Her whole life, Darla Sporri has always been a shy, introverted person. Then one fine day she surprised herself and everyone around her by entering a photo contest to become the cover girl of a coveted tattoo magazine.
“I’m looking at it like my time to shine,” she says about the competition, adding, “This is a really good way to overcome fears and inhibitions.”
Not many people who meet her would guess that she has more than 70 tattoos. Participating in the contest has given her the confidence to not cover them up as much.
“If you have tattoos, why hide it?” says 46-year-old Sporri, who entered the Inked Magazine cover girl contest in December.
Every year the New York-based magazine holds this contest, open to everyone across North America, to select a tattooed model for their cover page. Sporri, entered once before but did not make it to the final leg. However, she was determined to persevere.
Today, the Terrace resident and mother of two, is has made it to the final top five.
For Sporri, it’s not about winning, but more about being a part of the Inked Magazine cover girl contest.
It goes back to her childhood when she would glance through the pages of tattoo magazines and secretly wish to be one of those models featured there. She also sees her tattoos as a tribute to her deceased dad. “When I was a little girl my dad has tattoos and he was my hero.”
Tattoos are part of self-expression for Sporri, who says that each tattoo has been a milestone in her road to recovery from the tragedies of her past.
She got her first tattoo at the age of 17 in Prince George where she was born and raised. “It was an act of rebellion,” she says about that little rose tattoo which has been covered up since.
She moved to Terrace in 2005 and since then most of her tattoos have been done by northwest B.C. artists like Richard LaChance from Rich With Colours.
She kept adding art to her body, she says, about the designs which are mostly animals. A kitten, elephant, squirrel, shark, puppy, giraffe, zebra and an owl are among some of the designs.
Her friends fondly call her a “tattoo freak.” But getting a tattoo is like eating a potato chip, “you just can’t have one,” she says about adding art to her body.
Her family, colleagues at Peterbilt Pacific and the whole community have been “super supportive” of her during these past months, she says. People’s perceptions toward tattoos have changed dramatically and that is very encouraging, says Sporri.
“When I first got tattoos it was frowned upon, even my mother was not happy with me… now it’s odd when you don’t see tattoos. People have gone on to express themselves with body art and tattoos can be very beautiful.”
As Sporri entered the quarterfinals of the competition last week, she says that she feels a little 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.”