Voice of Skeena | “If you have tattoos, why hide it?” – Standard Terrace
All her life, Darla Sporri has always been a shy and introverted person. Then one fine day, she surprised herself and everyone around her by entering a photo contest to become the cover girl for a coveted tattoo magazine.
“I consider it my time to shine,” she said of the competition, adding, “It’s a really good way to overcome fears and inhibitions.”
Few who meet her would guess that she has over 70 tattoos. Entering the contest gave her the confidence to not cover them so much.
“If you have tattoos, why hide it?” says Sporri, 46, who entered the Inked magazine cover girl contest in December.
Each year, the New York-based magazine holds this contest, open to anyone across North America, to select a tattooed model for their cover page. Sporri, entered once before but did not reach the last stage. However, she was determined to persevere.
Today, the Terrace resident and mother of two, made it into the final top five.
For Sporri, it’s not about winning, it’s about being part of the Inked magazine cover girl contest.
It dates back to her childhood when she used to scour the pages of tattoo magazines and secretly wished she was one of those models featured there. She also sees her tattoos as a tribute to her late father. “When I was little my dad had tattoos and he was my hero.”
Tattoos are part of self-expression for Sporri, who says each tattoo has been a milestone on her journey to healing from the tragedies of her past.
She got her first tattoo at age 17 in Prince George where she was born and raised. “It was an act of rebellion,” she says of this tiny rose tattoo that has since been covered up.
She moved to Terrace in 2005 and since then most of her tattoos have been done by Northwestern BC artists like Richard LaChance of Rich With Colours.
She continued to add art to her body, she says, of the designs which are mostly animals. A kitten, elephant, squirrel, shark, puppy, giraffe, zebra and owl are among the designs.
Her friends affectionately call her a “tattoo maniac”. But getting a tattoo is like eating a potato chip, “you just can’t have one,” she says of adding art to her body.
Her family, colleagues at Peterbilt Pacific and the entire community have been “super supportive” of her over the past few months, she says. People’s perception towards tattoos has changed dramatically and that’s very encouraging, says Sporri.
“When I first got tattoos it was frowned upon, even my mum wasn’t happy with me… now it’s weird when you don’t see tattoos. People have continued to express themselves with body art and tattoos can be very beautiful.
As Sporri entered the quarter-finals of the competition last week, she says she feels a bit like a celebrity. “When people vote for you it really boosts your confidence even though deep down I’m still that same shy girl.”