VLV: Let’s start with the obvious: How did you discover Pin-up and get started in contests?
M.S.: I first discovered pinup… hmmm back in 2011. I had just moved to Dunedin in little old New Zealand and decided to follow a good friend of mine, Delia Nerva, to her Burlesque class to give it a go and make some new friends. It was great – I found a whole bunch of likeminded individuals who shared my love of vintage, thrift shopping and classic hair styles inspired by the 40’s - 60’s. At this point in my life, it greatly helped me with my confidence to delve further into the styles, wear more eye catching pieces, and stop giving two-cahoots what others thought about my appearance.
VLV: How did you feel before your first competition? How did it go?
M.S.: My first competition (and one of only two I had entered prior to Miss VLV Pin-up) was Miss 1950s classic pinup, in 2012. The actual pageant was a ‘sign up on the day’ style pageant and it was out of town. I, again, had just moved to a new city so thought it might be a nice opportunity to meet some people involved in the scene in my general area. I was so freaked out the morning before the competition I had to get friend to help me tease my hair. But I was committed – I love my vintage, so got out the cutest 1950s number which had been waiting in my closet for a year without being worn, my grandmas faux fur stole and purse and a good old pair of op shopped shoes, and drove the 1 hour to the competition. The scariest part for me is never being on the actual stage, it is always the buildup and the waiting for the results. But I was super duper lucky and took away the title along with meeting some super lovely ladies.
VLV: Who are your favorite photographers to work with?
M.S.: Well I work very closely with a photographer in New Zealand called Tony McKay Studios. Tony is a perfectionist, very humble and very good at what he does. I also like how he will work with you to help achieve YOUR vision – which from someone who tries to strive away from what is expected, is also essential.
VLV: Which photographers do you dream of working with?
M.S.: Hmmmm this is a hard one. I like to have a very diverse portfolio, in a hope of showcasing the many different sides to me… so I don’t dream of any SPECIFIC photographer as per say, more I dream of working with photographers who have out of the ordinary styles, showcase me in a different light, or can showcase something you never expected to be your new favorite image!
VLV: Who are your main inspirations?
M.S.: My main inspiration in life is my grandma; she taught me everything I know - from empathy, to how to be a lady, all the way through to the importance of having a strong work ethic. She is my number one supporter and I guess, fan (with the laminated newspaper clippings to prove it), and is always so so so excited to hear me going out into the world and living an out of the ordinary (extraordinary) life.
VLV: Got any big pin-up goals?
M.S.: Honestly, my number one goal is to get out into the community – hopefully be invited to events so I can continue meeting like-minded individuals, AND see different festivals and events across the globe. If I can spread a little happiness at the same time then (smacks lips) Perfect! I also like showing I am a real human and am just as crazy and weird in real life as people hear hahaha
VLV: What is your favorite virgin or alcoholic cocktail?
M.S.: I’m a Mojito kinda gal – there is something about the mix of flavours which create a little modern madness ;)
VLV: How long have you been attending Viva Las Vegas and what is your favorite/interesting memory from the event?
M.S.: 2017 was my first year – so of course it was pretty memorable:D My most interesting moment hmmmmmm – would to have been when we were waiting to get into the markets and I got my husband to hold my 1940s Japanese collapsible bamboo bag like Simba from the lion kings opening credits (to which he sang the song much to the amusement of the growing crowd) to protect it from being squished haha Otherwise seeing Wanda Jackson IRL was pretty fantastic – o o o and standing with the other ladies at the pin up pageant; I still keep in touch with a number of them which showcase how the pageant can bring the community together.
VLV: What made you decide to enter the Pin-up competition at Viva Las Vegas #20? Have you entered before?
M.S.: 2017 was my first year entering Miss VLV Pin-up. I had decided a few years prior I was going to enter the 20th anniversary competition but, over the course of the submission period had chickened out, built up courage and then chicken out again on multiple occasions. I finally entered after watching a TedX talk talking about how we need to teach woman to be brave – a subject which resonated with me – and to go out and to take chances! Which is exactly what I did!
VLV: What can we look forward to from you in the future?
M.S.: My goal is to get out further into the international community to meet people in real life and show people how cool all the cats are from NZ. Other than this you can expect the same old madness haha
VLV: Will we see you at VLV 21?
M.S.: You willlll! We already have our high roller passes – we couldn’t miss the sun records showcase and the pinup pageant.
VLV: Lastly- what tips do you have for those wanting to compete next year at VLV 21? What do wish you would have known?
M.S.: If you are even thinking about competing, then you should try! We all go through life surrounded by what if’s and shoulda coulda wouldas. Sometimes you just have to throw caution into the wind. AND if you are looking for a little confidence booster then buy yourself the Dr Zeuss book “oh the places you will go” – it shall provide you will all the courage you need. Also, side note, DO NOT be discouraged if you do not make it into the top 5. Have a strategy in place, just in case, and get your community (and friends/family) behind you – YOU CAN DO IT!
VLV: Any last words?
M.S.: As always; “today you are you, that is truer than true, there is no one else who is youer than you”. So go out into the world being confidently weird, seizing opportunity and living your life, as no one else is going to live it for you!