Miss Pinup Jaimee bringing up-dos and eyeliner to Waikino
This year’s Miss Pinup New Zealand is a girl from the gorge: 29-year-old Jaimee Beck, who goes by Velvet DeCollete on stage.
Pinup pageants are not your typical beauty competitions — they promote voluptuousness and quirk, colour and community. This competition was bright with blue hair, flamingo print dresses, and the highest of patent leather heels.
First-time entrant Beck is based in Waikino, a small Waikato town, next to the Karangahake Gorge, where she and her husband are restoring an historic tavern.
She appreciated the pinup scene for its ‘‘strong sense of sisterhood’’ and that her penchant for vintage clothing came thanks to her mum, who ‘‘always loved the style’’.
Winged eyeliner, flounced skirts, and carefully coiffed hair are staples of pinup fashion. Rockabilly dresses with tightly cinched waists — and sweetheart necklines that celebrate the bust — are de rigueur, as are excited shrieks and hugs all round.
‘‘The community support is the best thing about this scene,’’ Beck said. ‘‘You know everyone and you know they’ve got your back — which probably makes it rather different to other beauty pageants.’’
The co-owner of yesterday’s Auckland waterfront event as part of the annual Very Vintage Day Out, Sheena Oughton, said the competition was for people who loved the vintage lifestyle.
‘‘There’s a surprising amount of people incorporating elements of pinup into their lives, all over New Zealand. It’s about going back to a simpler time, I think.’’
Beck and her fellow finalists paraded in day wear, swimwear and evening wear. They also performed an act for the talent portion of the show: Beck did a sketch of a dress by iconic costume designer Edith Head.
Jaimee Beck enjoys the support she receives from fellow members of the pinup community.