Miss Jessi-Leigh: Proprietor, performer and pretty pinup!
What a whirlwind weekend Ballarat Beat was!!! A weekend of firsts for me, I entered my first ever Pinup Pageant; Miss Ballarat Beat!
With a performance based background dating back the best part of 30 years, I thought such a pageant would be a walk in the park for such an experienced performer……BOY!!! Was I wrong!! In my 32 years, I have NEVER experienced nerves like that!!!
The morning began for me at 4.30am, another first for me was trading at the festival so to be at lyddiard st by 6 for stall setup meant that I needed to be up at 4.30 to get my hair and makeup ready for the pageant before we left.
The entire morning my nerves got progressively worse……my usual tricks of distracting my mind and taking deep, full diaphragms of fresh air, were doing absolutely NOTHING to calm them. Eventually it was time to make my way over to the Mining exchange for the pageant.
I was the second to arrive and found myself a corner of the HUGE greenroom, I proceeded to lay out my outfits in order of appearance so as to make my changes a little less stressful, and gradually the other participants arrived. We all made our introductions and proceeded to get ourselves together for our first category. I busied myself helping the other girls, straightening seams on stockings and attaching suspenders …….My nerves had STILL not subsided!!
On stage with all the other girls, I felt fine, it was when I was alone that I lost my nerve……the first category- day wear, I raced through my poses and could not get off that stage quick enough!!! Once changed into my second outfit I strangely felt a bit better……this category was swimwear, another first for me, I’ve not even been photographed in swimwear let alone paraded on stage wearing it! My poses felt much stronger in this category, until I got over excited and almost threw my props right at the judges head! Last section was evening wear, and once in this outfit, my nerves DISAPPEARED!!! I’m not sure if it was a case of loving the outfit or enough time had passed that I got over it but once I saw my reflection wearing the vintage replica wedding gown that I had designed and constructed myself, I felt as confident as ever! Now the performer in me made an appearance…..I even managed to get some giggles out of the crowd which fuelled me to work harder. Once off stage, I only wished I had of had that confidence from the beginning, but better late than never right?!
Although no sash for me this time, at the risk of sounding cliché, I feel like we all walked away winners…….Each and every one of us got up there and achieved something personal that day, and regardless of who walked away with the crown (as deserving as she was) we all stood a little taller knowing that we had done something not everyone can. For me, it was about exposing ME to the world. Yes, it was in a sleepy little town but in my 30 years of performance I have always been playing the part of someone else when onstage, whether it be a character in a play or my rockstar persona singing in a band, Until Miss Ballarat Beat, I had never set foot onstage as myself…….I guess that’s what the nerves were about and now that it’s over I couldn’t be prouder of myself. I was publically proud to be ME and that is a HUGE feat for anyone.
Will I ever do another pageant?? Well that remains to be seen……..Am I glad I entered this one……ABSOLUTELY!!!!!!