Pinup is very much about women coming together, sharing the love of vintage fashion, making new friends, and having fun. If you’re lucky, at the end of a pageant, you might come away with a crown, but most girls will tell you that they don’t enter to win a crown or sash and that the experience is just as rewarding just for being a part of it.
While all of this is true, what is also true is that for every girl who is there to make friends and have fun, there are two more who let the pressure get to them and become the worst versions of themselves. What this looked like at shows that I was involved in was girls throwing my shoes across the dressing room because they were ‘in her way,’ lining up to go on stage for announcements and having the girl in front of me calling the organisers some of the most awful names I’ve ever heard, having things stolen from my bag, and girls leaving shows without stopping to congratulate the winner and making her feel like poo.
I would have liked to have won a crown during my pageant time, but I didn’t and that’s okay. My finalist sash from Miss Cooly Rocks On in 2014 is a prized possession and actually, Cooly, my first ever pageant, was my favourite of all of the shows I did. Most of the others I was in, I dreaded going on stage because of things that happened in the lead up, or I walked away in tears for one reason or another.
I want to point out, because it’s not hard to know which pageants I went in, that not one of the things that made me upset was about the organisers, the events, or the pageants themselves. More, I was deeply affected by the bad behaviour of a small minority of girls to the point where I couldn’t continue putting myself through the stress.
I’m grateful for all the opportunities I was given — and even though I didn’t win a crown, I got into some big shows and am really proud, pleased and thankful of what I did achieve. I made some amazing friends, I feel a lot more comfortable at events, and, probably most importantly, pageants gave me a good push to get back on stage which was my ultimate goal.
It may not sound like it, but I wouldn’t swap my experience for the world and I also would never discourage anyone thinking about doing pageants from entering. Just make sure you stay true to yourself, don’t take it too seriously, don’t let a few bad eggs sour the experience for you and most importantly, have fun.
In the coming months, I’ll have some interviews with some pageant winners and girls who are currently competing in shows so that you can hear some other opinions and get some tips from people who are still relevant in the pageant world too! So if you have any questions or girls that you’d love to hear from, please leave me a comment here or send an email to littleredwrites[@]gmail.com. If you haven’t had a chance to listen to my interview with This Retro Life, you can find it via this link or subscribe wherever you get your podcasts from.