ACT News

Canberra pin-up model has sights set on Vegas

It's not uncommon for modern pin-up models to dress vintage even when there are no cameras or runways in sight.

But Weston Creek's Karley Byrne "lives and breathes the pin-up lifestyle," rarely leaving the house without some pin curls, round-toed pumps and a rockabilly dress.

Karley Byrne (known as Miss Cherrybomb) has been short-listed to compete in the Viva Las Vegas Pin-Up Contest in April.
Karley Byrne (known as Miss Cherrybomb) has been short-listed to compete in the Viva Las Vegas Pin-Up Contest in April. Photo: Jamila Toderas

The 21-year-old can partly thank this passion for being short-listed for the Viva Las Vegas Pin-Up Contest 2016.

Twelve women will get to strut their stuff in the entertainment capital of the world in April. Ms Byrne, known as Miss Cherrybomb, has made the top 50 finalists in the running for the six public-voted spots.

"In 2012, I decided that this was me and I was going to make it my whole life," she said.

"I'll sit at home at night and put my hair in sponge rollers. Everything in my wardrobe is either vintage style or 1950s vintage."

The Viva Las Vegas is apparently one of the few pin-up competitions recognised worldwide.

It's a four-day event with burlesque dances, pool parties, cars, music and, of course, a crown and sash for the pin-up winner.

While she has entered other pageants and made nationals round for the pin-up Australia contest, standing on the Vegas stage has been her dream for years.

"I never felt comfortable in the clothes and style that were popular," she said.

"It was incredibly empowering to change."

She said there is a stigma attached to her fashion sense – people assume she's dressing to impress.

"They think that because you took the time to do your hair and make-up or you dress like a chick from the '50s, you're all of a sudden the perfect housewife, and you can dance and you can cook and you can clean," she said.

While pin-up modelling has always been "elegant", she said a lot of it has moved away from sexualisation, into a celebration of diversity and acceptance.

"There are so many different body shapes and different cultures in the pin-up scene."

"No one says 'You can't wear that, you're too big or you're too small'. It's a culture of love and happiness, where you set yourself apart and embrace who you are in the inside."

View and vote for finalists at vivalasvegas.net/pin-up-contest