There were countless pinup models, too many to count, but only one could pose in the naughtiest of bondage shots and still be just cute as a button.
There was something so very special about Bettie. As all the other beauties faded away, she became one of the most recognized icons of the 20th century. Her curvy shape, big smile, and often-imitated bluntly cut bangs were fresh and non-threatening. Her wild outfits, many she designed herself, were flattering and tiny and somehow both sexy and adorable. Her appeal has stretched far beyond bondage model or pinup, and Bettie can be seen on posters, coffee cups, T-shirts…and on the side of a large house in Seattle’s Ravenna District, giving commuters on the I-5 something to enjoy with their morning coffee.
The house is owned by Chris Brugos, who commissioned the giant Bettie painting in 2006. Donning her standard teeny black panties, some thigh-highs and nothing else, the mega-sized Bettie is strategically placed so that a rain gutter acts as a modesty strip across the more salacious parts of her chest. Brugos has been a Bettie Page fan since high school, and thought having an outside wall of his home dedicated to the pinup would be a fun tribute. “Like a tattoo for my house.”
While most people appreciate the naughty visage, there have been a few anonymous complaints, leading to the house receiving quite a bit of press and attention when Brugos was served with a notice from Seattle Public Utilities, informing him that he would be fined $100 a day if he didn’t clean up the “graffiti” on the side of his house. This became a huge talking point – is the mural graffiti, or art? It was decided that the difference was permission. Since the mural was commissioned and wanted, it did not qualify as graffiti, and the complaint has been passed around the city offices as each department looks into it and deems it “not their jurisdiction.”
So who out there has a problem with the most lovable pinup that ever was? No one has taken ownership of their disdain, and while it has acted as sort of a nuisance for Brugos, Bettie still remains. The complaints may have come from the Mormon church next door, but there’s no evidence that the pious neighbors were bothered by it. Page herself converted to Evangelical Christianity in 1959, and a spokesperson from the church seemed to have a live and let live attitude about the mural. In fairness, there are countless billboards for colognes and underwear that are just as provocative, and not nearly as cute.
To see Bettie in all of her glory, hop in the car. She can be clearly viewed from northbound Interstate 5, near the 65th Street exit. Just look for the thigh-highs right next to the Mormon Church.
Bettie has now been joined by Devine.
Update May 2020: Readers are now reporting that the mural has been painted over.
Know Before You Go
Good view from northbound I-5 at exit 170.