I’m very lucky in that my job allows me to travel around the country so I get to meet many wonderful pinups within the community, go to lots of vintage events and even participate in pageants. I was very excited when I was lucky enough to be in Brisbane around the time of this years Miss Vintage Kiss. Pageants are always great to be a part of, but my favourite ones are generally aimed at raising awareness for causes or promote a charity. Miss Vintage Kiss, run by vintage queen Vivien Victory is very passionate about LipTember so the pageant runs in conjunction with that. I am so happy to have been a part of this pageant and it ended up being a whole load of fun with a very unique theme.
Let’s start by looking at LipTember; the whole reason behind this pageant. Liptember is a campaign dedicated to raising funds and awareness for women’s mental health, harnessing the true potential of the collective, encouraging and inspiring people to listen, share, and learn. It helps start the conversation off by encouraging participants to apply a bright coloured lipstick. Individuals are encouraged to register online and seek sponsorship from family, friends and co-workers for committing to wearing bright lipstick throughout September. Funds raised during the month of September are donated to the Centre for Women’s Mental Health, Lifeline, Batyr, RUOK?, The Jean Hailes Foundation and The Pretty Foundation. I’ve personally participated in LipTember many times and have worked with the charity on several occasions so I was very excited to take part in another LipTember promoting event.
Now the theme for Miss Vintage Kiss was the 1940’s which I found to be such a great theme. A lot of pageants focus on the 50’s so by having everyone really embracing the war time era, it gave way to a whole new way of styling outfits, themed performances and ideas. For those that don’t know Vivien Victory well, she does the 1940’s like no one else. Her unique style always makes her stand out, oh and the fact that she’s one of the kindest and greatest human’s you’ll ever meet makes her an absolute darling to be around. I have done pageants with her before and think the world of her.
The pageant has two rounds; one day wear and the second being evening wear. For day wear, I tossed up what I could do and didn’t want to do something overtly war related. I did think of just wearing a cute 1940’s day dress but no story I thought of really stood out to me. After talking with my Dad, he reminded me that part of my own family had been potato farmers during World War Two and their land was taken over by the Nazi’s. My family were scattered with some being sent to work camps and some escaping. I realised this is the story I wanted to tell but in my own way. I did a bit of digging around the internet where I stumbled up a photograph of a land girl In Southern England, 1944. British women headed to the fields during WWII in dungarees and buttoned-up shirts and that’s exactly what I decided to wear.
I already had a pair of dungarees which looked perfect for the 1940’s style, and I just got a brand new 1940s style button up shirt from Vivien of Holloway in a sage green colour. My friend lent me an army helmet; it was an Australian helmet but a European one wasn’t really within budget) and I just wore a belt and some simple sandle shoes from Charlie Stone as I thought heels might look odd. I kept my hair pretty simple and in bunches on my head as I figured most would be covered by the helmet anyway. My makeup was still the typical pinup makeup but I left it clean with no glitter or embellishments with only short wings. I wanted to tell the story of a potato farmer just going about her daily business. I didn’t want to go into the whole dramatic tale of my family and just give them a homage and a thank you for allowing me to live and grow in a place that was safe and where I could tell their story on stage. I wanted to stay respectful to them but also to share a bit of my family background with everyone. I didn’t think a pageant would ever be so personal to me but here we are.
As for props, I made a hoe using the expandable stick from my sweeper at home and an old hoe head that I found in the garage. Luckily, the head fit onto the stick with no problems. After both had a quick clean, I spray painted them with silver paint twice. The hoe head was then covered in glitter just to make it a bit more fun and exciting. Oh and yes, in case you are wondering, I do still use the sweeper stick at home and it’s still silver. It looks ridiculous against the normal green sweeper head but it always makes me remember the pageant itself.
The next thing I needed were potatoes. I figured the best way to make them would be with styrofoam. After going to the craft store, the styrofoam they sold there was not holding up to the shaping process and was very light. I ended up finding a denser foam which worked a treat and using my foam cutter and an automatic sander, I made weird round blobby shapes which were my potatoes. Each shape was painted in various shades of dark brown with patches and marks. I did add little flourishes of glitter here and there just to make them a bit more interesting. Each potato then had a long wire attached to it and the wired were bundled at the top. I added some green leaves (they were actually sunflower leaves) to the top and then floral wired from the top of the wires all bunches up about a third of the way down. Huzzah! I now have fancy potatoes.
The final thing I needed was a potato sack and of course, no one had any burlap fabric available. I ended up using fabric designed to make a dog bed out of as it was the closest I could find. A local upholstery man sewed it together for me and even added the draw string at the top. What a legend. I then very carefully painted onto one side of the sack “MonMon’s Taters”. I did think about making the writing fancy and cursive as well as actually writing the word ‘potatoes’ but it all felt very busy. I decided to keep it simple and clean so the audience could read it and hopefully smile at the idea. I painted a little red kiss at the bottom to help tie in the other theme of the pageant, Liptember. All the letters were outlined with a black marker to really make them stand out and of course, I added pink crystals to the lettering to make it all sparkly.
I wanted my routine to start with the potatoes already on stage hidden “underground”. I used a brown skirt from a previous pageant as the dirt. I would go on stage, pose and use my hoe to dig up my potatoes. Of course my potatoes would give me some trouble but alas, they would be pulled out and shown of with all their glory. I then shoved the potatoes into my sack, took my helmet off, wiped off my sweaty forehead leaving behind a great big smudge and then leaving the stage. It was simple, fun and I had a lot of enjoyment planning it.
The second round was to be a lot more simple with an evening dress that was true vintage from the 1940’s. It’s not a very fancy dress but I loved it’s simplicity. I did a simple routine with a perfume bottle and a large lipstick I constructed out of a Pringles can and some toilet rolls. Masking tape was a saviour in this prop as it kept the different sized rolls together and also provided a surface for the paint to stick to. I painted the lipstick itself with red acrylic and spray painted the tube with gold paint. Everything was covered in glitter to smooth out the masking tape bumps.
Sometimes travel goes horribly wrong and unfortunately this is one of those times. I was scheduled to leave the day before the pageant, spend my weekend in Brisbane before working for two day and then returning to Perth. My flight was delayed so we would be landing at some ungodly hour in the morning in Brisbane. When we finally reached our hotel at around 4am, the booking had been moved to the following week and the hotel was full. Oh no! The pageant was in a few hours, we have had no sleep, we were hungry and we didn’t even have a hotel. I called up a few hotel chains and no one had room. I remembered on another trip to Brisbane I stayed in a different hotel and they luckily had one spare room. I was actually travelling with my Dad at this time as he sometimes likes to come along for the trip and being retired, he find the travel a lot of fun. The last room only had one bed so I ended up sleeping on the couch, thank goodness it was comfortable. We had about a two hour power nap before we got up, ate and prepared for the pageant.
The pageant itself was held at the Waterloo Hotel which was a stunning Art Deco building with a beautiful interior. It was perfect for the pageant. All the girls taking part were lovely and kind and for some it was their first ever pageant. Awww, I love a pageant baby! We were all very excited for the pageant which made us all giddy and full of beans. I don’t remember what we did but I just remember taking over most of the bathroom with the other girls and complaining about how sweaty it was and laughing hysterically.
My first round went really well and I got a great response from the audience. To be lucky enough to share such a personal story with the audience was truely amazing and I got a great laugh upon the revelation of the potatoes and the smudge on my head.
It was now time for round two and I somehow had to magically clean off a big black smudge from my forehead. Oh yeah, I planned this super well. I quickly got some makeup remover, cleaned my forehead and reapplied my foundation and powder. I released my hair and put it up on a soft 1940’s style hair do. I had a bunch of curls at the front of my hair, a slight swirl and then the rest was a very soft brushoff with no structure. I wanted it to look like I was on my way out to somewhere lovely after a day of hard work. I got a great response from my dress and I think I looked pretty great especially with how tired I was from the travel and being stranded at 4am.
To further tie in my family to this routine, I wore a rose necklace that my grandmother owned that my aunty had gifted me. I always remembered my aunty wearing the necklace when I was a child and after not seeing her for over 13 years, I could finally go and visit her in Europe a few years ago. I asked about the necklace and she was so surprised that I remembered it that she ended up gifting it to me. I treasure it very much. I loved wearing it and was so happy it matched the rest of my outfit. I also wore some cream gloves, vintage earrings and a hair flower from Lola Storm.
The event also had local burlesque performances which were out of this world amazing. So much glitter and sparkle and I think I fan grilled pretty hard when meeting everyone.
I had a lot of fun with this pageant and was absolutely stoked to take home the title of Miss Congeniality. All the girls had done some wonderful routines on stage and the winning title went to the beautiful Miss Audrey Azure. She was simply dazzling on stage and a well deserved winner. There was no runner up for the pageant but I like to think we all came second because everyone was so amazing. The best part of the pageant is that we all received a sash to remember our pageant time which was hand made by Vivien Victory herself.
After the pageant, there were so many amazing people in the crowd that I think I ended up talking for several hours. I love these events because there are always people you recognise and even if you just know them online, you can finally meet them in real life!
This pageant really gave me a chance to tell a different story and try something new. I have never gotten so personal with a pageant and it was the perfect event to do so. I felt very safe in sharing my history with others and think it all paid off in the end. It’s been a busy pageant year and I know I’m not yet done for 2019. I’m looking forward to sharing more of my pageant adventures as the time goes on. I hope these posts help inspire you for your own pageants.
A special thank you to the organiser of Miss Vintage Kiss especially Vivien Victory who put so much work and effort into the day itself. It was an honour to be apart of such a wonderful event and help raise funds for Liptember. Thank you to the sponsors for the wonderful prize pack we received and to the Waterloo Hotel for having us. I can’t wait to see what happens next year!
Note: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions and thoughts expressed are solely my own and not influenced in any way. There are no affiliate links and I do not benefit from any link clicks or purchases made.