Katie Kaleidoscope is the type of girl books are written about. She is an incredibly cultured individual that lives life as though it is her canvas to paint- filled with authenticity, rawness and a finality to detail. She is the very essence of creativity and an expert on all things vintage- especially the 40s era! When I sat down with Katie to learn about her journey into the world of vintage and pinup, I realised that she is a rare and soulful individual that cares deeply about the vintage community she has helped to create.
The story of Katie and theatre-
Katie’s journey into a vintage lifestyle was inevitable from the start. She grew up in a very ‘creative and theatrical household’ where both her parents where immersed in music- she distinctly remembers her dad always playing Billy Joel and Elton John records. While all her friends in school were into bands like Paramore, Katie found jazz music and become influenced by artists such as Ella Fitzgerald and Nina Simone. This eventually led her into the world of musical theatre, and she hasn’t looked back since.
Simply put; Katie is a musical theatre guru. She has seen almost every notable musical production in existence and is familiar with all the soundtracks. Her favourite production is the Sondheim composed ‘Into the Woods’ which underlines her appreciation for substance and artistry.
The effect of a musical theatre background on Katie has been twofold. Firstly, it has helped to shape her into the instinctively creative person that she is today- in learning about the importance of characterisation, Katie has mastered the art of self-expression. Secondly, it has taught her the significance of having an attention to detail- this not only allows her to be an incredible pinup pageant judge but also enables Katie to live life with an awareness to the small things that people often miss.
Style and Influences-
If Katie could meet with anyone famous, it would be the irreplaceable Amy Winehouse. While Katie was originally drawn to Amy’s jazz heritage, her admiration also stems from her candour and authenticity. In her early 20s Katie began dressing in what she describes as ‘grunge vintage’ which was initially inspired by Amy’s late 50s/early 60s beehive style. Through much experimentation in different eras, Katie was able to find a vintage style that was a true reflection of herself- the 40s. She perfects this style by dressing in brands that are a replica and ode to this era- most notably, The House of Foxy, Miss Candyfloss and Vivienne of Holloway. Her style influences for this period are Jane Russell and Marlene Dietrich.
While there is much misconception regarding the aesthetic of an ‘authentic vintage pinup’, Katie remarks that ‘you don’t have to have your hair in a vintage set everyday to be a pinup’, she adds that ‘it’s all about incorporating vintage elements to your everyday lifestyle- I always love wearing a black swing skirt because I can match it with everything!’
Sitting across from Katie, I noticed that her winged eyeliner matched perfectly and decided to ask her about her favourite beauty products. She informed me that she loves using stage makeup - specifically Kryolan foundation to get a matte finish. For her signature red lips, Katie uses lipsticks from the NYX collection.
Last year, Katie Kaleidoscope was crowned the 2019 Pinup Doll Australia winner making this her seventh pageant title. In the competition, Katie performed as Mary Poppins for her ‘pinup by day’ routine and then transformed herself into the Queen for her ‘pinup by night’ routine which was performed to ‘Killer Queen.’ She remembers the whole experience being ‘incredibly surreal and just a lot of fun!’ In the lead up to the competition, Katie was able to raise over three thousand dollars for the Soi Dog Foundation which seeks to prevent animals in Asia from abuse and injury.
While beauty pageants are often associated with negativity, the Australian vintage beauty community is taking progressive steps to break that stigma. This is a topic of much passion for Katie as vintage competitions are ‘an inclusive and supportive environment where the focus isn’t on winning but rather having fun and celebrating our love for vintage.’
I asked Katie what her advice would be to someone wanting to get involved pinup competitions:
- Firstly, they should go watch a competition to learn about the different categories and get inspiration.
- Secondly, they should speak to someone who has been in a competition to get advice and feedback.
- Lastly, their routine should emphasise their strengths and talents- In Katie’s instance, this is her love of singing.
In the last year, Katie has been on the judging committee of numerous vintage competitions where she has been able to offer support and guidance to fellow vintage enthusiasts.
Integral to the character of Katie Kaleidoscope is her love and devotion to the vintage community. Katie is a member of an empowering Melbourne based vintage group called the ‘Vic Vixens’ who have become a second family to her.‘Through the group I was able to make lifelong friends’, including the stunning Scarlet Soda and gorgeous Bambi Lamour! A long-term goal for Katie is to continue to help the vintage community grow and prosper which is a true testament to her character. She explained to me that the Vic Vixens are a very warm group of individuals who seek to support and build each other up- it doesn’t matter if you’re shy or introverted as the group is inclusive and loving of everyone.
I walked away from my conversation with Katie feeling incredibly motivated and inspired by her wisdom. I realised that as long as the vintage community has Katie Kaleidoscope on their side, they can conquer the world.
You can follow Katie Kaleidoscope on the below links-
Join the Vic Vixens: https://www.facebook.com/groups/VicPinupCommunity/
Photos courtesy of Katie Kaleidoscope