This year was my third time entering the famous Viva Las Vegas Pin Up Contest and it turned out to be third time lucky as I was selected as a judges choice.
It had been a very long term goal I was working towards, having had my entry
photos taken by the one and only Sherbet Birdie in March...when entries didn't open until October! Anyone who knows me, knows this level of planning is nothing out of the usual! Think of me as Monica from Friends: I find some sort of sick pleasure in organising.
It was a long and anxious wait between entering and then waiting for the announcement, though I enjoyed watching the pool of beautiful babes from all over the world as it began to grow. I couldn't believe it when I received the email of the judges top 6 out of the 180 entrants, only to see my name in the list. I was already excited about attending my first Viva and now I got to be a part of the contest too!
The lead up to the contest was a really wonderful time in which I took the opportunity to do lots of things I'd said I'd do "one day". I had a hair lesson with Jacqueline Furey, a make up tutorial with Melody Caitlin and went and had my brows properly shaped by a pro (as the horror of high school and thin brows of the early 2000's still haunts me). Many of these things I should have just treated myself to, but it was good to have an excuse!
I enjoyed planning some cute marketing collateral for the event with the help of my in house soul mate/ graphic designer David which included Lucy Luxe stickers, Luxe Lips lip balms and Lucy's Lads and Ladies t shirts. Though these were only originally intended to be worn by my pals actually attending the event with me, I was surprised by the amount of people back home who wanted in on the action too!
Which leads me to my next point: Prepping for the contest really showed me what a
massive support network I have around me, all of whom I have to thank for the role they have each played in building me up and supporting me. This has really shaped me into the confident pin up I am today and it was really wonderful to have the opportunity to acknowledge this and thank all of these individuals. I'm a firm believer that it's a collective effort and really value those around me that have faith in me when my own is lacking.
Despite appearing as an outgoing people person, I am very much an extroverted introvert and can assure you that whilst I've definitely grown more confident thanks to pinup and burlesque, I am still very much an anxious and stressed wreck a lot of the time! But I like to take the opportunity to mention and attempt to normalise this because I like people to know I'm very much human and have my less sparkly side despite what social media may lead you to believe!
In the lead up to the big event there was outfit planning: Lots of outfit planning. I needed to wear something show stopping, unique and simply me in a dress for the contest itself; which was where the outstanding Coppelia Jane came into the picture. She didn't so much as blink and eyelid when I said I wanted a dress that changed in both silhouette and colour and created an amazing gown that allowed me to pull a total Katniss Everdeen on stage at the event! It was great to support another lovey and talented local creative and showcase their skills on an international stage.
Viva itself was just....well there are no words. It was amazing attending an event of this scale that celebrates so many things that I love: Confident pinups, sweet rides, good tunes, vintage threads and so much more. The only problem was how quick it all went! I was sad I didn't get to spend more time with the other pinup finalists before taking to the stage with them on Saturday morning for the contest. This is something I've experienced in almost everything I've been involved in over the years and it's a real shame because getting to know new people and making new friends is undoubtedly the best part of being involved in such events. Everything else taking place at the event keeps everyone busy and occupied and down time isn't really a thing!
Before the contest I was incredibly nervous. I'd had an awesome morning meeting and greeting car show goers but the scale of the event came down like a heavy weight on me. Thankfully, when I took to the stage I felt the butterflies float away and it dawned on me just how many people had come to watch the presentation and I felt very special to be one of few ladies who get to experience this moment and showcase themselves to such a big audience. I was excited the audience responded in the way I had hoped to my sneaky outfit transition. I could see expressions of both shock and delight which was just what I was after!
All of my fellow finalists looked gorgeous as they too, had their special moment on the big stage. The judges only took a few moments to decide on those to take home a little prize and I was thrilled to be announced as winner of Best Wardrobe.
Heloise Bow Flapper from Italy took home Best Makeup, Lily White from Florida with Best Hair and the leading ladies: 2nd Runner Up to the Dutch Pinup from The Netherlands, Runner Up to Daniel Dearlove and Miss VLV herself Miss Monique Sweet (both ladies hailing from New Zealand).
And just like that, the big moment was over! As always, so much build up and in the blink of an eye it was done. As I pen this two weeks after the contest I am so incredibly grateful for the experience, for the journey and for my new international pinup pals who I shared this experience with and who I hope I continue to get to know even after the fact.
Above all, I am thankful for a platform that has encouraged the further growth I can see in in myself. Whilst yes, this was a contest, I am only ever interested in competing with and improving on myself and myself only. Being one of the few people to even have the chance to take part in this contest makes me and every other finalist a winner, irrespective of who actually takes home any titles. It's the personal achievement that's the real prize in my eyes.
I have blogged about my own personal experiences in various pin up contests on my website with the hope women perhaps pondering getting involved can read someone else's experience and hopefully see it all as a little less daunting and a bit more inviting! If of interest, you can read more at www.lucyluxepinup.com
Like anything, sadly there are individuals who have had a less positive experience with pinup, which always really upsets and angers me because it goes without saying that pinup is meant to be about empowerment and building one another up. I like to do my part (even if only small) to create an open dialogue and a welcoming and supportive environment that promotes self love and fosters growth.
Being a part of the one and only Viva Las Vegas Pin Up Contest was genuinely something I had only ever dreamed about. I never thought it would become a reality, though the fact that it did should act as a wonderful reminder for all those reading this that anything is possible.
xoxo Lucy Luxe