Betty was one of the first participants to Show Us Your Tats. We fell in love with her retro look that makes you want to buy anything babydoll looking you can find. We loved her even more when she agreed to get in the water with us at Cherry Beach, with a thousand dogs (and their owners) staring at us.
Who are you?
Betty LaBourbon, burlesque performer based out of Toronto. My classic pin up style is the cherry on top of my electric performances, both as a solo performer and as part of the Femme Diagrams burlesque troupe.
Let's talk tattoos
I have 4 tattoos. The oldest is a maple leaf on the small of my back that was done for my 16th birthday. It was done in a small town shop outside of the city. My black widow was to remind me that I am strong in my own right, and was done by a friend. I have a Winnie the Pooh memorial piece for a family member who passed away. And I have a burned branch with my family's crest to keep me connected to my past. Those two were both done at Tat-a-rama in Etobicoke. So far that has been my favorite shop that I have visited in Toronto.
What was the time and budget allocated for each piece?
The maple leaf was maybe $100, it is not very big and it was done outside of the city many years ago. It was only maybe a half an hour to complete.
The black widow was even less than that since it was done by a friend who was an apprentice at the time. Again, it didn't take very long, maybe 20 minutes.
The branch took quite a bit longer, about 2 hours. It cost almost $300, and I gave the artist a good tip as well because he did an excellent job.
The Winnie the Pooh piece was maybe an hour and a half, and cost about $250, but again, I gave the artist, Joe Berry, a tip because, again, the artists at this shop do excellent work. I'm very picky because I either design my own tattoos, or have very clear ideas about what I want, so I need to work with artists who are willing to listen, and not all about their own ego and personal style.
Is the tattoo fever going to strike again?
Ooh absolutely! Tattooing is a great way to celebrate and remember important things, events, people. I have maybe 3 more planned, but I'm sure more ideas will come to me as time goes on.
Is there something you wish you had known before getting tattooed?
I did a lot of research before getting my first tattoo. I had to as a requirement before my parents would sign the consent forms! But I didn't realize it was going to be such a spiritual experience. You have an image that means something so personal to you that you want to carve it into your body. You sacrifice blood and pain for this image to be with you forever. That is an incredibly intense experience. And for me it became very spiritual. A way to give back to the universe for lessons learned or gifts received. I still feel that way every time I go under the needle.
How did you immediate family/circle of friends react?
My family has always been ok with tattoos. Both of my parents have them, and since I was so young when I got my first one, I needed their consent before it could be done! Strangely enough, my nose piercing caused more issue than any of my tattoos have! As for my friends, it was never an issue, either good or bad. They all wanted to hear about it, and teased me about going through the pain, but no one really seemed to consider it much beyond that. It's become very normalized in our culture I suppose.