Spotlight on - Miss Ballarat Beat 2017, Miss Jessi Leigh!
I enjoyed every minute of the Ballarat Beat Pinup comp, but I have to say that the Geekabilly section was incredible! It made my heart happy to see so much fabulous and unique pinup geekery up on stage. Miss Jessi Leigh was entered in the Geekabilly section and won the overall competition with her Rainbow Brite routine. With everything rainbow, glitter and fantastic she put a lot of work into her outfit, props and routine - complete with light-up storm cloud, blow-up unicorn, glitter cannons and a colossal 7 different coloured petticoats layered under her outfit to look like a rainbow she wowed the audience and reminded us of the innocent joy of our childhood (well for those of us who are old enough to remember Rainbow Brite!).
Miss Jessi Leigh is a gal who marches to the beat of her own fabulous drum, complete with big hair of course. Like many Pinups, she has found that being herself and finding her own style instead of trying to conform to the 'ideal, perfect vintage pinup look made her happier and felt more her. Go Jessi! And congratulations on being crowned Miss Ballarat Beat Pinup!
How did you choose your pinup name? I was born with mine! Technically born Jessica Leigh, my mum always shortened it to Jessi Leigh, and then at 14 I dropped my surname and adopted it as my stage name. When it came to choosing a pinup name, it made sense to stick with it. Why do you enjoy the Pinup and Rockabilly subculture? I'm a fashion fanatic, and I adore getting gussied up. The beauty of a pinup/rockabilly event is there is never any fear of feeling "too much" or overdressed, which is something I experience regularly. Care to share your favourite beauty tip? Train your hair to last longer between washes. Setting hair takes time, especially when you have as much hair as me! And the thought of only getting a couple of days out of a set breaks my heart. With time and persistence, you can train your scalp to not need washing as regularly, meaning you will get far longer out of a set. My record is just over 2 weeks!!
Do you have a defining Pinup moment - when you felt like it was the right path for you? Yes, the day I decided to stop trying to be a "pinup" and just did me instead. I dressed this way and styled my hair and makeup this way long before I discovered the pinup scene, but for whatever reason, thought I had to fit into a box to be a part of it. The moment I said 'blow it' and just did me, was when everything changed for me, and I havent questioned myself since. Any advice for Pinups entering or thinking about entering their first comp? DO IT!!!!!!!! It'salways going to be scary, and it's always going to be a big jump, but as soon as you finally make that jump you'll question why you hadn't done it sooner!! Don't enter with the expectation of winning, or becoming 'famous', enter because you have a passion for fashion or a drive to perform. Sashes and tiaras are great, but the friendships you make along the way are so much better
Why did you chose Rainbow Brite as your Pinup inspiration? My unicorn was my muse!! I knew I wanted to base my routine around her, so when it was announced I was competing in the Geekabilly category, I instantly thought of Rainbow Brite and She-rah. I loved both characters as a kid, but in the end went with Rainbow Brite as I connected with the character more. A little girl that changes the world by bringing colour to dark and dreary places.....well thats me all over!!! Do you get stage fright and do you have any tips for overcoming it? I've performed my whole life, and fortunately never had to deal with it. When I started competing in Pinup comps, I was struck with the most crippling, gut wrenching stage fright known to woman kind!! I think its because I thought I had to be something other than what I am to be any good, which I've learned now simply isnt true. I am different to alot of the other girls that compete, and thats ok!! My best advice is dont judge yourself too harshly, and dont squish yourself into a box that you think will make you 'better' the moment I let me do me, was the precise moment my stage fright flew out the window.
How does it feel to be crowned Miss Ballarat Beat? Incredible!!!! Not because I won, but because I had shied away from competing for a long time, I really didn't think I had what it takes to be any good. I was also wary of negative behaviour and cautious of being on the recieving end of it. I wasn't even going to enter!! With some gentle persuasion from someone who at the time was pretty much a stranger to me, I decided to give it a go, and before I knew it I was feeling more inspired and creative than I have in a really long time! I ran with it and the result was a routine that I was just so excited to put on stage. From concept to sets to props to wardrobe, I created every last detail myself, and the opportunity to put that onstage was a dream come true! The reaction from the crowd and on the judges faces was more than I ever could have hoped for, and I left that stage with the greatest sense of achievement and pride in myself and my creative ability that I've ever had. That encouraging stranger, is now a beautiful friend and along with her I have made a whole TEAM of beautiful friends that all shared this wonderful experience with me. The other angels in the comp were the most supportive inclusive encouraging group of people I have ever been involved with. It wasn't even about winning, it was about bringing myself back from the dead and reminding myself who I am and what I live for. To be crowned for that is not only the icing on a rainbow glitter encrusted cake, it's utter joy!! What did you enjoy most about the Ballarat Beat Pinup comp and the Geekabilly category? I loved the luxury of being able to let my imagination run wild!! At no point did I ever feel like I needed to reign myself in, or tone myself downand that was the most wonderful feeling of all
What’s up next for you (if you can share your plans!)? Anything I can get my hands on!!!!
But right now, Im working on my routines for Miss Cars for Kids 2017, and Miss Rockin Rods
Image credits: 1. Wright On Creations
2. Stuz Photography
3-5 Christine Brymmer Photography
6. Wright On Creations