The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

Arantxa Arriada: Flashback to the ‘50s

AVID teacher Arantxa Arriada has a knack for standing out in a crowd. Whether it’s due to her neon pink hair bow, 1950s hair styling, vintage black and white polka dot dress or bubbly personality, she’s instantly noticeable. Far from your average high school English teacher, Arriada has undergone a rockabilly-style reinvention and looks as if she belongs in a different era.

From a young age, Arriada loved rockabilly culture, which is everything having to do with music, media and fashion from the 1950s and ‘60s. It all started with her mom and the music playing on the KFRC radio station.

“I’ve always been interested in all kinds of music and I always really liked the oldies, the music from the ‘50s,” Arriada said. “I love the lyrics in older music… It’s just different. It’s not about twerking and all that. It means more… So I just love it.”

Rockabilly music was just the beginning of Arriada’s love for the ‘50s and ‘60s. Her love soon spread to film when her high school film teacher introduced her to all the old movies.

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“There’s this one [movie] called ‘Cry Baby,’ which is so bad that it’s good,” Arriada said. “Johnny Depp is in it, a young Johnny Depp [who] is ‘Cry Baby’…[I also love] anything with James Dean in it. He’s totally got the pompadour style that all the guys mimic.”

In spite of her prolific love for unconventional music and films, Arriada was a typical adolescent who just wanted to fit in and not be considered a “weirdo.” Despite her efforts to blend in, her love for rockabilly culture showed through nonetheless.

“I remember the day that Frank Sinatra died,” Arriada said. “I was a junior in high school and [when] I came to school…I was incredibly sad. I think I cried…and all my friends thought I was totally weird. My teachers were like, ‘I know—Old Blue Eyes.’ And I was like, ‘I know!’”

Until recently, she never completely showed the full extent of her love for rockabilly culture. Last year, Arriada fell sick and had to undergo several surgeries. As a result of her operations, she lost a lot of weight and found herself not only with a different body, but also with a transformed body image.

“I was finally feeling better about the way I looked,” Arriada said. “And so then I was more inclined to put more of an effort into how I looked.”

Because she had loved 1950s fashion, she decided she was just going to go for it and start styling herself the way she had always wanted to.

“I think [my friends and family] were a little surprised,” Arriada said. “They always knew I liked [the fashion], but they were surprised that I totally went for it.”

Her sudden stylistic transformation has earned her numerous compliments and has garnered some curious attention.

“When I’m fully done, I’ve had people stop and be like, ‘Are you going to a costume party?’ Arriada said. “And it’s like, ‘Well no, this is just what I’m wearing.’”

However, Arriada is now more confident about the way she looks. No longer bothered by the attention, she is “finally feeling like it [is] okay.”

Arriada’s newly-gained confidence was due to her newfound role model—YouTuber, blogger and modern-day pinup model Cherry Dollface, who takes part in 1950s and ‘60s styled modeling shoots. Arriada found Cherry Dollface while surfing the internet for rockabilly styling tutorials.

“She’s super accepting of all types and she’s also an ambassador for body positivity and body acceptance and she’s very much antibullying,” Arriada said. “I just think she’s an awesome role model, not just for young people, but for all people. I really connect to her.”

Using Cherry Dollface as her inspiration, Arriada returned to school decked head to toe in rockabilly fashion. She continues to shop occasionally for vintage pieces to add to her closet. Currently, her favorite and most prized piece of vintage clothing is a dress she found at a vintage fair in San Francisco.

“The dress is really cute,” Arriada said. “It’s pale blue and white gingham…and had never been worn. It still had the original tags on it… it was like a perfect fit [and] it’s totally cute.”

Although today Arriada is very open and talkative about her passion for ‘50s and ‘60s culture, it took her many years to fully express her love for rockabilly fashion. This gradual transformation of self-acceptance is exactly what’s important to Arriada.

“Sometimes [you] realize you were ignoring an aspect of who you are,” Arriada said. “You were ignoring a passion or something you believed in. [But you can always] reinvent yourself and just realize what you want to do, what was missing, and then go out and get it.”

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