A RuPaul’s Drag Race superfan has forked out £10,000 to satisfy his drag queen idols and get 9 of the contestants’ portraits tattooed on him.
Name centre operator Craig Ford has spent a small fortune attending exhibits, conventions and meet-and-greet occasions – and even getting iconic queens inked on a leg sleeve and on his arm.
The 38-year-old was a relative newcomer to the Drag Race scene, solely being launched to season 5 of the present by friends in 2013, however since being ‘bitten by the bug’ hasn’t seemed again.
Actuality TV fan Craig stated he loves the glamorous transformations that the queens endure and the inclusive nature of the present.
Craig has had 9 contestants, together with Drag Race choose Michelle Visage, immortalised on his left leg and arm and claims he is frequently stopped on the street by individuals complimenting his tatts.
As tattoo parlours have opened again up, Craig already has his eye on filling the remaining house on his leg, and is even contemplating lasering previous inkings off his proper leg to make room for extra.
Craig, from Southend on Sea, Essex, stated: “I am positively one of many UK’s largest Drag Race followers, I really like the present.
“I am a RuPaul’s Drag Race superfan, I’ve spent 1000’s of kilos attending all these occasions and getting my tattoos performed.
“It could be round £10,000 in complete.
“The Drag Con was a little bit of an eye fixed opener, if I had that little bit more cash I might have simply spent £1,000 simply at Drag Con on merchandise.
“I’ve obtained 5 drag exhibits already booked for this 12 months and subsequent 12 months and I’ll attempt to squeeze one other tattoo in in some unspecified time in the future too.”
“I am not shy about having my legs out even when it is chilly, I are inclined to all the time be in a pair of shorts.
“Typically I get stopped on the street by individuals saying ‘Oh my god I really like your leg’.
“I went out to the grocery store lately and a lady in her late 70s stopped me and began speaking to me about my tattoos, it is completely loopy.”
Craig was launched to the present by two colleagues and after watching one episode he was hooked by the creativity and drama, binge-watching the complete season inside two days – then watched the earlier 4 seasons inside every week.
Craig stated: “The one cause I obtained launched to it was as a result of I used to be working with one other two homosexual lads at a store and so they have been always speaking about it.
“They in contrast the three of us to 3 of the queens from the season.
“They instructed me to go and watch an episode and to look out for these individuals, inside one episode I used to be completely drawn in.
“I completed the entire of season 5 inside two days after which I watched season one to 4 inside every week.
“Ever since then I obtained into the entire present – each franchise of it and each nation that is performed it thus far. I used to be bitten by the bug.
“I prefer to see the creation of what they can do in a brief house of time.
“What they will do from trying like somebody known as Brian to then turning into this magnificent different particular person.
“It is primarily to do with that and the tales, it is such an inclusive present for everybody.”
After watching his favorite queen Shangela seem in season three of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars, Craig determined to get a tattoo on his left forearm in March 2018 to rejoice her being again on screens.
Drag Race superfan Craig had pal and famend tattoo artist Sammy Surjay of Luna Blue Tattoo to do the portraits for him.
Craig stated: “My absolute favorite queen of all time is Shangela, it might take rather a lot for somebody to ever take over the fondness that I’ve for her.
“I wished to get one thing simply to mark the truth that she’d come again once more.
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“My pal determined to do a practical face with cartoony hair and her popping out of a field.
“Across the identical time we discovered that Shangela was doing an enormous tour the world over and he or she was going to be in London.
“It was the primary Drag Race present I might seen stay. Some individuals say you need to by no means meet your heroes however I did it anyway.
“I stated ‘I’ve obtained one thing to indicate you’, I rolled up my sleeve and confirmed her my arm and he or she set free one of many largest screams.
“I’ve seen Shangela just a few occasions and once I’ve been within the queue for meet and greets she’s remembered my face and he or she’ll wave.
“It was such an unimaginable expertise of going to see her, exhibiting her the tattoo and having a tremendous response from her.”
Since his first themed tattoo, his further five-inch tall inkings that take as much as an eye-watering six hours a sitting have shaped a sleeve on his left leg.
Craig stated: “Shangela began on my left arm then I went down my left leg, I have already got some tattoos on my proper leg.
“If I used to be going to [have more] it might be a case of both having to get some eliminated or attempt to work excessive.
“I can generally be within the chair 5 to 6 hours at a time. I all the time get them performed in a single sitting, I am a little bit of a bulldog like that.
“I am often okay for the primary couple of hours after which I begin going a bit inexperienced.
“After my Shangela tattoo I made a decision I used to be going to get extra performed after which one was two after which two was 5 and now into ten.
“I reckon I’ve obtained house for 2 or three extra queens on my leg, which is able to fill in some gaps, after which I am going to have a sleeve tattoo on my leg.
“I’ve met a lot of the queens who I’ve tattoos of now, I’ve had actually good responses from them.
“I attempt to put myself of their sneakers, they’re in all probability pondering ‘I went on the present and now some nutter has my face tattooed on their leg’. It have to be an insane feeling.”
Craig chooses his favorite queens based mostly on their personalities, appears and people who dedicate their time to championing LGBTQ points.
Craig stated: “I do have a favorite tattoo but it surely’s as a result of it has the bit extra which means to it, it is of Michelle Visage.
“I went to one of many Drag Race Christmas excursions in 2017 and Michelle Visage was internet hosting it.
“Michelle got here out and he or she did this actually wonderful speech about being an ally and it was in all probability essentially the most highly effective factor I’ve ever heard anybody say in regards to the LGBTQ group.
“I do not assume till that time have I ever stood there as an overtly homosexual man that I’ve ever actually felt happy with being a homosexual man.
“It took a lady who’s a actuality star choose on a present about drag queens to speak about her struggles with homosexual rights, it actually resonated with me.
“Ever since then I’ve simply idolised the girl, she’s simply such a beacon of what’s good on the earth.
“If there have been extra Michelle Visages on the earth the world can be a greater place so far as I am involved.
“Once I obtained the possibility to satisfy her I used to be so overcome. At one stage I believed I used to be going to cross out however she was so extremely good, she was an absolute diamond.”
Even when Drag Race left our screens any time quickly, Craig stated he would nonetheless be proud to have the inkings on his physique that might symbolize what he courses an iconic cultural legacy.
Craig stated: “Even when the present completed it should be such an integral a part of homosexual and popular culture historical past that it is all the time going to be a part of the legacy.
“I all the time say to my buddies that if I lived within the States I’d be working in a college as a professor for Drag Race.
“There’s obtained to be some college on the market that can do a course on Drag Race, my data of it’s so ridiculous that I might inform you kind of something in regards to the present.”
WHAT DRAG RACE STARS DOES CRAIG HAVE TATTOOED ON HIM?
Tayce – from Drag Race UK season two (inked April 2021)
Lemon – from Canada’s Drag Race (inked April 2021)
Widow Von Du – from RuPaul’s Drag Race season 12 (inked August 2020)
Cheryl Gap – from Drag Race UK season one (inked January 2020)
Joslyn Fox – from RuPaul’s Drag Race season six (inked September 2019)
Peppermint – from RuPaul’s Drag Race season 9 (inked August 2019)
Manila Luzon – from RuPaul’s Drag Race season three (inked November 2018)
Asia O’Hara – from RuPaul’s Drag Race season 10 (inked October 2018)
Michelle Visage – RuPaul’s Drag Race choose (inked Might 2018)
Shangela – RuPaul’s Drag Race season two and three (inked March 2018)