Rarely Wears Lipstick Awards 2013

Back in January, I announced that I would be celebrating my blog’s birthday rather than my own this year, and planned to do it by giving out some awards. Ten years of blogging deserves an awards ceremony, don’t you think? I asked my readers to nominate wonderful people, organisations and brands – so that the shortlists weren’t simply full of folk I already knew – and this brought quite a selection of new names to my attention. Before long I had some shortlists and opened the voting. The sheer number of votes received was impressive and it took some deft Excel skills from yours truly to work out who the winners were.

The ceremony for the Rarely Wears Lipstick Awards took place at Horse Bar in Waterloo on Friday 22nd March, and I’m pleased to say that the room was filled with awesome people who spend their time doing rather inspirational things. I envisioned the event as the sort of evening where people would catch up with old friends, make some new ones, spend a lot of time saying “hi, I follow you on Twitter!”, and leave feeling inspired and/or drunk. I knew how to make that happen, but I wasn’t really sure how to make that into an awards ceremony worth going to. Thankfully the multi-talented Topper and Amanda stepped in to take my half-baked concept and add a whole lot of polish.

We arrived at the venue late afternoon with bags full of trophies, freebies and tech kit. Knowing that I’m about as practical as a chocolate teapot, my wonderful friends worked around my mild stressing to turn the bar’s function room into an awards venue. Then, at around 8pm, the stage lights came up and a man in a top hat and glitter introduced me to the audience – the Rarely Wears Lipstick Awards Ceremony was under way! The first award, presented by me, was for Best Fashion Blogger. The winner was the beautifully dressed Gemma Seager from Retro Chick, who amused us all with her brief yet enthusiastic acceptance speech of “woo, trophy!”. Next on stage were Sam and Lea from The High Tea Cast to present the award for Best Feminist Blog. The winner was a rather surprised Zoe Stavri for Another Angry Woman.

After the first two awards were presented, the bar area was cleared of patrons by a rather stern ballet mistress ready for a performance by some of the dancers from Irreverent Dance. This included me, so I was very pleased that Sam and Lea had kindly given me plenty of time to slip into my ballet shoes! As the tag line says that ID is “for adults that don’t know their Barre from their Bar”, it was rather appropriate that we performed our pliés at a booze-stocked bar for once! Despite the comedy aspect, I hope we proved that each of us has managed to learn some pretty good ballet skills in less than a year.

Once the naughty dancers had been shooed from the stage, the award for Best Burlesque Performer was presented by my good friend Little Miss Naughty. Sadly the winner, Lolo Brow, couldn’t be with us on the night, but I have ensured that she received her trophy. Fingers crossed Miss Cairo Mascara isn’t too upset about losing out to Lolo, but if they do get into a fight about it I hope it’s on a stage somewhere! Next up was the award for Best Independent Fashion Brand, which was won by Tatty Devine. The lovely founders, Harriet Vine and Rosie Wolfenden, couldn’t be there on the night but they sent us a wonderfully cheerful video message to say thanks. Their Monmouth Street shop is now holding on to the trophy.

After some hilariously brilliant poetry from Ali Brumfitt – the poet who I’m sure can convert anyone to the joys of the spoken word – I presented the Creativity Inspiration Award to the fashionably nerdy Jess Hawke. (Yes, the Heptagrin Girl!) Then compère extraordinaire Lucky van den Boon took to the stage to announce the winner of the LGBT Inspiration Award. A representative from the wonderful charity Mermaids had hoped to join us on the night, but the weather and unreliable public transport intervened. They have now received their trophy and would like to thank everyone who nominated and/or voted for them. The final performance was from Little Miss Naughty as a young scantily clad blonde horror film star, singing a slightly alternative and very amusing version of The Corrs’ Runaway.

In the last segment, I announced the winner of the Body Image Inspiration Award – Georgina Horne from Fuller Figure Fuller Bust who sent us a lovely thank you message. She now has the trophy in her grasp too! The final award of the night was the SRE Inspiration Award which went to joint winners Dr Petra Boynton & Justin Hancock. Petra asked that the trophy was given to Justin, “because he has been a tireless worker for sexual health – particularly with young men but for young people generally. I hope in him winning this award that bigger sexual health organisations recognise the talents he has, and the skills and methods they ought to be listening to, learning from and most importantly publicly celebrating.”

Once the awards had been handed out, goodie bags had been distributed, and all of the performers provided with pants – thanks to Playful Promises and Pants to Poverty! – it was time to make sure the bar staff were kept busy. With my mingling hat on, I: congratulated Gemma, Zoe, Jess and Justin; finally chatted to Arched Eyebrow properly; met some of the Bad Rep gang; caught up with The Test Shot; talked fashion with Esther Freeman; said hello to CN Lester; chatted with my fellow Irreverent Dancers; and watched without surprise as the Barelesque minxes ended the evening by taking charge of the ballet mistress’s riding crop!

It was a wonderful night that exceeded my expectations by a long way. Congratulations to all the winners and nominees – there is clearly a lot of love for what you’re doing. The splendid Miss Morphic was videoing the night and I shall share her fine work with you once the editing is complete. Thanks very much to Topper for the fantastic nominee montages and overall tech awesomeness, Amanda for the splendidly smooth stage management, and everyone who came along. I’ve met some amazing people during my first ten years of blogging. I do hope that I continue to meet many more in the years to come.

UPDATE: The video is finished and it’s a perfect summary of the night! Thanks again to every single person who made this joyous celebration of talent and diversity possible.

 Top image by lipsticklori. All other images by Lyle, for Rarely Wears Lipstick. Video filmed and edited by Miss Morphic.