Vampira; 1950’s Gothic Glamour

Piper MinearBehind the MonsterLeave a Comment

Vampira (Maila Nurmi) slaughters the idea that Goths can’t, and don’t, go to the beach.  Furthermore, she looks damn good doing it!  Never has someone made a little black bathing suit look so fierce as this horror goddess!

Nurmi began from humble beginnings from Massachusetts with big dreams.  She started as a coat check girl, but quickly moved on to her dreams.  The black clad beauty took on the modeling world by storm with her own unique style.

With a nineteen inch waist and love for the Goth aesthetic, Nurmi immediately captured the attention of many.  Most importantly she caught the eye of Hunt Stromberg, Jr., the man responsible for creating, Vampira.  From the public eye to the celebrities of Hollywood, heads were turning in Vampira’s direction.

The model first made her debut at a Hollywood masquerade ball in 1953.  She was 31 years old when she brought home the award for best costume at the soiree.  It was only one year later when Nurmi became known as the beautiful princess of darkness, Vampira.

From 1954-1955 she hosted her own show on a local LA channel, WABC, entitled The Vampira Show.  On her show, Vampira would introduce horror movies.  She also made quips about the genre and movies she introduced.

After her show was cancelled she worked with legendary director Ed Wood in his cult film Plan 9 from Outer Space. Following Plan 9 she participated in a handful of other movies.

While The Vampira Show may have been short lived, Nurmi’s character went on to inspire many future characters in the business.  Two of the major characters inspired by Vampira included Morticia Addams of The Addams Family, and Maleficent of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty.

For more insight on the Goddess of Goth and how she influenced the dark culture of Goth, Netflix has added a documentary entitled Vampira and Me, initially released in 2012 by Ray Greene.

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With a love for all things horror and true crime, Piper will always be writing about it. Add a flair for make up, fashion, and alternative lifestyles and you have this author pegged. You can find her articles on about horror and the new True Crime section she has been chosen to lead,.