Claire-Marie Pepper is an agronomist who works on peanut crops like this one in the South Burnett, but she also loves pin-up and vintage clothing.
Claire-Marie Pepper is an agronomist who works on peanut crops like this one in the South Burnett, but she also loves pin-up and vintage clothing. Madeline Grace

Meet our pin-up peanut scientist

CLAIRE-MARIE Pepper is a South Burnett agronomist throughout the working week, but on weekends she indulges in her creative side by donning pin-up vintage dresses.

Miss Pepper works as an agronomist for Northern AgriServices' Kingaroy and Murgon branches.

She said it was always her dream to be an agronomist.

"I studied agriculture at university. This was my first job, my grad job," Miss Pepper said.

"I was quite nervous to move here. It was a big change, but also I really love my work and have grown to love the South Burnett."

This is Miss Pepper's second year in the region, and she said getting involved in the community was a great way to make the South Burnett feel like home.

And it's kept her busy - Miss Pepper became involved with a rock and roll dancing group, the Kingaroy Girl Guides, the South Burnett Community Orchestra, joined an Anglican Church, entered the Nanango Show Society's Miss Showgirl competition and the Miss BaconFest pageant.

Claire Pepper is an Agronomist who does pin up.
Claire Pepper is an agronomist who loves pin-up fashion. Madeline Grace

Even though she works on the land, Miss Pepper has a passion for creativity and was heavily involved in arts programs through her years at high school.

"When people heard I was into agriculture they thought it was bit odd considering how creative I am," she said.

"But it's in my blood. My grandparents were into farming and then it skipped a generation and here I am.

"I've just always been interested in the environment and agriculture."

Miss Pepper's Aunt lived in the South Burnett more than 40 years ago, which was an extra incentive for her to make the big move from Townsville to the South Burnett.

"It was daunting for sure but I really love it here and everyone was so welcoming..." she said.

"Loving my work also helps, plus knowing I'm working in the best place to be doing what I'm doing with peanuts."

Claire Pepper is an Agronomist who does pin up.
Claire Pepper is an agronomist who has a passion for vintage fashion. Madeline Grace

When not at work, you can usually find Miss Pepper out and about in the South Burnett community, donning a vintage get-up.

Miss Pepper first became interested in vintage fashion when she was about 15 and used to volunteer at a vintage store during high school.

"For me it's just how I feel I'm supposed to be dressed," she said.

"I feel comfortable and most confident when I'm wearing my vintage outfits.

"It all started the first time I put on a vintage-style dress."

While authentic vintage pieces can carry quite the price tag, Miss Pepper has managed to achieve her look on a budget by shopping sustainably.

"I think it's really important to try and be sustainable and ethical with my shopping, so I buy mostly second-hand," she said.

"It's always fun checking out second-hand and vintage stores.

"I also make a lot of my own pieces. Sewing is one of my creative outlets."

But for work, Miss Pepper pulls on her trusty jeans, boots, a hat, and her work shirt.

Miss Pepper has plans to take part in another pin-up pageant later this year in Brisbane.

"The theme is kinda country styled which is exciting," she said.

"I just really enjoy getting all dolled up and doing something new that puts me outside my comfort zone.

"I've found a really lovely community too. There's a lot more of us out there than you would think."

For the Wild West-themed pageant, Miss Pepper will be wearing her hat and boots, along with a skirt she's making and plenty of tassels.

Miss Pepper has plans to stay in the South Burnett and continue working in the peanut industry.

"I've just been loving it here. I was really hoping to get a job where I was able to learn while hitting the ground running out on the land," she said.

"I've really been able to learn through face to face interaction with our farmers and get to understand their struggles.

"Last year I studied my honours full time while working here on the land time full time."

She plans to complete her Ph.D in the South Burnett too.

"It's such a great place to do my research. I'm hoping it will work out," she said.

"I'm looking at maybe doing sustainable agriculture with it."