Contest at Iola Car Show
By Ben Rodgers
The Iola Car Show this year will have a dash of rockabilly and pinup culture.
For the first year ever, the Miss Iola Pinup Contest hopes to attract 25 pinup models to show off their gams and maybe win some prizes.
“It doesn’t matter what color your skin is, if you’re tall or short, curvy or a tiny thing, everyone looks good in pinup clothes,” said Ashley Simpson, who goes by the pinup name Ginny Rosewater. “I’ve never seen anyone not look good, and you feel really confident being able to dress up.”
Pinup culture goes hand in hand with rockabilly culture. The two mix awfully well with classic cars, she said.
Simpson has been a part of pinup culture for the past five years. It has led her to win photo shoots out of state and introduced her to a whole new group of friends.
“I just love going to contests myself because I have never met women who are so eager to help each other,” she said. “It’s a contest, but it doesn’t feel like a competition.”
At the event, 25 women will each take the stage starting at noon, on July 8. They will prepare a biography that will be read, and judges will score the contestants based on authenticity of the look for the era they choose to represent, the ’40s, ’50s or ’60s.
For the second round, 13 will move on to answer a question from their era, where judges will score the contestants on confidence and how unique the answer is.
At 6 p.m., the top five girls will then be asked why they want to be crowned Miss Iola.
“The most important thing is just being confident,” Simpson said.
The top prize is a photo shoot with renowned pinup photographer Shannon Brooke, based in Sacramento, California. Second place is a photo shoot with Che Correa, from Appleton, and third place is a shoot with Cardinal White Photography.
All three winners will appear in the magazine “Urban Pirate Pinup,” but first place gets the cover.
The cost is $50. Every contestant will receive a gift bag, and there will be prizes given for the contestants between the second and third round. Contestants will also receive two free three-day passes to the Iola Car Show.
At Simpson’s first pinup contest years ago, everyone except two contestants were first timers. Since then, she has been photographed for books, and gone on trips to Las Vegas for pinup. She’s also seen a 65-year-old pinup girl take home second prize at one contest.
“I always wanted to be a model, but I’m 5’2 so my chances of modeling are zero,” she said. “But I discovered pinup has no standard when it comes to size. Anything goes when it comes to looks, so I found a little niche.”
Rosewater is actually hosting the event, along with the Midwest Rockabeauties.
She encourages anyone with an interest in joining, or with more questions about pinup culture, to email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“All of it comes from the same era. You got your greaser guys with their cars, and the girls get to come dress up in pinup, and it all fits the same era,” she said.