SHALVEY resident Nathan Robinson said his self-esteem and confidence was at the lowest it had ever been.
He was going through a divorce; he had lost his home; and he had recently moved back home to Canberra from Western Australia.
Then he entered the Mr Pinup category in the Miss Pinup Australia competition.
The competition focuses on the return of old-fashioned values and vintage fashion — and life started to look promising again for the 28-year-old.
"I'm on top of the world," he said.
"I met my new girlfriend Miss Wurple Violet through the competition, and then I relocated to Shalvey to be with her and her three kids. It's been a whirlwind of positives."
Robinson, who goes by the pin-up name Harley Quinn, won the Mr Pinup NSW category at the state finals on June 29 at Blacktown Workers Club.
The contestant, who draws inspiration from the TV show Happy Days, said the competition was more than a beauty pageant — it was a journey of self-growth.
"We haven't seen it as a competition and I have made some really good friends," he said.
"I have been growing personally throughout the whole experience.
"Now wearing vintage — I wear a lot more colour and I have even come out of my shell."
Robinson said he and his fellow male competitor, Gentleman Jack De Wilde, have become "real good" friends.
"It's not about beating him," he said.
"It's about supporting each other which we have done by talking, bouncing ideas of each other and overall encouraging each other."
Robinson will see his sister, Miss Annie Key, who is also competing in the national competition on August 2, at Hornsby RSL.