my first (and only?) pinup contest

On Saturday, I competed in Kochanski’s Miss Polish Pinup Princess Pageant, part of the annual Polish Pile-Up car show. I’d actually registered for this competition last year only to wake up terribly ill the morning of the contest, so this was a long time coming. I finally decided to take the leap, after watching a number of contests at other car shows, and go for it myself.

Did all my pinup dreams come true? Well…not exactly.

Pinup girl

It was super fun getting ready for the contest (I successfully wore false eyelashes!) and hanging out with the other contestants before the contest began. I’d just presented an award a few days before, so my nerves weren’t too bad. There was a lot of bubbly excitement and anticipation, waiting inside for my name and number to be called. I strutted my stuff in front of the crowd and returned, a little breathless, to wait “backstage” with the other ladies. And then I was eliminated in the first round, and…that was that. End of the line.

In retrospect, I’m not sure exactly what made me, someone both highly anxious and extremely competitive, decide that inviting strangers to judge me on my looks was a good idea. Obviously, losing is always a bummer. But this definitely hit me harder than I really expected. I’ve never been a graceful loser. Not in elementary school spelling bees, not auditioning for shows throughout high school and college, and not now. And in general, one of the most important lessons I’ve learned regarding improving my mental health is that I don’t have to put myself in situations that will make me unhappy. Sometimes the reward is worth the turmoil, but as nice as a sash and tiara are…in the end, I don’t think that outweighs feeling crummy. Isn’t that what well-adjusted adulthood is all about?

Looking back at the day, the parts that really made me happy weren’t related to actually competing at all. It was spending time with cool ladies who shared my interests, having fun snapping pictures, admiring each other’s outfits, and generally having a good time. For the forseeable future, I think that I’ll stay in the role of cheerleader. I’ll get glammed up to stand in the crowd and raucously applaud for the fabulous ladies on stage, and we’ll all have more fun that way.

Have you ever done a pinup contest? Do you think I’m a weirdo for reacting like this (I kind of think I am…) or do you get it?

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5 Comment

  1. Reply
    June 27, 2017 at 9:29 am

    I feel like it was so brave of you to put yourself out there like that! I have always had deep seeded self image issues and the idea of being on stage, let alone asking people to judge me completely freaks me out. That being said though I think it is so important to get your take on pinup out there. Before I started following you on social media I thought pinups were 100% vamped and heeled at all times. You’re brand takes that sex appeal and mixes it with whimsy, quirk and…well…geekery to create something light and just plain fun. It sucks you didn’t make it further, but don’t let it get to you. There are plenty of us out here who think you deserve a sash and a tiara.

    1. Reply
      Penny Snark
      June 27, 2017 at 10:26 am

      Thank you <33 That's so sweet of you, and it means a lot to me to hear! I'm definitely going to keep repping for the nerdy glamour girls!

  2. Reply
    Pamela Marie
    June 27, 2017 at 7:06 pm

    Penny, I thought you did an amazing job and presented yourself very well. I, myself have several of the same thoughts when competing in pinup contests. It’s really very subjective to those 3 people that happen to be “judging” and in the end, the results shouldn’t matter, but in reality it came lead to a lot of hurt feelings. I hope you aren’t totally discouraged if you had fun in the end. Honestly, this is one of the reasons I came up with the idea of organizing a retro themed fashion show “A Retro Affair”. I want everyone to just have fun, feel confident, and build on friendships and supporting others.

    1. Reply
      Penny Snark
      June 27, 2017 at 8:45 pm

      Thanks, Pam <33 I totally agree about having fun & supporting each other...I know a lot of gals really love competing, and I love coming to watch and cheer them on! Plus, if I'm not on stage, it gives everyone the opportunity to admire my fabulous outfit from close up 😉 I hope I'll be in town so I can participate in your show next time around!

  3. Reply
    Patti Pierogi
    June 28, 2017 at 12:15 am

    When I entered my first contest, in all blaitant honesty, I was scared shitless… since then, I’ve gone on to compete in 12 contests, and have been fortunate enough to come home with 11 titles. Not all of them wins… and as someone who is also fiercely competitive, even with a sash over my shoulder, I’ve asked myself the same questions. “Okay, so, what did I do wrong? What did I forget? Did I ramble? Did I look nervous? Did I look fat? We’re my poses weak? What did I do?” But instead of beating myself up over it, I just keep those questions in mind when I try again next time.

    Sometimes it’s hard to figure out what a judge is looking for, or what they consider to be “the right thing”, or the “it factor”. The truth is: no one but that judge knows. It’s not easy to put yourself out there, but the fact of the matter is YOU DID IT. You got up there and did what thousands of other women would say they wish they could do. And the things you enjoyed the most? That’s what pinup is truly about. We may be competing against one another for a prize, but the fact of the matter is that we are in it TOGETHER.

    If I had the money to buy 14 crowns for all of this weekends contestants, I would have. There was not a single person there that would have made anyone say “She doesn’t have a prayer.” You did amazingly well. Truly. And that’s not just placating your feelings here- I’m saying that there was a four way tie to make the top half of the contest… you were a part of it! That makes judging a thousand times more difficult! I did not envy their position by any stretch of the imagination!

    What I’m saying is do not, under any circumstances, beat yourself up over this, and definitely do not let it discourage you in any way whatsoever.

    You are gorgeous… hell, I ran into you at Target and you looked contest ready, and that just happened to be on a random afternoon! You’ve got the look. You understand the retro lifestyle. And I know you’ve definitely got the wardrobe (If you ever part with your outfit from this weekend, CALL ME. I absolutely DIED when I saw it. It was perfect!).

    You CAN do this, and you did. Take pride in yourself for trying something new… and I sincerely hope you consider trying it again!

    You ARE good enough, you’re smart enough, and doggonit, PEOPLE LIKE YOU. I know I do!

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