With the distinct hum of engines echoing through streets, the smell petrol in the air and the 10 pinup perfect participants dressed in their very best 1950s garage glam, the stage was set for the Inaugural Miss Rockabilly-Nats Pinup Competition.
With over $3000 in prizes on offer and finalists having travelled from as far south as Brisbane to compete, the pageant was a highly anticipated addition to Rare Spares Rockynats 02.
Entrants were required to dress, act, and present themselves in true 1950s garage-inspired style and they took the stage for their 60 second routine, with the judging panel scoring them on their adherence to theme, personality and energy, and audience interaction. With prizes awarded to the Winner, 1st Runner Up, 2nd Runner Up and two encouragement awards, the competition saw over half of the finalists go home with a crown.
Judging panellist and local small business owner, Nyree Johnson, said the judges were looking for entrants that were confident and owning their character when determining the winners.
“It’s all about your presence on stage and truly embracing both the theme and your chosen persona,” she said.
“We were also looking for the girls to display enthusiasm and engage with the crowd while on stage,” explained fellow judge and experienced pinup competition host, Tanya Paul. “There’s more to pinup than just dressing beautifully.”
Car, fashion, and cosplay enthusiast, Mercury Lien, took home the top prize with judges citing her bubbly personality and ability to adhere to theme while showcasing her individual style as key to her success.
The Rockhampton local, who competes under the stage name of Mercurial Mouse, said she was shocked yet honoured to have won her first pinup title in her hometown.
“It was the most amazing experience, and I still can’t believe I won,” she said. “I have a big interest in motorsport and love encouraging other women to get involved as well, so to win this event in my hometown means a lot to me.”
When asked about inspiration behind her pinup persona and routine, Mercury cites her love of all things feminine and floral as well as her East Asian heritage as her main influence.
“My character is soft and floral as I have a love of pink and cherry blossoms, so I made sure to channel that in my look and routine,” Mercury says. “I also used checkered flags as props on stage to represent my love of motorsport and that I’m a racer at heart.”
Having also entered two cars into the Rare Spares Rockynats 02 festival herself, participating in pinup competitions allows her combine two of her favourite interests.
“I want to show that I can both be feminine and still love motorsports – you can do both!”
For second runner up, Miss Honey Beetle, the ability to be yourself on stage and showcase your personality is what she enjoys most about competing in pinup.
“With pinup there’s less pressure on performing and you don’t have to pretend to be someone else,” she says. “You just get to show off your own personality.”
The mechanical engineering student and proud classic Volkswagen Beetle owner said the historical connection between classic cars and pinup makes the competition the perfect accompaniment to the festival.
“A lot of the cars on show here over the weekend are from that era. We match the cars, so we give the event an authentic feel.”
Advance Rockhampton Executive Manager and guest judge, Greg Bowden, said the competition was a key addition to the Rare Spares Rockynats 02 burgeoning off-the-track line up and one that showcases the variety of attractions on offer over the weekend.
“You’ve got cars, burnouts, drags, live music and now with the addition of things like the pinup competition, wrestling and mullet competition, there’s a huge amount of variety and something on offer for everyone.”
The Inaugural Miss Rockabilly-Nats Competition was proudly presented by Miss B Sweet and sponsored by Elite Studio Photography, Atomic Vintage, Cut Throat and Curls Hair Studio, Rumbling Hearts, Pegs Pinups, Eye Spy a Studio Photography, Nyree Johnson and Shannons Insurance.
Competition results are as follows:
Winner – Mercurial Mouse
1st Runner Up – Laurel Dean
2nd Runner Up – Miss Honey Beetle
Judges Encouragement Award – Miss Ginger
Miss B Sweet and Greg Bowden Encouragement Award – Miss Scarlett Rose