On April 2nd, Brighton’s Proud Cabaret held their first Pin Up girl contest. With the first round held on Facebook; Brighton’s public voted in their droves for their favourite ten ladies to take to the stage.
Across three, five minute rounds, the contestants were judged by Sophia, manager of Fresh Models agency; Simon Webster, Brighton hairdresser and owner of Simon Webster Hair and a special Guest Judge, announced on the night as Proud Cabaret’s own Ji.
The night was hosted by Coco Dubois, a blonde bombshell who performs regularly at Proud’s sister venue in Camden. All sultry looks and killer curves, Coco whipped the crowd into a frenzy in preparation for the three rounds.
Among the beautiful girls competing for the coveted title was stunning red head Crystal King, “it’s my birth name, my mum knew I’d be a burlesque dancer!” Nervous and down to earth, Crystal won the crowd over and went on to win with a relatable performance in the question round and a daring Burlesque performance as her talent.
“I really didn’t think it would be me, obviously, but I was hoping! It was mad!” Crystal says of her win, “Especially looking at the talent round, I was up against such great competition!”
I meet Crystal in her basement Brighton flat, filled with the delightful scent of incense and furnished with comfy, low sofas and blankets. The model and dancer is dressed down in comfy jeans and a jumper, still looking as beautiful as she was all dressed up on competition night. This down to earth side of her is obvious in conversation, particularly when talking about the contest itself.
Asked that most tricky of questions, ‘Why do you deserve to win?’, Crystal simply answered, “I’m a Brighton Girl and I think I represent Brighton well.” A valid point; given Crystal’s transformation. Born and raised in the New Forest, Chrystal studied dance in GCSE and A-level, even taking part in The Nutcracker with the English Youth Ballet.
Proceeding to study professionally, she auditioned for Brighton’s Platinum Angels, an agency she now plays a major part in. When they required a Burlesque choreographer, Crystal tried her hand and never looked back. She has done glamour and fetish modelling in the past, “I did glamour modelling when I was blonde. When I went red that was it, I started making money!”
However, her gravitation from ballet dancer to sultry pin up starlet came about from her move to our Seaside City. “I love the people in Brighton. Everyone is so creative and they don’t bat an eyelid at things. Everyone is just accepting aren’t they… anything goes!”
Though the redhead is into a more alternative style of performance, Crystal went for a more classic routine for the Proud contest. “I’d done a couple of Halloween shows at Proud before but they have a more classic style than what I usually do,” she says of her normal routines.
“The contest was a good way to showcase my new classic routine. I choreographed it specially.” Winning her first ever contest clearly proves that this new “classic” performance works for her. Her winning routine was done to Fred Astaire’s ‘The Way You Look Tonight’ and can be found on her YouTube channel.
Utilising an umbrella to tease her audience after stripping herself of a beautiful velvet costume, Crystal wore shimmy’s and glittery pasties as she glided across the stage in her lingerie. Looking back on the performance, Crystal jokingly suggests it didn’t take much to win, “I think it was my boobs that won it!”
Despite getting down to just nipple tassels and a thong on stage, Crystal has a somewhat surprising day job, further reiterating her down to earth personality. “I also work in Child care believe it or not! A different end of the spectrum! I looked after children with mental health problems, it grounds me that stuff. But I’m just starting a new job at the Fun Factory with a friend, it’s just opened off London Road, a soft play area for kids. I’ll be putting on events there.”
It’s not hard to see Crystal is an incredibly hard worker and deserves every success in life. As well as managing events for children, choreographing for Platinum Angels, fire dancing, modelling and, of course, Burlesque, Crystal also joins a huge part of the Brighton population with her passion for Animal Rights.
“I’m looking into doing more with Animal Rights maybe a modelling campaign. Brighton is perfect for it and it’s something I’m really passionate about,” she enthuses. “I’d like to get together with some animal friendly shops for promotion.” It doesn’t stop there, “I have other ideas for animal friendly burlesque products as well. It’s just about raising awareness really, making people aware of what they’re eating and using and where it comes from.”
So, this is a girl who really embodies the Brighton way of life. Deserving of her new title of ‘Miss Proud 2014’, she’s happy just carrying on with the day-to-day for now, “Just for the craic I did try entering Miss Sussex but they told me I was too old. I think I’m happy with just the one title for now!”