Reality Check

Carolyn Magner

Beautiful girls and custom trucks

| September 18, 2012

In the beginning, pretty girls posed in front of, next to and even sometimes, draped over the hood of big rigs. By the time I started writing for Overdrive in the late 80s, photographing an attractive girl in front of a truck was considered sexist and degrading toward women. The old covers represented a different era, one not in step with the political correctness of the day. We routinely froze out even fleet ads where hot girls in mini skirts beckoned potential drivers with sexy looks implying, “Work for Company X and you may get lucky with a girl like me!” Right.

Political correctness continued and then, recently, it has begun to wane. Both readers and writers got tired of constantly trying to avoid controversy. The freewheeling, take-no-prisoners attitude of the Internet was like a breath of fresh air. As Overdrive worked hard to improve the image of trucking, a funny thing happened outside the industry efforts. The popular media did an about-face and put a new spin on trucking. Instead of portraying the pill-popping, truck-crashing, dirt-bagging image of the past, trucking started to become cool again. I credit the renaissance with the smash hit popularity of reality shows such as “Ice Road Truckers,”  “Trick My Truck”, “Chrome Shop Mafia,” and “American Trucker” Robb Mariani’s adventures. It also helped that as the economy tanked and the suits in their cushy cubicles lost their jobs, a steady gig looked pretty darn good. Around the same time trucking became cool again, other industries started the retro practice of posing gorgeous women in front of cars, motorcycles, electronics, airplanes and anything else they wanted to sell. What’s old is always new again.

Last summer, when Overdrive put together a retrospective celebrating its 50th anniversary, readers loved viewing the old covers and many asked if we would consider bringing back pretty girls/big trucks.

So, we decided to recreate the old cover shoots with a modern, updated look and the first one ran in August.

It’s been quite an adventure. Obviously, we had no trouble finding tricked-out truck owners willing to allow a professional photographer to shoot their truck with a beautiful girl posing next to it. But I was apprehensive about finding the right person to pose. I wanted her to be wholesome but also drop dead gorgeous. And she had to somehow fit the personality of the truck, have a good sense of humor and get into the spirit of the shoot.  It fell under the category of, “I’ll know it when I see it.” I looked at dozens of photos but when I found the dark-haired, blue-eyed beauty, I knew she was perfect for the first shoot.

The next two were equally fun to work with and enthusiastically mugged for the camera. One shoot involved a working farm, curious horses, rambunctious calves and a haystack.

The results were stunning and most of our readers gave enthusiastic thumbs up. Of course, you are never going to please everyone. In fact, if you do, you are doing something wrong. Still, I took notice when one Facebook commenter made a good point. She said she had nothing against putting pretty girls and nice trucks together but suggested we consider including a few real truckers.

Brilliant!  Why didn’t I think of that?

NEXT: Shooting real truckers at The Great American Trucking Show in Dallas, Texas.

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  • Phaedrus

    How refreshing that as a society we are comfortable enough to again celebrate the wonderful uniqueness of each gender. I applaud Overdrive’s risky step backwards into reality. And the move to incorporate real truckers is just superb. I’m looking forward to future isses.

  • http://www.facebook.com/melissa.mekelburg Melissa Mekelburg

    Great Article Carolyn!! I honestly don’t understand why “politically correct trucking/modeling” is an issue for some people, especially in this day in age. If photos like this get these beautiful rigs and their owners some recognition and some great stories get to be told, then it’s really a wonderful thing, and no different than any other marketer trying to get something out in the public eye?!!
    Besides, it isn’t like we were naked, or acting in any manner unfit…. I personally found this experience to be very insightful, and thought the shoot was very tasteful. So glad to have gotten to be a part of this throwback event with Overdrive Magazine!

  • http://www.facebook.com/FrackvilleAAauto Scott Lapachinsky

    Great article, loved those 70′s and 80′s issues, still collecting on them on eBay.