NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Military members often help their local communities with volunteer work, but one Nellis Airman is aiding her favorite charities as an old-fashioned pin-up model.
Staff Sgt. Destiny English, 99th Medical Operation Squadron mental health flight technician, is using her off-duty time to take place in 1930s, 40s and 50s-style photography and contests to raise funds for charities.
The style, which became known as pin-up is commonly found in historical military aircraft nose art, tattoo designs and clothing lines.
“I’ve always loved that classic look,” English said. “Everything about it just seemed like good old fashion fun to me.”
English, an Army brat, joined the Air Force in 2006 as an Air Force Honor Guard member.
“My mom told me, ‘No, I’m telling you what right now. If you don’t join the Air Force there’s going to be problems,’” English said, laughing at the thought.
English said her joy for the service and volunteering started with the Air Force Honor Guard. Performing her duties in the honor guard led her to participate in the Tragedy Assistance Program, a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting youths who’ve lost family members to war.
“I’ve worked with TAPs for six years, and I’m a mentor for the program,” English said. “I’ve mentored a child for the past six years who lost her dad in a vehicle accident in 2005.”
English’s passion for volunteering and helping veteran’s affairs groups continued through the years, but recently she has combined her love for 30s, 40s, and 50s fashion and charity work.
“The Hollywood Razzle Dazzle competition in California was the first I ever competed,” English said.
The competition required contestants to appear in 40s or 50s style fashion and answer several questions about what they’ve done to help the veteran and military community.
“I was really, really nervous and the night before the competition I was like, ‘I want to back out. I really want to back out,’” English said. “My husband told me ‘No, you’re going to do this,’ so I did.
“I got on stage and I’m standing there with all these girls who were so cute and so fun and so bubbly and I loved it. For the first time in my life I actually was fitting in with a group of girls and I had never done that before.”
English won the competition and was named Miss Glamour Doll 2012. The competition raised close to $50,000 for Veterans Affairs hospitals.
Helping the VA hospitals came naturally to English who works as a Mental Health technician.
“I absolutely love working in Mental Health,” English said. “I love working with these patients.”
English plans to continue working in the field of psychology for some time, even after she retires from the Air Force.
As for her charitable fashion competitions, English has no plans to slow down.
“I’ve already become part of a charity organization that give hair cuts to children who can’t afford them for back to school, and they supply school supplies to them if they can’t afford it and things like that,” English said.
English said working with many charities is fun, but she always needs to be cautious with what she does.
“I always make sure that for any photo shoot, I’m keeping in mind my TAPs mentee,” she said. “I always ask myself, ‘If she saw this on the Internet, would she be embarrassed?’”
The bottom line, English said, is that Airmen can think “outside the box” as they look for ways to offer help and support to their community.