Joanie keeps Sandra Dee image alive
By SAMANTHA TURNBULL
SURF-girl icon Sandra Dee passed away this year but Gidget is alive and well in Suffolk Park.
Joanie MacKenzie, 60, is Australia's very own version of the late Sandra Dee who starred in the 1959 movie Gidget.
The Suffolk Park beach babe won an Australia-wide search for a Sandra Dee look-alike at the tender age of 16.
The tiny-framed beauty was living in Toowoomba at the time of the competition and was dobbed into the judges by her department store workmates.
"They thought I was a cute little thing, so they pushed me into it," she said.
"They just wanted to find someone that looked like her.
"I was short and had curly hair so they picked me."
As part of her official Miss Gidget duties, Joanie had to attend the Australian premiere of the movie and a few 'fancy' dinners.
She said the dinners were the most daunting part of her reign.
"I'd never dined out in my life and was being taken to a big posh restaurant," she said.
"I grew up in a family of eight and we'd never been out for dinner before ? I had to learn what forks to use because I had no idea."
But she said it was an honour to be compared to Sandra Dee.
"She was such a perky little thing," she said.
"It was a great era."