Rockabilly Shona shines inside and out

Alison Smith




Front Page

Shona Sharp turns heads wherever she goes in Peggy Sue, her 1960 107E Ford Prefect, but there’s more to this Whangamata¯ Beach Hop lifer than her looks or her car. Shona always dresses up when she takes Peggy Sue out, and there’s a motivation for this: “It gets people smiling even more.” Shona will be representing the Bay of Plenty and also Waih¯ı, Thames, Paeroa, Hauraki and the Coromandel where she lived for 23 years, having made it to the top 10 in The Miss Pin Up NZ competition next month. The former Waihou and Paeroa local lives in Tauranga where she works as a diversional therapist at a rest home. “Our motto is ‘just because you are in a rest home it doesn’t mean your life stops’,” she says. Naturally the residents are among her biggest fans. Rex O’connor, Mary Von Blaremberg and Jennifer Mundy say they know she’s got what it takes to win. “But don’t ever entice her away from here,” added Jennifer. Shona organised a flight in a Tiger Moth for former airman Rex O’connor, 86, while Jennifer went tandem skydiving on both her 81st and 82nd birthdays. They all adore her, and Mary admires Shona’s feminine style. “You can just wear anything these days and get away with it,” Mary says. Shona is a 50-year-old nana and has fostered many children over the years. She’s raising three grandchildren, two biological and one foster, while working fulltime. During level 3 lockdown in September this year for Father’s Day, Shona found a way to bring some joy and happiness by speaking with police and Healthline to organise with approval a wonderful rockabilly style cruise by with friends, family and hot rod clubs in the community. “Their smiles and tears of joy were priceless. There is never a dull moment with me around.” Shona has been to every Repco Beach Hop over the past 21 years. She says winning the title of Miss Pinup New Zealand would show her grandchildren to believe in themselves. Shona entered pin-up competitions over the past three years for fun in Tauranga, the Miss Lake Hop in Mangakino, Miss Motorama in Morrinsville, Miss Frankton Thunder and Repco Beach Hop, this year being hosted in November. She took top spot in two shows and says her most memorable moment was in Frankton Thunder. “I met a girl who was only 11 years old, she gave me a big hug and she and her auntie thanked me for being inspiring to her as she was bullied at school for being overweight. “When she saw me she said it gave her hope that she could be herself and it didn’t matter how she looked. I told her that she was beautiful inside and out and to always be herself and don’t let others put out her beautiful spark. I said that she can be whoever and whatever she wanted to be, but also that it doesn’t matter if you win or lose as long as you have fun.” Her pin-up passion comes from her parents who always rock n roll danced, and she still owns the handmade rockabilly skirt her mother wore 30 years ago. “It is full of colour and glam and it’s a great way to not only express my colourful personally but create my own individual look. There is no right or wrong way with Pin Up. It’s very creative.” Shona says you can do the look without spending too much money, but her friends say she’s crazy as at Repco Beach Hop, where she has an outfit for the day and an outfit for the night: “So we normally have to take another car as all my gear won’t fit in Peggy Sue”. Shona joins nine other beautiful contestants: Grace Velocette, Kaye Clyne, Miss Jazzylicious, Miss Katie Cupcake, Miss Lilith Fang, Retro Rebel, Miss Rosie Orion, Miss Tilly Divine, and Ms Jessy Junebug. iFollow the ladies on @veryvintagedayout on Instagram and at The Very Vintage Day Out at the Kumeu Showgrounds, February 12, with classic cars and hot rods, more than 80 vendors selling vintage, retro and rockabilly products, a vintage photo safari and vintage bake-off.