Keep Calm and Smile: My First Pin-Up Contest

When Mike and I signed up to bring our vintage camper to Symco Weekender (you can read more about the event in my last post), there was just one thing that got me even more excited than the prospect of showing off our sweet little Shasta Compact . . . just two words . . . 

Pin-up Contest.  

Now, I've never in my life actually seen a pin-up contest.  I wasn't even 100% sure what a pin-up contest entailed, to be honest.  But boy, was I enthralled at the prospect of participating.   

Mike caught me starring at the sign-up form multiple times.  "Just do it," he said, "You'll regret it if you don't."  

So, with Mike behind me, I took the leap and signed up! 

I'm pretty sure he regretted encouraging me . . . between the endless conversations of me obsessing over what I should wear,  the sweating in the blazing hot sun for an hour watching the show, and the number of times strangers stopped me to ask for a photo with me . . . the man put up with a lot for me to do the show, ha! 

Since I had never seen a show, I did a fair bit of research about pin-up contests prior to the event.  Here in the Northland, the car show culture doesn't prevail quite the same way as it does elsewhere, but down in the southern part of Wisconsin, and our neighboring states, it seems like every decent car show comes with a pin-up contest.  It's a crowd-draw and gets people to the event.  They're also not quite as scandalous as some people seem to think-- I mean, this isn't a burlesque show or anything!  Do things get a little saucy with innuendos? Well, sure.  But generally, these shows are considered family events.  

I had to pick a pin-up name, and after much brainstorming, I settled on Sweet Lucy LaBelle (a combination of some family names of Mike's and mine).  I wanted to keep Molly, but there were so many pin-ups that I already had Molly as their fake name, that I didn't feel like I could keep mine, ha! 

Guys.  I stressed so, so much about what to wear.  So much.  I sewed up an outfit or two.  I hated them.  I bought some outfits.  I returned them.  I did a fashion show for my husband on our deck.  He said everything looked nice (he had to say that).  

Finally, I was down to a red and white polka dotted dress, decked out with jewelry, gloves, and ah-mazing vintage shoes and then a red swim top with high-waisted shorts and t-strap shoes.  

I erred on the side of standing out, and went with the latter. 

Symco Weekender Pin-Up Contest Sweet Lucy LaBelle

I loved this outfit from the get-go, but just worried that it wasn't sweet enough.  Or dressy enough.  Or that everyone else would be full glam.  But I did a little chatting with people about the feel for this show-- I was told it's a little more rockabilly and fun in terms of dress.  Some shows are stricter about wanting you wearing true vintage dress.  Most say no lingerie, no burlesque, and no swim suits.  For this show, however, Annie (the organizer) was actually encouraging us to wear swim-- she said it was a great, supportive crowd and to go for it.  

Wisconsin Pin-Up Contest Sweet Lucy LaBelle

I picked up my outfit from Unique Vintage.  If I could just have one of everything on their site, I would have a happy closet.  These shorts are the absolute best; they fit like a dream and are majorly flattering.  The swim top came in a few colors, but I was sticking to a red, black, and white color palette for all my Symco outfits.  I even picked up some awesome nylons from Unique Vintage

Unique Vintage Pin-up Contest Outfit Sweet Lucy LaBelle

So, finally, after all the obsessing, all the reading, all the stressing, the day was finally here.  I got my hair done with the fabulous ladies with Bonnie Holly.  I got dressed in the camper.  I did the lashes, the make-up, the parasol.  I got these sweet t-strap heels from Amazon. 

1972 Shasta Compact Lucy LaBelle pin-up

If you've never been to a pin-up show either, here's how this one is set up:  There are 20 girls.  We each have a pre-written bio (who we are, where we're from, favorite classic car, three vices, favorite classic icon).  For round one, the emcee reads our bio while we do poses and play the crowd.  From there, it's narrowed down to the top 10.  The top ten each get asked a random question.  After the Q&A round, the winners are chosen.  Not bad, right? Pretty low-key.  

Miss Symco Pin-Up Contest Wisconsin 2018

I was contest 15.  I was dying backstage waiting for my turn for round one.  

I finally make it out there, and I'm shaking so bad, I'm so nervous.  Guys, I have done a TON of theatre over the course of my life.   I don't get stage-fright.  But I was dying, I was so nervous.  I was shaking so badly that I couldn't even hold my poses.   

Miss Symco Pin-Up Contest 2018 Wisconsin Pin-up Sweet Lucy LaBelle

But, I kept smiling.  And I didn't freeze.  I giggled when I fell over.  And I kept on smiling.  

Miss Symco 2018 Wisconsin Pin-Up Contest Sweet Lucy LaBelle

I thought for sure there was no stinking way that I made it in the the top ten.  But, miracle of miracles, I did!!! 

Miss Symco Pin-Up Contest 2018 Top Ten

Round 2, I wasn't nervous about at all.  The random question I got was, "If you could do anything with out consequence what would it be?" 

Remember how hot I said it was?  I felt so bad for the audience, they were baking.  So my answer was to go skinny dipping in the Little Wolf River, and I invited the crowd, ha!  

After that the winners were chosen.  I didn't win, but I was totally okay with that.  I'm thankful that I made it to the top ten, and got to have some stage time where I wasn't so nervous.  

After the show, I got to meet the Shannon Brooke, pin-up photographer extraordinaire (seriously, look at her work, she is amazing).  She was one of the judges for the contest and was so stinkin' sweet.

Sweet Lucy LaBelle and Shannon Brooke

Patti Pierogi was the emcee for the show.  It was fun getting to chat with her and get some advice (she's won only about a billion contests!).  

Sweet Lucy LaBelle and Patti Pierogi

And my dear friend, Shelby Cole was there to cheer me on!  She's a friend from the on-line sewing world, and she used to do pin-up contests too.  It was amazing getting to meet her in real life. 

Symco Pin-Up Contest with Shelby

Over all, I had a blast and I'm so glad I gave it a whirl.  I definitely want to do another one now that I know what the heck I'm doing.  Walking around afterwards, everyone was so nice and supportive.  I seriously can't wait to do another one! 

Pin-up contest wisconsin Lucy LaBelle

The next day, Symco was over.  Yesterday's make-up, falling victory rolls, packing up the camper in my new Miss Symco tank.  I can officially say I'm a pin-up! <3 

Miss Symco Pin-up Contest

Sweet Lucy LaBelle

P.S. Here are all those links one more time: 
Event: Symco Weekender
Outfit: Unique Vintage
Shoes: Amazon
Earrings: Birch in Lake Nebagamon, WI
Hair: Nichole from the Cutting Edge in Racine, WI

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