Thursday, May 19, 2016

Pin-up girls, classic cars come to North Pole

Pin-up girls, classic cars come to North Pole

By Gary Black -

FAIRBANKS — Classic cars of days past are getting boost of beauty this weekend when six women compete in the first Pin-up Pageant hosted in association with the Cruis’n With Santa classic car show in North Pole.

The pageant is the brainchild of Wendy Carrillo, a North Pole Roller Derby Girl, with the help of Jessie Desmond, herself no stranger to the look and style of the 1940s and ’50s.

“She asked a few of the local rockabilly ladies if they would like to help and formed a small four-lady crew. We approached various car shows, and the NP Lions were the first group that was really interested,” Desmond said. “We are really focused on the classic pin-up style of the 1940s and 1950s. We encourage the girls to be creative with their outfits: sew them, find something vintage or find some killer reproduction wear.”

Think the look and style of Bettie Page or Jayne Mansfield, and you have exactly what the pin-up pageant is going for — recreating the era, which fits in with the classic car theme. It’s all designed to show off the cars and create a culture steeped in Veronica Lake.

“I think hosting a pin-up girl pageant is something fairly new for Fairbanks, while down in the states it’s fairly common,” Desmond said. “It’s also very body-positive for women. The retro/vintage community is incredibly supportive of each other. The pageant has also brought out the local retro/vintage community who didn’t realize that there are others like them in Fairbanks. It’s also about feeling beautiful and strong, all at the same time, much like a classic pin-up idol — Rosie the Riveter.”

Desmond herself is no stranger to the look. She’s a fan of the era, from the music and clothing to the architecture and history, calling it a “golden age for America.” One thing she and Carrillo had to reiterate, though, was that the pageant is focused on the pin-up look.

“We really had to explain to a lot of people that this isn’t burlesque or some string bikini contest or a stripper event,” Desmond said. “It’s very much in the line of the famous pin-up paintings and photography from the 1940s and 1950s. Howard Rixie, of the NP Lions Club, was eager to learn more and hear us out on what we had in mind. We presented our idea at one of the Lions Club meetings, and it went over pretty well. Even on Facebook, just to make sure that those entering the pageant knew exactly what we are doing, we have pictures of women like Marilyn Monroe, Bettie Page, Joan Crawford, Betty Grable, Eartha Kitt, Jayne Mansfield, etc.”

Registration has closed for the contest, but visitors are encouraged to come to the pageant to take it in. It’s in conjunction with the car show, which is 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Santa Claus House’s Christmas Creek Park in North Pole. The pin-up group can be found on Facebook at The pageant includes a grand prize winner, and a second- and third-place winner, complete with prizes. Sponsors include Blue Door Antiques, The Alaska Club, Mad Vintage, Red Couch, Shimmer N’ Shades, Little Bear Photography, Niccoco Creations, C&J’s Drive-In and the NP Lions Club.

“We’re hoping to do this at least once a year,” Desmond said. “This year, it is Miss North Pole Pin-Up because we’re doing it in North Pole. Next year, it could be Miss Fairbanks Pin-Up. We had a ton of interest this year, but a lot of people want to see how it goes the first time before joining in.”

If You Go

What: Cruis’n With Santa Car Show and Pin-up Pageant

When: Saturday, May 21, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: Santa Claus House’s Christmas Creek Park in North Pole

FYI: For more info, check

Contact Features Editor Gary Black at 459-7504 or on Twitter at

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