Miss Pinup Australia: A beauty pageant with a difference

It seems that going backwards is the only way forward.

More than 100 women will compete in this year's Miss Pinup Australia, a nationwide contest that promotes ''good old-fashioned values'', says founder Miss Pixie, who goes by her persona to avoid unwelcome public attention. This is the competition's fifth year.

In flowing full skirts and flawless make-up, contestants will flaunt cinched waistlines and evoke the opulence of a decade characterised by conservatism and an emphasis on femininity that would make any modern feminist cringe.

Authenticity is the key: entrants are required to dress, act and present themselves in true 1950s style.

It is a chance for women of all shapes and sizes to find their ''inner pin-up'', Miss Pixie says.

Hopefuls compete in a state heat in their nominated categories, proceed to a state final and then go into contention for the title of Miss Pinup Australia.

Lamenting a lack of self-respect in today's society, the 45-year-old dance instructor and photographer said the competition was bringing back the lost art of modesty. ''We like to be treated as ladies but to be treated as ladies, you need to act like one,'' Miss Pixie says.

Contestants will evoke the opulence of a period in history characterised by conservatism.

Turning the adage ''less is more'' on its head, she imparts traditional values on her clients because - as far as the '50s go - more is, in fact, less, she says.

''I think there is nothing wrong with covering your knees. A woman is a present. If you wrap the present and allow a man to use their imagination, then you'll find that you'll get the respect that you deserve.''

However, it is not all about glamour, immaculate hairstyles and ruby-red lips. For Miss Bells B Ringing, 33, embracing a '50s persona has become a way of life.

''We can look at it [the '50s] in hindsight, but we're actually living it right now,'' she says.

Getting ''pinned up'' every day has emboldened her, ''especially being a bigger girl [because] it's been hard for me all my life to try to find a confidence within myself, and I really love the way I look now,'' she says.

Miss Candy Floss, 28, believes there is much to be learnt from an era in which poodle cuts and pointed busts reigned, and she admires the way women conducted themselves with dignity.

The competition is not just open to the fairer sex; men are encouraged to channel their inner James Dean.

The live events will run between April and August, and members of the public are welcome to attend the shows.

Are you a Miss Pinup Australia hopeful from the Illawarra? Email us at scoop@illawarramercury.com.au.

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