have to set limitations based on what you're willing & not willing to do. Part of that is working with credible people. You have to be careful who you work with and not be in a rush. What I mean by that is, I see a lot of girls shoot with 20 different people in one month–that's great, but where are your images going, and what is the quality that you're putting out there? If you're a little more selective and take your time you can ensure the quality is there–and pay for shoots. When I first started I was paying for shoots; you want that quality coming straight out of the gate."

DeVille on pinup culture in modern times:

"It's a classy and classic avenue for females. There's a lot of different types of modeling now: tattoo modeling which is fantastic, alternative which is amazing, but pinup is just so unique because these are poses that have been used since the 50s; you can have five different girls do the same exact pose and each is totally different."

In Closing

"We've got a pre-party and an after-party going on, so a whole weekend of fun. There's eight bands lined up and a Kustom Kulture art exhibit–which is going to be amazing–hosted by Mr. Rhythm. The show is going to have the largest pinup contest on the west coast with 45 girls, $1,800 worth of cash prizes, and gift bags valued at over $300 each for the top 10 models," DeVille explained.

There's no doubt that DeVille, dedicated to the culture "until death," will continue as a driving force within the scene. Not only by helping preserve it, but shaping what it will become as new generations of men & women gravitate towards Kustom Kulture's undeniable allure. For all the struggles, challenges, and bias women may still encounter in our society today, one law is infallible: nothing compares, and sometimes what you need, is a woman's touch.

Carly DeVille thanks Crown Deluxe Sunglasses, Dead Sleds & all supporting car clubs, and Gretsch Guitars for their contributions to Port Nationals.

Date: Saturday, July 18th, 2015
Location: Berth 39 | 3600 Minor Street San Pedro, California
Visit for full details on the event.

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