Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Pinup by Liz tips: Competing in pinup contests

I thought it was about time to write a blog post with some tips for pin up contests!  Although I have never personally competed in a pin up contest, I have worked plenty behind the scenes now, either by sponsoring, judging, or organizing them.  Now that I've done this for a few years, I've noticed a trend in things that can help a girl score well in contests, and I thought I'd share what I've seen for those preparing for fall car show season! My experience is from contests in Oklahoma, but I'm sure the same tips could apply to any pin up contest across the country!

All of the lovely contestants at the Stray Kat 500 pinup contest in Dewey, OK
First, keep in mind that car clubs and event organizers usually hold pin up contests as a source of entertainment.  The contest itself is a small part of a bigger scheme to attract more people, be a source of entertainment, and to have pin up models present at the event. Show some respect for this and don't show up only for the pin up contest.  Plan to attend the entire car show, mingle with spectators, and be a part of the event.  

Pin up contests can be judged by a multitude of things, and each contest is different, but categories you can usually count to be judged on are your overall style of dress, hair and makeup, and how you behave on stage.  
Contestants at the Oriental Cabaret pin up contest in Tulsa, OK

Dress:  When it's time to walk across the stage, bring out your highest heels, your best dress, and make sure your hair and makeup are on point! I've added up the scores for quite a few contests now, and I've noticed that the more casually dressed contestants always score lower. The more unique your dress, the better! This is time to stand out! If you don't feel confident in your own hair and makeup styling, a pinup contest is a perfect opportunity to hire a stylist. Hair, makeup, and dress are usually a large portion of pinup contest judging, so make sure you wear your absolute best on stage! And make sure that you research any dress codes or themes that may be involved.  Many pin up contests are at family friendly events like car shows, so you'll want to keep your outfit suitable for young eyes! Some contests won't allow things like bathing suits or lingerie, and some have multiple wardrobe changes, or set themes for the girls to follow. Make sure you find out all of these details in advance so that you can keep up! I've also noticed that many girls will bring flats to wear for most of the car show and bring heels to change into when it's time for the contest to begin.
The top winners at the Oriental Cabaret pinup contest
Hair and makeup:  Get on YouTube and practice some pin up styles!  A pincurled and styled coif, victory rolls, or another elaborate hairstyle typically scores higher than something more simple like a ponytail and scarf.  When you do your makeup, remember that you will often be on a stage or at a distance from the judges, so going a little heavier than your usual daytime look might be a good idea. 

Stage presence is huge!  I know it's easy to get nervous on stage, but take your time.  The few minutes that you have to walk across the stage is your biggest chance to wow the judges, and if you just quickly run across the stage, nobody has time to really score you!  Pause for poses, wave, smile, blow kisses, make eye contact with the judges and spectators.  Come up with something to make it your own, whether that involves a signature pose, a special accessory, or something else.  Get creative!  If you have to speak while on stage, speak clearly and confidently and with a smile. Just don't hog the stage either!  Often you should be able to ask beforehand how much time you'll have on stage and be able to come up with a game plan.

Sportsmanlike conduct:  Pinup contests are extremely fun and a great way to make friends that like vintage styles as much as you do. But keep in mind that this is a contest, and you are being judged.  Many pinup contestants may not be aware that at some events they are not only being judged on stage, but offstage and throughout the event.  Events often host pinup contests because they want girls in vintage style clothing walking around the cars and mingling with attendees. The girls that are walking around in the hours before the contest starts, getting involved in the event, and getting to know people are usually the ones that get noticed more at the contest.  Sometimes you don't know who the pinup contest judges are till the contest starts, or sometimes the crowd helps judge by applause or voting ballots, so getting your face in front of people and being friendly in the hours leading up to the contest can go a long way.

The top winners of the Stray Kat 500 Miss Kitty pinup contest
 Also ladies, I sometimes see pinups publicly complaining about pinup contests on their social media pages when they don't get chosen as a finalist, don't win, or don't feel the contest went the way they wanted it to. This looks very unprofessional, and in fact could very well affect how people feel about you participating in their contests in the future. Stay supportive, stay positive, and respect the opinions of the judges.

Most of all, show gratitude.  Car clubs, event organizers, and sponsors put a lot of time, money, and hard work into putting on pinup contests. Having a sore loser attitude doesn't benefit anyone involved. When a contest is over, make a point to stick around, thank the people involved in making it happen, congratulate the winners, pose for photos with spectators, and keep it an overall positive experience. In the days after the contest, take a moment on your social media pages to give a shout out to sponsors and event organizers.  If nothing else, actions like this will be remembered at the following year's pinup contest!

Contestants at SW Tulsa's Route 66 Patriot Car Show pin up contestt
Hexi Lee Voodoo, a popular Tulsa area pin up contest host, has this to say about contests, "I believe that as a pinup whether you are competing on a stage, or prepping for a photo shoot, or on social media that kindness and professionalism is the key to success. If you are professional and kind in all aspects of your pinup experience, you are setting yourself and others up for success! Always bring a parasol, and don't be afraid to step out of that comfort zone and talk to people you don't know or haven't met in real life. You could be making life long friends as well as business partners!!!"


Jenni Foxx, who won first place this year at the Stray Kat 500's Miss Kitty contest and Southwest Tulsa Patriot Car Show's Miss Route 66 contest, recently spoke about this subject in her interview with Pink Peacock Pinup magazine.  Here's what she had to say, " Engage your audience AND your competition. Now is not the time for you to sit still and be quiet, now is the time for you to talk to people, get to know the other girls and build some rapport. Be so charming that the other girls will be excited for your win! Your costume/outfit, props, accessories, hair & makeup play a large part in the judging decision. Going casual won’t impress the judges or engage the audience. In fact, it may even appear to be dispassionate when standing next to ladies that worked hours on their outfits, hair and makeup. If you’re not sure how handle all of it on your own, reach out to your local pinup girls. We LOVE passing on beauty secrets and wardrobe advice. DON’T BE A SORE LOSER! It speaks volumes about a lady’s character when she speaks negatively about the winner, or when she posts up to social media expressing disappointment in the chosen winners and/or how contest was run. This type of behavior is childish and will not paint you out to be a winner of any sort. If you do not agree with the turnout of a contest, do not enter next year. It is really that simple."

And one last tip that doesn't have anything to do with the contest itself, but gets noticed by car people at the shows.  Don't touch the cars without permission!  When you're all pinned up, I know it's exciting to take selfies or work with a photographer to shoot on all the beautiful classic cars, but don't forget that these cars are the result of years of hard work and thousands of dollars. Don't lean on them, sit on them, or rest your high heels on them.  I see girls doing this quite a bit, and the last thing we want is for car owners to get angry.  We're in their territory when at a car show, and we need to respect that.  The best thing to do is find the car owner and ask their permission before posing with their car. If the owner isn't present and you still decide to take photos with the car, please do so with keeping your hands and body off of the car. If you've shot with me at a car show, you know that I always seek out the owner and preach at my clients to not touch the paint. I've heard owners complain before that pinup girls are way too hands on with cars and they worry about scratches, so let's do what we can to avoid a careless reputation!








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