Behind the scenes at Viva … with Ginger Watson
I know, I know, I know! So Mumpty managed to get herself an interview with this babe; the one, the only – Ginger Watson. This tiny little redhead holds the 2014 title of Miss Viva Las Vegas 17 and I’m totally thrilled to bits she’s here on my blog sharing “Ginger – behind the scenes at Viva 17.”
This interview is based on Ginger’s sartorial choices for her wining entry at the Miss Viva Las Vegas 17 Pinup competition and features “that dress” up there ^^ – which is SUCH a stunning colour on a redhead right?! Ginger has also been kind enough to share with us the “back stories” behind her accessories and how she got into pinup.
So let’s get started (and I hope you enjoy the “behind the scenes” images of Ginger – she tells me some of them have never been published until now!)
1) Where did you source your items? (Including shoes, handbags, accessories etc)
Ginger: When I was competing to be Miss VLV17 I bought my dress from my favorite vintage shop back home, Talk of the Town in Reading, Ohio.
I have been shopping there for special occasions since I was a teenager. The owner (Nancy) actually picked out my dress – we searched through her best collection of 50’s prom dresses.
I tend to have trouble finding the perfect size and I had never thought red would have been my colour – I’m continuously drawn to blacks and greens just because of my hair color. Nancy wipped out this gorgeous sequined, red prom dress. I wasn’t too sure, but I slipped it on to oblige her.
I came out of the fitting room and she said: “that’s it – that’s the winner!” I thought she meant it was the right dress and I agreed. She then corrected me and said: “no honey – YOU are the winner in that dress. If you wear that dress you will win – I can feel it!”
2) What accessories did you wear and how/why did you choose them?
Ginger: Finding shoes to match the dress was pretty difficult. I bought several pairs of modern pinup-style shoes, but all of them took away from the dress. I really wanted to wear vintage shoes but they were all far too narrow for my dancing feet. I went to Macy’s and sought out the “little old lady attending a wedding” shoe section! Believe it or not, they have an amazing selection of heels that look just like they did in the 50’s. Everyone thought my shoes were authentic … NOPE!
I didn’t mean to carry my Atomic Lucite purse on stage to be quite honest – I was nervous and I didn’t know what to do with my hands! I didn’t want to look like I was fidgeting – I have a ton of energy … like a shaking puppy!
The purse was a birthday gift that I had been lusting after for quite some time from the Duck Creek Antique Mall in Cincinnati, Ohio. Well worth the price and I carry it still.
For luck, I wore my Pearl Shift Knob necklace that I had received on my winter indoor show season travels. I wore it every day throughout the conventions. I was lucky enough to work with car legend Gene Winfield. For quite some time I was the only gal in town with that necklace – it symbolized my feminine strength in a male-centered industry.
I wore a pearl bracelet that was my grandmother’s. I also have a vintage watch that I swapped out the clock mechanism for a photo of her. I wear it every single day – I even sleep in it! She was, and is, one of the most influential people in my life. She had both strength and grace. She taught me how to be a lady but also how to be heard in a polite way. I also keep a photo of her as my background on my phone. She keeps an eye on me. Most people say “hey is that Betty White?” NO!!! It is Edith. She’s lovely.
I carried an awesome parasol from Retro-A-Go-Go! Whenever I am at a car-centred event I try to dress to a car standard. The show should be about how awesome the cars are, not how amazing this ball gown is.
I have a parasol that features the V8 symbol with red, green, and black designs – I adore it! I think it sets me apart at shows because it doesn’t have flowers or girly things on it. I always tease that I am a boy in a dress! My original love was for car shows – I fell into pinup because of that love. I had always had a love of vintage, cars, engines, and a man who was handy with a wrench or two! Both my necklace and parasol serve as a conversation-starter with the show attendees. It lets them know that I’m interested in the car culture and not just the pageant.
3) Did your outfits require shapewear?
Ginger: My outfits always require shapewear … just not the kind that squeezes! I look to create a shape in my outfits. I am a very petite person – a pocket model – that’s what they say! (Note from Mumpty – Ginger has a 24″ waist!)
I wore three crinolines under my gown – if I hadn’t put them under there, my dress would not have been as full. I knew the stage was large and that I would have gotten lost amongst the other contestants if I didn’t “bulk up.” I even spent the time before Viva trying to put on weight for the top portion of my dress! The crinolines were rather warm, but rather worth it – at one point I thought I was going to faint from the heat of the fabric though!
I am always honest about padding my clothing for pageants – I don’t have any shame about that at all. To me, it is the same thing for me to stuff my top as it is for another girl to cinch her waist. I even own a padded bum, although I didn’t wear that at all in Vegas. Now I plan on doing squats!
Everyone always asks why I don’t just opt for surgery if it bothers me that I don’t have the curves. At this point in my life and with the work I do with young ladies, I look at it this way: I would never want to make it seem like I don’t like my body or myself so much that I would surgically alter it just to feel better in a dress.
Trust me … I love curves. Real or fake … all of them! I grew up admiring Pamela Anderson and Carmen Electra. I just haven’t gotten to that point where I feel it is necessary to permanently alter my silhouette. Padding is cheaper too!
I have many ads from the 50’s talking about padding and altering silhouette shapes, but I’m just not ready to go under the knife. I don’t wish to make adolescent girls think they need surgery in order to feel beautiful. That is a very personal choice that should be made much later in life, rather than straight out of high school.
4) Who makes/made your custom outfits?
Ginger: There is nothing I love more than my custom wardrobe! I made sure that whenever I was not wearing pure vintage, that I was wearing at least one thing I custom-made myself.
My other grandmother was a seamstress and taught me well. I enjoy recreating the looks for myself and others and I especially love the bullet tops I create, along with the traditional felt novelty skirts. I try to stick to traditional patterns and prints unless I can find actual vintage fabric.
I love having different outfits from everyone else – my clothing is usually my conversation piece. I get really excited when I see other gals in their own custom creations too. I have made great friendships with gals who share the same interest in vintage reproduction. One of my favorite designers is Miss Lily White. She was also a contestant in the VLV17 pageant. We hit it off for sure and keep in touch still. I hope to wear one of her designs to a major event one day.
For VLV18 I made my own pageant dress. I didn’t want to wear a floor-length ball gown as I was not to be the main course – just a side dish or garnish!
I stuck with red because I felt like people would remember me from my big red hair and big red dress from last year. I wore Pinup Couture heels and created my own flowers to match my dress perfectly. I tend to stick to poppies – they have always made me smile and I wore them when I won the VLV17 title. I remember my mother always buying them in rememberance of veterans (a huge place in my life and my heart).
I also love Judy Garland – in seventh grade I did a report on her life basing the foreshadowing of the poppies in The Wizard of Oz in conjunction with her sad passing, involving a barbiturate overdose. It sounds morbid, but the flowers still make me happy. For VLV18 I jazzed them up with rhinestones and matching trim from my dress. This year I only wore one crinoline! My belt, of course, was from Talk of the Town, with loads of rhinestones.
5) Is there anything about your hair and makeup you would like to mention?
Ginger: As far as hair and makeup goes, I try to always keep it simple and classic. My clothing is usually pretty loud along with my hair!
I am a licensed cosmetologist. I love to not only do my hair, but the hair of others as well. The day I competed in Miss VLV17 I did another contestant’s hair – people thought it was odd, but I didn’t. I thought everyone should get a chance to look amazing up on that stage. It is such a big deal to be nominated.
I befriended Sophie Sassafras from Kansas City. She had purple hair at the time. I gave her a traditional rockabilly bouffant and let her borrow one of my pearl headpieces. I thought even if she gets best hair and I leave with nothing, I will be satisfied. I really admired how Dixie Delight gave her best hair award to her actual hairdresser. I loved that about her. Genuine. Real. I think we often forget to give our gratitude to those who have helped us along the way.
6) What did you love about the Miss Viva Las Vegas competition?My family, friends, and clients played a huge role in getting me into the contest. I had all of my city backing me, pushing my votes, and campaigning. I had to get votes from the public to get into the contest – I think that made me hungrier for the title. It really was hard work getting people to vote for you just to be a contestant!
I come from a highly conservative community that doesn’t quite grasp the concept of Rockabilly or Pinup – they always thought I was in costume! Getting them to wrap their minds around an entire crowd of over 20,000 people dressing the part blew their minds.
I loved the competition – being on the stage with the other girls was the highest honour. It really didn’t matter to me if I won because I already thought that I was doing just fine by being there. I never thought the outcome would have came out like it did and I am forever thankful to Viva Las Vegas, Tom Ingram, Rockwell De’Vil, Lisa Love, and Cherry Dollface for giving me such a high honour.
Winning the title has definitely made me step my vintage life up. I look forward to future wardrobe choices and hopefully a career in the vintage fashion world.
Ginger was back for the Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend 18 earlier this year as reigning queen! Here’s a gorgeous photo below of Ginger with Gigi Fair on the left, and our very own Miss Viva Las Vegas 18, Miss Victory Violet on the right. What a bevy of beauties huh!
So there you have it … behind the scenes at Viva with the effervescent Ginger Watson. I’d like to thank Ginger for being so generous with her time and her beautiful photos and I do hope one day we can tempt her to visit little ol’ New Zealand for some workshops!
To spend more time with Ginger, you can check her out at the following spots:
And one last image of this beautiful lady … (just because I love this one!)
Love and Ginger Kisses …