So you’re entering a Pinup Pageant…

So you’re entering a Pinup Pageant…

Summer events season is rapidly approaching, and with that, pageant season!

So many car shows and vintage events have pinup pageants or best dressed competitions now, and it’s always so fun to go along and watch all the gorgeous babes strut their stuff on stage. They’re definitely an event highlight for me because the contestants always vary so much in age, size, and style, and it’s awesome to see such a varied mix of people being celebrated by our community!

With the event calendar filling up quickly, and a team full of pinup contest veterans (The BSD squad have entered, won, sponsored, or judged probably 100 pageants, both all over NZ and internationally) I figured I’d put together a quick little list of my pageant do’s and don’t’s for anyone thinking of entering any of the competitions around the country this summer.




Do – Plan!

Plan your outfit / outfits carefully! Pick things that make you feel amazing, and accessorise well – the judges always notice the attention to detail that goes into a well crafted ensemble, so make sure you have thought through your whole look from head to toe!

Don’t – Panic!

Judges are always looking, first and foremost, for confidence, so don’t sweat the small stuff!
If your outfit doesn’t quite come together the way you plan, or something happens on the day, just let it slide and walk that catwalk like you own it.

No amount of preparation can stop shoe buckles from failing, necklaces from breaking, or zips from busting (believe me, the zip on my gown for Miss Pinup NZ broke so I had to do the eveningwear section with my dress pinned shut!) so keep a handful of safety pins in your bag and it’ll all be ok! The people you are competing alongside will help you, just like you should help them. 

Do – Adapt!

If you aren’t sure what to wear, have a look to see what kind of event it is – pageants at car shows often have more of a rockabilly-hot-rod-girl vibe, whereas at vintage events generally classic pinup / true vintage is more their thing.

Don’t – Cave!

Tailoring your look to fit the vibe of the crowd is all well and good, but don’t lose yourself in that. If you are a sassy badass babe surrounded by frilly pinups in giant petticoats, then that’s awesome. You have an opportunity to stand out and be fabulous, so grab it with both hands! You want the judges to be able to look at you and work out what you're all about, so keep that in mind when you're selecting an outfit. 

 Do – Socialise!

While there is obviously an element of competition between you and the other entrants, pageants are such a good opportunity to meet people! Nothing brings people together like shared experience, so chat to your fellow competitors and help each other out – You could make lifelong friends, or at least get to know some other local pinup girls to go to future events with (or who knows, you could get poached to work for the Beauty School Dropouts, like Sarah and Nicole did!)


Don’t – Compare!

As soon as you start comparing yourself to other people, you’ve lost. Plain and simple. And this goes both ways – Sabotaging yourself because you think other people will do better than you is unhealthy, but what’s equally unhealthy is thinking that you’re better than other people. Be confident, not cocky, because the only person you should be worried about is yourself. If you find yourself getting into that slightly toxic headspace, take a few deep breaths and remind yourself that this should be a fun thing, not a battle royale. 

Do – Speak Up!

Answer questions clearly and concisely. Speak directly into the microphone and enunciate, and if you find yourself rushing then take a breath and slow down. The audience wants to know what you have to say, so make sure they can hear you clearly, and that you are delivering a short and sweet response that stays on topic.

Don’t – Phone it in!

Only a monster wouldn’t want world peace, so there’s no need to pull out the classic Miss Universe shite. Think outside the box for your responses, and make sure your message is something that will show the judges what matters to you. Be gracious, be humble, and don’t be self-centred - If your question is about why you should win, then talk about what you want to do for other people, don’t make it about what you want the title to do for you.

Do – Smile!

Whenever you are in front of the judges, make an effort to look like you want to be there! If you are in a lineup of other contestants it’s so important to stay focused and look happy to be part of it all, because you never know when they are looking at you.

Don’t – Be a sore loser!

Unfortunately not everyone can win, and even if you think you’ve got it in the bag you never know what the judges are looking for until the results are announced. Basically, don’t be a dick. Temper tantrums aren’t pretty, and rolling your eyes and stamping your feet isn’t going to change the result, so play nice.

Be supportive of other contestants, applaud and cheer, and make sure that they feel the love too – you’ve all done something huge, and you all deserve to be celebrated!

Do – Enjoy!

These competitions are just a bit of fun, nobody should be staking their livelihoods on them, so just relax and enjoy the experience!


Don’t – Be Discouraged!

You might not win, and that sucks, but come back next year and try again! There are so many events and so many competitions out there, so don’t let this one loss stop you from entering other things. Use it as a learning experience from which to grow as a person, and don’t take it personally! You’re still a rad human, even without a sash.

I hope this has helped some of you to consider throwing your hat in the ring at the next pinup pageant you come across!

Until next time,
<3 Fran

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