It’s been a while since I wrote about a pageant that I participated in and it’s a topic I love to share. I’m hoping one day I can start a mini series about pinup pageants but at the moment, I’m not feeling like I’m the best person to give advice. Anywho, here we are a little while after this years Sou’West Vintage Fest which is a vintage filled day down in Yallingup Western Australia showcasing all things sand, surf, vintage and retro. Hosted and organised by amazing Yallingup business Red Leopard Photography, you can see how much thought and love is put into every part of the day. It’s always one of my favourite weekends of the year as it’s a great excuse to get away from the city, relax and spend time with friends. I have been going to the Sou’West Vintage Fest since 2017 so this was my third year and every year I have participated in the annual Miss Sou’West Vintage Pinup Pageant.
This is one of my favourite pageants to do as its super relaxed, chilled out, it has a great theme of vintage surf and it’s always well organised. Every year I’ve participated, I’ve seen my own skills and confidence grow and I love playing with the theme as well. In my first year, back in 2017, I did a dancing on the beach theme with a mini radio, last year in 2018 I did a sandcastle routine where I was nipped on the behind by a crab and this year 2019, I did a ridiculous fishing routine which I can’t wait to tell you all about. I kind of wish I had written more about this pageant in the past especially my first attempt at it as I’ve personally found it a great pageant to get creative with.
Hands down my favourite part of any pageant is the planning and crafting. This year, I felt the most relaxed about the pageant than ever before but I was stuck on an idea. I always like to think outside the box and wanted to try something completely different. As I was in Sydney a month or so ago, I was out shopping with my Pinup Mama Belle’s B Ringing, and we were in this amazing vintage store, somewhere at the back of the store I saw a painting featuring a pinup girl fishing and the idea hit me, I was going to go fishing! I hadn’t seen anyone do a routine similar before so I snapped a quick photo and it became the basis of my routine.
I came up with the routine first; I wanted to struggle with catching a fish, be hungry and then cop out and order uber eats. This routine took a bit of time to flesh out and changed the more I tried to fit it into the one minute allocated time we had. Being flexible with an idea is always a plus and it makes the routine look more natural and fun as opposed to it being rushed and chaotic. We originally played with the idea of me casting a line into the audience and having my fiancé attach a fish to it but we couldn’t guarantee I wouldn’t hurt someone or the line would go where I wanted it to. Secondly we thought about my partner throwing the fish on stage but once again we thought about safety and if it was fair to have help during a routine as it’s not a “couples routine”. I didn’t want to get disqualified so I just stuck to it being just me on stage doing whatever I felt would be the most entertaining.
I had always seen in cartoons of people fishing that the person would fling their line back before casting it into the water in front and sometimes, pulling off their pants in the process. I wanted to do something similar and so the challenge began. My brother was a bit of an avid fisher so I went into his garage and found an old fishing rod that had snapped in half, it was the perfect length for me to do a routine with and any longer it would have been a bit cumbersome and clunky. Now, how to I hook my skirt with my fishing rod and fling it over my head? We started with a hook and some loops at the bottom of my skirt but it was next to impossible to know when the hook went through a loop whilst I was looking at the audience. I wanted to come out on stage, pose and then fling my skirt over my head but the motion of me walking made the fishing line bounce everywhere and not hook onto my skirt.
Next, magnets! I went to the fishing store and bought a bright pink lure (you know the plastic fake fish on the end of a line? It’s supposed to attract the fish) and attached two magnets onto it. I did feel bad for the guy in the store who was so keen on showing me the latest lure and when he asked what I was trying to catch I said, “a pageant win”. After explaining the concept he just pointed to the pink ones and left me alone. My next task was attach a magnet strip to the bottom of my skirt hem. This did not work, either the magnets wouldn’t hold, I couldn’t keep my rod in the correct position so the lure would aline with my skirt hem or the lure and line would just madly swing around. Bugger.
More magnets! Stronger magnets!
The magnet strip I used in my hem was a little bit weak so I purchased newer, smaller and stronger magnets. I sewed them into the hem of my skirt a few inches apart. Any movement and they stuck together and made me look like I was wearing a diaper. I removed some of them and made the gap between them wider. I then attached more magnets to my lure. Here’s the part where we all gave up on the idea that I would naturally hook my skirt to my lure. There were just too many variables and no matter how much I tried, I couldn’t tell when the lure attached successfully or if the lure was even lined up as this all happened behind my back. We had to come up with a plan B.
Plan B was pre-attaching the lure to my skirt hem with the magnets. I would come out on stage, not turn around until I had pulled off the gag and then detached the lure and carry on with my routine. It wasn’t the ideal plan, but a plan none-the less. Too much time was spent on this, let’s move on to everything else.
I had my skirt, which was actually a half skirt already made as I needed to practice with it as much as I could. I turned to the original inspirited and wanted to keep my outfit super clean and simple so I went with a white 1940’s raglan button down skirt and some 1940’s inspired bright pink shorts. I find for pageants, I often lean towards pink and have it as a feature colour a lot. I also wore the shoes I have been wearing for the Sou’West pageants every year I have competed, they are a soft sparkly blue with a mermaid down the T-strap. I had some red lobster accessories as a nod to my routine from last year (it’s always been one of my favourites) so I wore an Erstwilder brooch and earrings from Luxulite. To top it off and to promote sun safety, I wore a short straw hat and attached a bright pink ribbon to match my shorts. I’m a big believer in matchy-matchy and I wanted to look tied together. I was just planning on having my hair in a simple brush out with a front roll. As for makeup, it was standard pinup makeup with a bit more glitter around the eyes as it’s a stage performance and glitter is always necessary.
Now, onto props. The first thing I did was paint my fishing rod bright pink. I added pink glitter to the handle so it looked two toned and not just one flat shade. The glitter made it a bit more fun and silly as I believe pinup pageants should be, being serious and perfect is boring. Next I ordered a vintage looking fishing basket which I attached some crystals to. I wanted it to have a bit of sparkle as ever since I bought my own hot-fix crystal applicator, it’s one of my favourite things to do. I had already purchased a fake fish for this routine as we were still on the original concept at the time and when it arrived we did think about using it but I had already so much going on that we didn’t end up using it. Don’t worry, it was still covered in crystals.
Part of my routine was to just give up fishing and eat take out instead. I thought about having a mobile and “calling” for takeout or placing an order but I was already carrying enough and didn’t want it too clunky. So instead, I just got a brown paper bag and painted the words ‘Filet-O Fish’ on the front so everyone would know that I still had a fish dinner. I painted the words in bright red, outlined the letters to make them easy to read and attached some crystals, you know, because I couldn’t resist. Lastly, I ordered a fake burger prop online, covered it in crystals and placed it inside my paper bag. Whilst practicing, I used a different paper bag so the one I had painted wouldn’t get damaged. For the routine, I kept my burger bag inside my basket; I didn’t want to run off stage and break the fantasy by having to grab food so I kept it all on stage with me.
Right, I had my hair and makeup planned, my outfit was ready to go and all my props too. After practicing a couple of times, I was pretty much ready to go. As the pageant is down south, about two hours from where I live, I was very lucky in being able to turn it into a girls weekend away with my pinup bestie Miss Vintage Orchid. We drove down on the day, checked into a motel, got ready for the pageant and enjoyed all the amazing things and shopping booths on offer from the event itself. I was so happy to have a friend with me cheering me on, Miss Vintage Orchid is always such a great support and I loved hearing her cheers and happy screams whilst I was on stage.
I’ve always loved the girls that participated in this pageant. There’s a real sense of fun, sisterhood and relaxation between everyone. Sure there are nerves but I’ve never felt any malice or ill will towards another contestant. I love waiting back stage and spending time with the other contestants as we always laugh and joke as we help each other get ready. I hope more pageants are this friendly and lovely in the future. There is always lots of cheering and happy screaming from the girls as one of us is on stage, its really lovely and heart warming. Such supportive pageants are rare.
I was super happy with how my routine turned out, my skirt worked and perfectly flew over my head, I had a delicious fish burger dinner and failed at fishing. All in all a wonderful routine. The thing I loved the most was my pinup friend Miss Delza Skye came up with a similar routine but she had a barbecue burn her food and so she ordered uber eats. Amazing how we both came up with the same routine and the minute we realised, we just laughed because it was such a coincidence. None of us had told anyone else what we were doing and nothing was shared online so it really was great minds thinking alike.
There’s always a lot of kids at the Sou’West Vintage Fest as it’s super family friendly and loads of fun. The kids always sit close to the stage and their reactions are sometime the best thing. When I flung my skirt over my head, the roar of laughter almost made me break character especially when one little girl yelled out “oh no! It’s her bottom!” which made it very hard to keep a straight face. I hope they all know it was very well planned but even if they didn’t, at least I kept going which is all that matters in life.
There were so many great routines and the cheers and laughter from the crowd was always amazing to hear. We all knew it was going to be a difficult decision for the judges as everyone was so well polished. After doing this pageants for three years, I have seen so many of the regular contestants really grow and shine so much brighter on stage. The gorgeous Delza Skye took home People’s Choice as voted online. Miss Daisy Grace took home the special encouragement award because oh my goodness she was amazing on stage and totally stept out of her comfort zone (I think it was her first pageant as well!) and Madame Demi Diva took out runner up. I have been coming Runner Up for Miss Sou’West Vintage Fest for two years in a row and honestly, I think I’m super glad I had been as it meant I could just keep coming back and doing more weird and wonderful things onstage. Alas, this year, when they announced the winner, it was me much to my shock and amusement. The lovely Miss Lexi Heart filmed the final announcement if you’d like to watch it for yourself.
I was so shocked when I won. I know everyone always says this but I really wasn’t expecting it. I would have happily come back in 2020 for another go as I just love doing this pageant so much. When my name was announced I remember hearing Sarah from Red Leopard scream which made it all the more real. I just remember so many people cheering for me which was really lovely. It was a highlight of my year. I finally got my special surfboard (because there’s no crown for this pageant) and another bucket full of fun prizes. We were spoilt this year with loads of fun goodies.
I’m really looking forward to coming back next year and both being on the new advertisement poster and a judge for 2020. I don’t think I stopped smiling all evening. I also really treasured the hug I received from Miss Vintage Orchid when we finally met up after it all happened. I couldn’t have done it without her and she really helped me with my planning and even choosing the fabric for my half skirt. After some photos and dancing, we slowly said goodbye to everyone and headed out. The kitchen had closed early and we were starving. The only place left to get food was a Chinese Restaurant so we had celebratory Sweet and Sour Pork in bed wearing pyjamas whilst watching RuPaul’s Drag Race.
As I’ve wrapped up my final pageant for 2019, it’s certainly been a busy one with many highs and lows. I’m really hoping that next year I can reach bigger goals and travel even more. I can’t wait to take part in the Sou’West Vintage Fest for 2020 and this time I’ll be dragging my pinup bestie onto the stage. I had someone ask me how many times would I have participated before I gave up on Miss Sou’West; I just said that it’s never about winning. I would have done this pageants until the very end simply because it’s always been fun, I’ve always gotten super crafty and the girls that take part are so lovely. After three years of taking part, I’m excited to do it all again next year for the fourth year but be on the other side of the stage for once.
I’ve got my eye on a few new pageants next year including the possibility of another national pageants but I’m not sure of anything. I do know that this year has helped me grow and become more confident and a stronger person overall. Hopefully I can continue writing about pageants 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.