Interview by Jo Blackened
Photography by Altercarnated Photography
Hey Peter, thank you for your time today. It is a pleasure to chat and take your photos today.
Hello, it’s a pleasure to meet you also and have the opportunity to work with you.
Firstly, I would like to say thank you for doing this shoot. I followed your work years ago, and then suddenly you seemed to stop. Was there a reason for this?
Ahh, that’s cool. I rarely meet people who’ve taken an interest in what I do/did. I took a rather large step back for multiple reasons. A photographer lied to me about information when an image was used by a popular online page. Instead of my model name being submitted, my real name was used which allowed people to find me and send hate mail (the image was horror based and definitely struck nerves). I had also been asked to do several shoots over time in which those involved were interested in using my pets (snakes and tarantulas) which I’ve absolutely no issue with but when you realise that you’re pretty much being used for your pets, I’d rather people were just honest about their intentions rather than taking a few quick shots of me than focusing on the other model(s). I very rarely get asked to shoot because most photographers I’ve spoken to find me “a little too extreme” and they don’t really know how to shoot me. I don’t go looking for shoots and I don’t promote myself as a model so that’s why my images are rare these days. I have a couple of photographers that I trust and know they’ll produce great results, so I shoot when either of us has time and ideas.
Is there a dark side to modelling and the photography industry that’s hidden?
I wouldn’t say the dark side is hidden so much. It’s more a case of people turning their backs and playing dumb when things are so evident. There’s a negative side to every industry unfortunately but it’s down to the people involved to keep as safe and pleasant as possible. There’s plenty of shit talking between models and photographers alike which is pretty pathetic. I’m really glad I kept out of that. I’ve read my fair share of reports about photographers with new female models where advantages are taken and it makes me feel sick and angry.
Starting from the beginning…what first got you into modelling?
It was with a friend that worked for Bizarre magazine (R.I.P) and they were doing a feature on their readers. She told me I should give it a shot so I figured “Fuck it, why not?”. I arranged a shoot, sent some of the images over and not expecting anything to come of it, but I got published; which was pretty awesome. I still have the magazine. It’s not a big section at all but it’s a pretty big deal to be in a magazine like that.
You have a strong image and a lot of body modifications. When did you first start doing this? Did it all start with just one piercing?
Thank you for the compliment. I got into body piercing much later than most. I had my tongue pierced at 18 and walking into a studio for the first time when it’s something for you and not your friend changes your perspective, or at least it did mine. I wasn’t just there so someone I knew could get a cool piercing, I was there because I was taking a big step and one that would open my mind to a world I’ve fallen in love with.
After the tongue piercing, I believe I waited a while before I got more but I was getting pierced every 3-4 months until I learned how to do it then I pretty much did them all myself.
The modifications were more difficult because back then (around 10 years ago), it was very underground and taboo so finding information was almost impossible. There was a website however called B.M.Ezine (Body Modification Extreme) which I discovered that was for modification enthusiasts alike to share there knowledge and experiences. This opened a huge information floodgate for me and I was able to map out what my next steps were from there.
You work in a tattoo shop as a body piercer? Are piercings and tattoos painful? You also have your tongue split, which must have hurt?
Yeah, I’m a body piercer (no, I don’t do tattoos also). Everyone responds differently to pain but yes, they both have an ouch factor. People can play it down but the fact is you’re having something sharp either repeatedly puncture your skin or pierce through a part of your body, it’s going to sting a bit but it’s only a little pain compared to the amount of time you’re going to spend loving the art you have acquired. The tongue split was my first step into body modification. I was both excited and fucking nervous on the day. It was absolutely amazing to finally meet ‘Dr Evil’ as I’d looked up to him for years. The split sucked! I know people that have claimed they were fine but mine was like the most intense paper cut you can imagine. The sutures were actually worse than the split however BUT the most painful part was the next 3-5 days after; that was HELL, but still totally worth it.
Also, you have 2 screws in your forehead, and you have different pieces of jewellery for this, such as horns?
Those are my transdermal implants; another extreme modification in which the bases rest on my skull. Think of them as extreme dermal anchors. I’ve currently got a pair of metal spikes and a pair of Delrin (the safest biocompatible plastic) spikes. I can hear them internally when I put them on which is pretty cool. I really want a pair of horns but I’m yet to find anyone that makes them.
What are the ‘general public’ reactions when seeing you in the street? Are there positive ones, as well as negative?
It’s entirely circumstantial. Locally, I really don’t see it but I’m never looking to see who’s doing what. Some people do stare but it’s not every day you see someone like me so I have to expect it. I believe the locals have become used to me though. If I’m in London or generally anywhere else, it’s definitely a different response because of the tourists or the fact I’m unknown. I get my picture taken (without permission mostly) and some do take the time to chat and ask questions which if I have the time, I’m always happy to answer and educate. I get both negative and positive responses but I’d say more positive now as this isn’t such a taboo anymore. Body piercing and modification is getting everywhere so the exposure has helped. I mainly try to remember the positive compliments too as negative ones come from uneducated ignorance.
What do you enjoy the most about being in front of the camera?
Creating a piece of art that no one else can. Seeing myself in a different way to how I’m used to seeing and fully embracing what I’m able to achieve with each shoot. You can be very expressive in a shoot to the point where you can make an image that will cause an impact when people see it. You let the image speak where you may not be able to.
Have you got a favourite shoot to date or photographer you’ve worked with?
I don’t believe so because I really enjoy all of the experiences I have with them. I learn more every time and there’s always at least one image that really stands out from the rest. Two of my favourite photographers to date are Tim Copsey (who mainly shoots London based fashion) because he always produces amazing images and I really enjoy our conversations. He actually shot my favourite image to date which is me with my boa Tyson. You can see the bond we have clearly and it pulls my heart strings every time I see it. Then there’s Mike Payne (regal photography). He’s a super humble, very grounded guy that’s a lot of fun to work with and whom I mainly do work with now. He’s produced some amazing images of me lately.
Do you think you’ll get back into modelling again on a more permanent basis?
That’s entirely down to photographers. I’m pretty much always happy to shoot and enjoy shooting. I know I don’t do myself any favours because I don’t throw up signs saying that I want to do it but the opportunity would certainly be nice.
Is there anyone you’d like to work with but haven’t yet?
This is actually the hardest question. I don’t follow the industry enough to see who’s in it or doing what but I like Rebecca Crow and the message she puts out. She has an amazing attitude and stands very proud and strong for her beliefs which is what I’m all about with my life style. There are many people that aren’t well known that I believe we’d make some awesome work. Ebony-sky Copeland is based in Australia and has an amazing look and personality to match. Honestly, I have no idea but I’d say if anyone would like to work with me, totally get in touch because I’ve been told a few times by other models they didn’t think I’d work with them. I’ll work with anyone on any level. I’m always game for a laugh in front of the camera once I’ve got over my anxiety and shyness haha.
What advice would you give someone thinking about doing body modification?
DOOOO IT!!! BUT research, research, research and when you think you’ve done it; research more. Like any industry, you have those that claim to be good at something but they’re actually not at all, so research your artist and ask to see their work. Contact their clients and ask questions to make sure you’re satisfied. Sit on the idea for a while (like a year or so) because the path you’re deciding to walk down is life-changing for you and not just physically. Body modification will change your mentality towards people and how you’ll deal with situations as well as how you’ll see yourself in the mirror so make sure it’s something you’re prepared to commit your life to because it’s a big deal…but soo worth it!!
What do you like to do in your spare time, do you have any hobbies?
Spare time..what’s that? Haha. If I haven’t burnt myself out from furthering my education with body piercing (because learning NEVER stops if you want to further yourself) then I like to go for walks with my dog Angel. We either go for early morning beach walks when it’s dead or in the local woods where I always get lost. I’m a film fanatic also, so I try to watch something whenever possible. I love getting lost in a good storyline. I keep two royal pythons (Kalista and Yorkie) and as mentioned before, Tyson is my almost seven-foot boa constrictor. He’s an absolute powerhouse but a total babe. I have a few tarantulas too which I find fascinating to watch. I’ve not done it for some time but when the opportunity presents itself, I do body suspension with ‘State of Bliss’. It can be a mentally challenging process but it’s an incredible experience and I urge anyone to try it, even if just once!
Thank you so much for your time, Peter!