Why I signed up for Miss Pinup Benelux
So this Sunday (17-02-2019) I get to do something I’ve never done before: compete in a pinup contest. Yes, you read that correctly, I’ve entered the Miss Pinup Benelux competition and I’ve rarely been more excited and petrified at the same time 😀
A little context – the Miss Pinup Benelux competition
The Miss Pinup Benelux contest is being organized by none other than Vivian Kramer Gezegd Freher (the powerhouse pinup behind the Sugarcoated empire and all-around awesome human being) and Succubus (an online clothing store and the source of half my wardrobe). Vivian – known as the Dutch Pinup and creator of the pictures on this website – has competed in several pinup contests herself and always had the dream of
What I love about this competition – and what made me want to enter – is the fact that everyone is welcome to join no matter their gender or size – as long as they have a love for the pinup style. In fact,
My pinup journey
Like so many people, I spent many years feeling insecure about my appearance and unsure of how to dress – and it wasn’t until I put on that first
Initially, I found it a little ‘scary’ to dress this way, because as a Dutch woman I was raised to believe that you shouldn’t look like you spent any time or effort on your appearance (the ‘doe maar
However, dressing in the pinup style genuinely makes me happy, so slowly but surely, I adopted this look more and more and it has now become my ‘normal’. Learning to embrace my personal sense of style, however, was made doubly-challenging by the fact that I work in a traditionally male-dominated field. I tended (and continue) to attract attention
Initially, all these experiences made me hesitant to dress like me – by which I mean in the pinup style – at work or professional events like conferences – and it took a fair amount of stubborn confidence in who I am and my professional abilities to stick with wearing the clothes that make me happy. I’ve learned to embrace the fact that visually standing out, can actually help in my professional life. For better or worse, I am memorable and have adopted the motto that:
“I don’t mind getting noticed for how I look, as long as I get remembered for what I have to say”.
As I’ve said before, while I would love a career in academia, it is only the right path for me if I can walk it while being my most authentic self. Actually, this has become my ambition in all things. To be critical but kind, to try and build each other up rather than tear down the competition, and to wear the pinup clothes that bring me joy. While I certainly style myself more ‘demurely’ for work, I’ve been able to find a middle ground where I still feel like my pinup self, but look professional (
The pinup community
Pinup, to me, is more than just a style I adopt for special occasions. It has become part of who I am. While I first and foremost dress this way because it makes me happy, it also helps me to feel strong and confident and able to tackle situations that scare me. Some days the ritual of getting ready, of curling my hair and putting together my outfit is like donning battle armor, but then with happy colors, polka dots
But what I really love about this style, is the community that I have – almost accidentally – become a part of. The modern pinup movement is not about having to look a certain way –
It is your body and life is short, you might as well have fun with it in whatever way you can and want (as long as you’re not hurting anybody, obvs). For me, that just happens to mean fancy frocks, heels
Like most pinup enthusiasts, I get a lot of inspiration from the online pinup community. If you’re interested in following some amazing ladies, some of my favorites are Vivien aka The Dutch Pinup, Georgina Horne aka
So why enter a Pinup contest?
Which brings me to why did I enter the Miss Pinup Benelux contest? First and foremost, while I generally don’t like
While I’ve learned not to show it much, a lot of social situations – especially new and unfamiliar ones – are hard for me. I tend to feel awkward, out of place and incredibly anxious, though I thankfully have found ways to deal with my occasionally crippling anxiety. Most of the time (but still not always) I manage to overcome it, and I’m proud of that. I have found joy in continually challenging myself to try new things and put myself in (social) situations that don’t necessarily come easily to me. This has helped and continues to help me build confidence and learn to enjoy situations that used to freak me out.
Considering that the Miss Pinup Beneluxcontestis organized by Viv (who is all about the happy vibes and encouraging others), I figured it would be a great chance to step out of my comfort zone, meet new people and share my love for pinup. I’ve learned to enjoy doing things that challenge me, and I love getting glammed up so this feels like a win-win. Spotting an old friend (Nathalie Rosalynn) on the list of contestants finally convinced me that I was pretty much guaranteed a great day – and I threw my vintage hat in the ring.
While I have primarily entered because I think it will be great fun, if I am honest with myself, there is more to it for me. Not only am I embarrassingly ambitious by nature and secretly would like to excel at everything
If you’re still reading you might be wondering what this has to do with a Pinup competition. When I first started my one-woman company The Overdressed Archeologist & Editor, I worried that emphasizing my pinup appearance – in particular when I started posted outfits and selfies on Instagram – would negatively influence how I am perceived within my chosen field and affect my career opportunities. More than once within my work sphere, I have been told that I dress too feminine, and it has been assumed that my success is (in part) a result of how I look. I have been mistaken for the department secretary or my supervisor’s assistant because there is an idea that successful archeologists ‘do not dress like me’. How one dresses, however, should have no impact on how you are perceived within your work sphere (within the limits of propriety, obvs). I would like to prove, mostly to myself, but maybe also a little bit to others, that it is possible to be feminine, overdressed, kind and successful. That it is possible to be an excellent researcher, while also being a #scientistwhoselfies.
I enjoy living my best pinup life, and I’m looking forward to sharing that this coming Sunday – all the while choosing to believe that I will be able to overcome any potential negative fallout in my professional life. In short, competing in the Miss Pinup Benelux contest feels like the ultimate way of putting myself and my sense of style out there, make some new friends and maybe even allow me to lift up others, and I can’t wait for this new experience! Cross your fingers for me? 😀