Retro & Vintage in Buffalo NY
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My Pinup Judge Experience

Posted Julie Ann Davis Lifestyle Local

So a funny thing happened recently, I was asked to be a “local celebrity” judge at a Pinup Contest. You might say “Julie Ann, I thought you were a feminist, how can you support such a thing?” Well let me tell you how this all started...

Last year I was contacted by some dear friends of mine, Maggie and Steve. Steve helps run Cavalcade of Cars at the Hamburg Fairgrounds--sort of the kick off of car show season--and he wanted help organizing and changing the format of their Pinup Competition and for me to be a judge. The contest has been going on for about 4 years in the Old S'Cool Room of the car show and past winners were chosen by loudest audience shouting and applause. So basically you could win if you brought enough of your friends to cheer for you. The top three winners would get a cash prize. I thought, well hell that's a big deal to win a CASH prize! Some contests you just get a fancy sash, so how can we make this a little more fair?

I did a little research into how other Pinup Competitions are run, which was pretty interesting. For some, you have to send in a photo almost 6 months beforehand, and the contestants get whittled down from there. That seems like an awful lot of planning and work, getting a separate website together, making voting pages, for just a popularity contest. We wanted to have something that was structured, but still manageable, that an everyday girl could enter and win.

For this year's contest we offered pre-registration, limited the amount of entrants to 25, and added "must be 18 years and older" (which is a given at any pinup competition). Steve picked three judges and voting was based on several criteria including style, presence, and audience applause, so it could continue be a part of the contest. We also asked some background questions of the contestants beforehand, and they were read as the ladies walked across the stage.

I have to admit, I was not initially thrilled about being asked to judge other women based on looks. I take being asked to judge pretty seriously. After all, how can I judge a girl based on seeing them for less than 5 minutes on stage? Who am I to judge anyone? I really had a love/hate personal struggle with this idea. Plus, as a side note, I don't like people looking at me, and even though I model all the clothes on I could never be on stage. It makes me self conscious. That being said, all of the women who enter pinup competitions have amazing confidence. If pinup can be defined as “glamorous photos of women”, the ladies at the Calvacade of Cars were no exception!

Then the big day came. I really thought I would be tough on them, like the Simon Cowell of pinup contest judges!  But when it came down to it, I really wanted all of them to win. I was so impressed, and could see how much work went into their whole look, from coiffed hair down to the fancy heels. As a result I felt empowered by their strength and class. It was an experience I won't soon forget and was lucky enough to have the pleasure of participating in.

While I still believe women shouldn't be just looked at for appearance, I was able to chat with these women, learn about them and their strutting across the stage was just the cherry on top!

p.s. I would love to be a judge of a men's competition. Just throwing that out there! ;)

~Julie Ann

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