Rolleston School teacher’s vintage style makes top 10

STYLE: Taumutu resident and Rolleston School teacher Jade Bell has made the top 10 of the 19 Black Miss Pinup New Zealand competition. PHOTO: BRAD REEVE

From the classroom to the catwalk.

Rolleston School teacher Jade Bell will be strutting her stuff in the 19 Black Miss Pinup New Zealand competition next month.

The competition encourages women of all shapes and sizes to feel confident, step out of their comfort zones and to show their inner and outer beauty through the art of pin-up.

For Miss Bell, also known as Miss Harmony Belle, the challenge is one she’s set herself after a series of health scares.

On Christmas Eve in 2004, the Taumutu resident was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Miss Bell underwent six months of chemotherapy and radiation treatment before being given a clean bill of health.

“That’s had an impact on who I am,” she said.

FASHION: Rolleston School teacher Jade Bell in one of her vintage style outfits.

Miss Bell says it was a “shock” losing her long hair and something her pupils also had to get used to.

A learn to skate session last year saw the then 37-year-old take her first ride in the ambulance after she fell and broke her back.

“I had watched lots of people hit the ground and get back up . . . I was finding it really hard to breathe and I started getting numbness in my hands and the pain wasn’t going,” she said.

Miss Bell had “very limited” movement for six weeks and had to take a term-and-a-half off teaching to recover from the accident.

It was a “bit of a blow” for Miss Bell, who had recently completed two half marathons and was enjoying getting into running.

“I could still do the pin-up stuff which is part of what got me through it too,” she said.

Miss Bell started dressing in vintage-inspired clothing about two years ago and says it’s had a positive impact on her life.

“I’ve made lots of friends, I’ve learnt to style myself, I love the fashion and I feel really good about who I am and I’ve come a long way and this [the competition] is kind of my next step, my next challenge,” she said.

Although it’s her first time entering, Miss Bell watched the event last year and says she’s “so excited” to be a part of it this time.

The competition will take place in Auckland on November 3 and 4 as part of The Very Vintage Day Out. The event celebrates many elements of the early 1940s and late 1960s.

The top 10 finalists will compete in four categories, day wear, beachwear, talent
and evening wear, over the two days.

Miss Bell plans to sing, accompanied by her partner John Wood on guitar, for the talent part of the competition.

The top four finalists will then be selected and asked further questions before a winner is decided.

Prizes, including vouchers and goody bags, will be given to the winner, runner-up, people’s choice and picture perfect.

•To vote for Miss Bell in the people’s choice category visit


  1. Well Done!!!!
    Wish many teachers could do what she has done without fear of conformity, ridicule or sarcasm from others..!