Jen Kaboom feels like she was groomed to moonlight as a pin-up model.
"I was kind of raised growing up retro, you know, growing up listening to Patsy Cline and Elvis, it was just kind of a way of life," the 25-year-old resident of Mount Pleasant said.
Kaboom participated in the first annual pin-up pageant of the WestCoast Tattoo and Culture Show, in Langley, and she'll participate in the show's third annual pageant this Friday, in Coquitlam.
About 20 competitors will be judged on their poise and how well they connect with the audience as they pose, flirt and vie to win pin-up shot packages in a glamour and a new talent round. The swimsuit segment has been ditched this year.
"There is going to be the alternative model competition the next day, and I'm sure you're going to see a lot of skin in that one," Kaboom said with a laugh. "Maybe they're saving it for Saturday."
She'll sing "Why Do Fools Fall in Love," by Frank Lymon and The Teenagers, a cappella.
"I just really like the crowd participation and interaction," said Kaboom, who has no previous experience performing. "It's really a confidence-booster. You get to share a little of who you are with everyone else."
The five-foot-three-inch tall bottled blond who hails from "smalltown" Alberta says she's always had a penchant for dresses, pin curls and wearing flowers in her hair. She doesn't see the pin-up pageants as sexist.
"If anything they're empowering," she said. "My first pageant that I did, I was by far the largest girl on stage in a swimsuit and I actually got the loudest applause for my confidence because they were like, wow, a 200-pound woman can go up on stage in a retro bikini and rock it. You're poised, not being self-conscious of a little bit of cellulite you might have on your thigh, forgetting about it, having a good time and the crowd really enjoys that."
Her pin-up pageant participation has also helped boost Jen Kaboom Designs, the company she started last August, that sells her pin-up, retro and rockabilly fashion accessories.
By day, the woman who's inked with robot tattoos on each calf and almost a full sleeve of tattoos, is a chef who works as a nutritional advisor in a Vancouver inner city daycare that provides healthy breakfasts, lunches and dinners for children and a community dinner once a week.
She's happy to hold a rewarding 9 to 5 job, unlike the long hours she's previously toiled in restaurants, so she can pursue her passion for all things pretty and playful.
The WestCoast Tattoo Show happens at the Boulevard Casino, April 27 to 29. It features tattoo artist and reality TV star Chris Nunez from Spike TV's Ink Masters and TLC's Miami Ink, and Billy DeCola from TLC's New York Ink. More than 70 exhibitors and 125 world-renowned tattoo artists will show off their creativity at the event that also includes the first annual Vixen Alternative Model Pageant. Tattoo artists will compete for awards that include best portrait, cover-up, sleeve and tattoo of the day. For more information, see westcoasttattooshow.com.
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