Performers are flamboyant, decorative and colourful, but sometimes this isn’t just there costuming but their skin as well. Meet these beautiful tattooed performers…
I tend to use a lot of organs and blood in my show. Just recently at Burlesque Bar I managed to scare some little old ladies out of the bar and I only used a teeny bit of blood in my mouth. I love to shock people, with shock tactics and theatrics and a hell of a lot of SFX makeup.
It makes me smile when I catch an audience member’s reaction. People say shock theatrics are tacky. What can I say? I’m a tacky kinda girl!
Being on stage is very empowering. I love connecting with an audience, whether or not it’s just one person or everyone. For that one moment I have people eating out of my hand, all it takes is a slight grin and a cheeky wink.
As a tattooed performer I make silly decisions and get random tattoos; life’s too short to be procrastinating. That’ll serve me right for getting a camel on my big toe. That and my throat gash are my two party tricks, asking people if they wanna see my camel toe or finger my gash only to see the look on their faces is priceless.
Performing on the pole for a crowd is out of this world! For major pole dance competitions I train for months to get up there and perform a five minute routine. Standing backstage you’re thinking ‘please let me nail every trick, every step, every count’ but once you’re on stage it all goes blank and you just give everything you have to that crowd and dance.
The best adrenaline rush in the world is those five minutes on stage! You’ve worked so hard to get there and it’s almost like falling in and out of consciousness. One moment you can hear the crowd screaming for you, and then it’s just you, your pole and your music. To truly share a part of yourself with people and have them applaud you is beyond amazing!
As a tattooed performer I think that my tattoos reflect my love of creativity and my need to be seen. I am very lucky to be in an eccentric, creative industry where I have not encountered any prejudice against my tattoos. It’s in fact quite the opposite as I’m now becoming known for my ‘look’, which is always a good thing for people with lots of ink as gone are the days when people can say we have no drive!
Kelly Ann Doll
It’s crazy! I’ve had the privilege of being able to dance in front of thousands since I was very young and, of course, I got addicted to being in control of people’s energy. Over the past 10 years I’ve pushed myself during every show to making sure every single person loses their shit!
Waking up on show day is full of anxiety for me, great anxiety though, it’s always all full day packing, primping, pacing, rushing, practicing, stressing, freaking and then before you know it you’re there with a room full of people and then your name is being introduced and people you don’t even know are screaming for you, the music starts, and its all a blur… I take a bow and run off stage. Sweaty, puffing, a complete mess, just taking that few seconds of what the hell just happened!
My tattoo is about letting go of your fears and just going for it. There is going to be a lot of people in this business that don’t think you’re right, and no matter what you do, they just want to keep you back and it hurts. I got the majority of the tattoo done at once, 32 hours in four days! An experience that I hope I never have to endure again, but it gave me the strength to believe that if I can handle that, I can handle anything. www.kellyanndoll.com.au
As a tattooed performer I don’t have any circus tattoos… yet! Mine are mainly all superstitious ones. I’ve been told not to get tattoos before. Perhaps they were right, but I’ve been told not to do a lot of things and I haven’t learned to listen yet.
It’s rewarding to be able to make people smile and cheer when I’m on a lyra. It makes me happy to have worked so hard on a trick or an act and then be able to share it and have people enjoy it.
The best adrenaline rush for me is being scares, or roller coasters, they’re pretty rad, I like when people hide and jump out at me!
I have only been sword swallowing for a little over a year. After I discovered I had such a unique hidden talent, my shows began instantly evolving into so much more. I kind of found who I am as a performer after I swallowed that first sword – before then I was a little all over the place with style, aesthetic, artistic premise etc and since then I have very quickly found out who I really am and what I represent as a variety artist – SO since that shift I have realised that my tattoos are also apart of circus history, although I am a cabaret/variety specialty act, there is a lot of circus in me, so I coined the moniker ‘Sword Swallowing Painted Lady’.
Recently I added a couple of work related tattoos, first was the sword on my throat. I am not a throat tattoo kind of girl but once I realised that this is what I can do and I am good at it, it just seemed to perfect not to get. Pre-show nerves are a pretty exciting adrenaline rush. Sometimes when my heart is really racing on stage and I swallow (especially) my big sword, I can feel my heart thumping against the blade and it just sets off every nerve in my system, it is absolutely wild! I have to mentally tell myself) ‘Be cool Lucky, calm breaths this is normal, you’re ok’.