So what have I been up to since that first pageant? I’ve gone on to compete in another four pageants placing twice; Second Runner Up for Miss Tuff Metal 2016 and Runner Up for Miss Peak Pin Up. I’ve attended charity events, modelled in a fashion parade, attended social gatherings and had a number of photo shoots. Most recently I was a finalist in the Pin Up parade held at the second annual Redlands Rockabilly Revival.
Redlands Rockabilly Revival is one of the major events in the Brisbane Kustom Kulture scene with around 7000 in attendance this year with the threat of storms and blistering heat not deterring revellers. The event offered all things you could dream of; excellent food, rockin’ tunes, amazing shopping and hot cars. The only thing missing was the outdoor air-conditioning, as described by Miss Harlow – if someone could invent that soon I would be eternally grateful. Of course one of the highlights of the day though was the fashion parade with the hall being completely filled with those eager to see what outfits the girls had selected.
Each of the 15 finalists selected their own outfit to model and there was no shortage of styles. One of the things I love best is that we are all given the same brief and everyone interprets it their own way and puts their own spin on it to make it unique. This year’s parade including everything from a Spanish/Mexican influence (made by the talented Miss Angela Misfit herself) all the way through to a vintage flight attendant’s outfit.
So with all of these great choices in mind what fashion are you most hoping to see at the upcoming Rust & Chrome event?
After taking the stage for my debut as Miss Ruby with some beautiful girls who I count among my closest Pin Up friends I was hooked. Pin Up became even more ingrained into my lifestyle, I have spent many hours deciding on the perfect outfit, finding matching accessories and deciding on the perfect look.
Shortly following Miss Redcliffe I qualified as a finalist in the 2016 Miss Wings and Wheels held in October at the Caboolture Airfield. I was a barrel of nerves as the date loomed closer and closer, but you can always count on your Pin Up friends to help you feel at ease. My gorgeous friend Miss Harlow and I often joke about how our friendship bloomed over a common obsession with The Cherry Dollface, but truthfully it’s because Miss Harlow and her Pin Up family (and actual family – how cool is that?) are some of the most supportive and loving people I have ever met. Miss Harlow, Miss Gatito and the lovely Miss Tempest Storm have always welcomed me with open arms; and I like to refer to myself as the long-lost cousin that you see at family reunions. In fact, it wouldn’t be a bad comparison. The girls I have made friends with over these short few months are such an amazing and supportive network I would consider many of them my Pin Up family.
Whilst everyone looked stunning and the judges would have had a very difficult time selecting a winner. The Flying Pin Up aptly took the title with her amazing Rosie the Riveter rendition; after literally flying to and from the competition in a plane! While Miss Lulu Belle taught us all that experience isn’t everything taking Runner Up in her very first pageant.
A special mention must go out to Miss Kitten Darling from The Australian Pinup Collective (on Facebook and Instagram) who was one of the judges on the panel for Miss Redcliffe. I was so incredibly excited to receive a friend request from her, it truly made me feel included and like I could definitely be part of the Pin Up world. My husband can verify that after triple checking that I wasn’t seeing things I did a victory lap around my kitchen. Imagine my excitement when I got to take the stage with her at Miss Wings and Wheels, absolutely breathtaking. Miss Kitten Darling has always been an instrumental part of my journey so far, always available for advice or encouragement or just a show of support when you start questioning yourself. What I found the most beautiful quality of all about Miss Kitten Darling is that she is the most humble woman you will ever meet, she often forgets that she is such an inspiration to so many of us. She is running a pageant later this month for new Pin Ups (Miss Rust and Chrome) and I can personally guarantee that it will be an amazing experience for every entrant, I’m looking forward to coming along and supporting such a truly beautiful lady both inside and out in her endeavours.
So tell me, who do you admire and why?
So it was the dress, the dress that started it all. A few months passed and just dressing up each day wasn’t enough any more. The more often I wore the 1950’s styled clothing, hair and make up the better I felt about them and the more comfortable I became in myself. The self-confidence I had developed was enough to tip me over the edge and start combatting the social anxiety that I had received as a thank you gift for leaving PND untreated for 3 and a half years.
Rockabilly and Pin Up is a little bit quirky, a little bit different and definitely ALWAYS a talking point. Suddenly I wasn’t invisible, conversations with people on the street changed from a generic ‘Hi, how are you?’ to ‘Oh My God, how did you get your hair like that?’ or ‘I love your (dress/skirt/brooch) where did you find it?’ At first it was daunting and a little scary but the more I pushed myself to talk to people the easier it became. Mr Alabaster now dreads any sort of shopping or outing because 12 months on he knows I’ll talk to anyone about anything.
As I met with people and discussed my new-found love of wearing the style, I learned of the upcoming Greazefest held in Brisbane in August and applied immediately to be a part of the Pin Up parade they offer. I wasn’t successful, but my determination was not broken. I attended the event and soaked in everything it had to offer, I knew I had found at last what I had been missing.
Sad that Greazefest was over for the year, imagine my surprise when I discovered that the annual Redcliffe Festival we attend were holding their first ever Miss Redcliffe pageant. Again my heart soared as I carefully filled in the application form and forwarded it on with hope that I could make it into an event so close to home. Alas I was not successful, however the lovely Bettie Butcher invited all unsuccessful entrants to participate in a fashion parade prior to the finalists taking the stage. This was it! It was my moment! Miss Ruby Alabaster was born….
The thing I remember was how incredibly lovely the girls were; not one person was judgemental, everyone was friendly and even though they were all in competition it didn’t at all feel like it. The entrants were all genuine lovable people and I have found this to hold true across all aspects of the Pin Up community. Each of the girls enter pageants for different reasons, however, I think the main reason is connection. Connection to the past, connection to new friends, connection to old friends and a connection as a community.
I personally feel so grateful and blessed for the friendships I’ve already made in the short six months I’ve been a part of this world. The strength and support that everyone offers is nothing short of magical! I am so glad that I decided to push myself and try something scary and different.
So tell me, what have you done that you thought you couldn’t?
I guess the sensible place to start is at the beginning. How did I find this lifestyle? What attracted me to it?
Mr Alabaster and I both grew up in homes quite typical of the 1950’s; our mothers both stayed home to care for the children and the home while our fathers worked outside of the home. Both of us had quite large families with multiple children and lived regionally limiting the options for childcare or employment. At times over the years both of our mothers had small jobs such as party plan or working in small businesses but it was almost assured that when we’d return from school Mum would be waiting ready to run the afternoon and evening routine. I often wonder how they managed, I myself only have two children and the evenings are always interesting watching the toddler so he doesn’t cause too much chaos and ensuring Miss 7 has completed all of her necessary tasks while organising dinner and coordinating it all with the arrival of Mr Alabaster home from work. I often fail spectacularly, but we are working on it.
Living such a lifestyle initially caused a lot of angst from myself. I have always been a motivated, goal driven person and living what seems like groundhog day often started to really take its toll. Towards the beginning of 2016 I found a group of like-minded women online and started to really appreciate the opportunity I have been given to be able to stay home with the children and started to see my whole life in a new light.
Those who know me know that I am not one to ever do things by halves and inspired by all of the beautiful women I had chanced upon, I decided that I was going to start putting some more effort into appreciating what I was doing each and every day. Although I might not be going into a corporate office, motherhood is often referred to as the hardest job in the world. A sentiment I agree whole-heartedly with, I decided it was time to start taking it more seriously, and like any other job I would be required to start dressing the part.
All it took was one dress, just one dress my husband purchased me to attend a dress up party as a ‘Retro-Housewife’ and I was hooked. I started dressing myself every day to the standard I would if I was to be attending work outside the home and suddenly my whole life changed. People treated me differently in shopping centres, I treated my home differently, I took more care and attention with the smaller details I had been overlooking for years. They say Cinderella is proof that a pair of shoes can change your life; I agree because honestly I love shoes (and this is a great excuse to buy more – sorry honey.) For me however, it was a dress. I haven’t looked back….. so tell me; what has changed your life for the better?
Miss Ruby x
Come on in, grab a cup of coffee and let’s chat. What do you want to see, what do you want to know? Come with me on this journey of self discovery and get a glimpse behind the scenes of what it’s like being a lover of the bygone era in a world dominated by technology.
Miss Ruby x