Jacqui from the Chronicle chats to Jessy Ridley about Vintage Fest NZ being held in Canterbury in September, and her involvement in the Miss Vintage Australasia competition. Jessica lives in Waitetuna with her 5 children.
What is Vintage fest NZ all about?
So Vintage Fest is there to promote and showcase the vintage aesthetic and lifestyle to people who might be interested in it. It should be a very fun day out.
How did you become interested in the vintage era and pin-up life?
I became interested in the vintage era and pin-up life when I realised how much I enjoy dressing up, and how good about myself it makes me feel. I know it sounds a bit silly, but a parent at Playcentre a few years ago showed me photos of her and her teenagers dolled up in vintage dresses, and I looked at them and thought, wow, we are allowed to dress like that?? So I tried it out and enjoyed it and now I basically live in pretty dresses, because why not? Why not dress in a way that I know makes me, and people who see me, smile? I also love how welcoming and encouraging the vintage community is; I’ve made friends and met so many amazing people through it, it’s definitely been an incredible experience realising how many people are in similar situations to myself etc.
Tell us how you came to be one of 10 finalists for the Miss Vintage Australasia competition
I decided to enter Miss Vintage Australasia on a whim, and I genuinely did not expect to be a finalist. I have done a couple of other pageants now, and the reasoning behind entering them is essentially to prove to myself and my kids that I can. Even if I didn’t get in, entering was scary enough, and it showed my children that it is ok to have dreams and it is ok to try things, especially when they’re scary. I have pretty bad social anxiety – being on a stage terrifies me every time, but I do it anyway and I always love it.
What’s required prior and during the competition and how are you feeling about it?
The competition has 3 sections, (daywear, summer wear, and formal wear) so in the lead up to the competition I’m trying to decide what to wear for those sections! A lot of the other finalists can sew, but I can’t really. Not well enough to make something to wear on stage without worrying about it coming apart anyway haha. So I’m not sewing much, but I still have a few tricks up my sleeve to make sure my outfits are all as amazing as they can be and as authentically me as I can make them. We also have to do our own hair and makeup; some of the pageants don’t have this as a requirement, (as in, you can pay someone to do it for you) so I am also focusing on improving my skills in those areas as quick as I can too. I am incredibly nervous, no point lying about that haha. But I am also very excited and I can’t wait to be down there and spend some time with the other finalists and hopefully have an amazing weekend.
Are you travelling down alone or with the family?
I really wish I was able to take my whole family with me but sadly they aren’t able to travel down with me so I am taking my lovely boyfriend with me to cheer me on and play cameraman. I have 5 kids aged between 2 and just-about 13, the middle 3 of whom are autistic, and as much as I think they would love it it is probably just a bit much for them in terms of travel and change of scenery. I’m sure they will all be there with me in spirit though and I’ll no doubt come home with a bunch of souvenirs and photos for them!