The Blade Artist. Yayo interviews the divine Veronica Carol Blades.

The Blade Artist. Yayo interviews the divine Veronica Carol Blades.

Trailblazer, Renaissance woman and post modern miracle Veronica Blades truly operates in a sphere all of her own. A piercer and body modification artist of unparalleled skill, Veronica is embracing post lockdown London with renewed enthusiasm. Yayo sent out resident blog writer Matt Haddon-Reichardt to get the low down on life post covid and discover Veronica’s unique body transformation journey.



“I had to change artist,” explains Veronica, as I shift around the house trying to get a good phone signal.

“I have been planning my full body suit for many years and I had a disagreement with my artist on the issue of aftercare and how hard he was working on some parts of my tattoo. He said it was fine, I said he was doing too hard and risks chewing up my skin and causing scarring; so the only sensible thing to do was go elsewhere.”

I’ve known Veronica for a few years now, ever since we worked together on getting her on the cover of Total Tattoo Magazine. She was the first trans model to feature on the front of a mainstream tattoo magazine. During 10 years of writing for the tattoo trade, getting Veronica on the front of Total Tattoo and in newsagents across the UK is the achievement I am most proud of. Hell, I don’t even normally do pride; after all work is work. But it felt great to do a world’s first and Veronica was such an easy person to work with.


 “The whole body piece is bio-organic themed and it's going to give me a very high percentage of coverage.”

“Also the tattooist was pretty ridged when it came to aftercare; he said I had to use Bepanthen to ensure the tattoo heals well. I’m vegan, so I disagreed. Like I said, it was time to look elsewhere.”

I used to be in the Bepanthen camp; then I discovered vegan friendly Yayo and never looked back. It seems strange now that I used to put nappy cream on my tattoo.

“I was also travelling a lot to see this artist so I found some friends closer to home and I’m now back being happy to be tattooed,” Veronica explains as I finally find a spot in the house where she no longer sounds like a Dalek.

“The whole body piece is bio-organic themed and it's going to give me a very high percentage of coverage.”

As I sit scribbling notes in my en suite toilet I ask how many tattoos, piercing and body modifications Veronica has had over the years.

“No idea; I lost count a long time ago.”


I ask how business is post lockdown.

“It’s different now but it’s beginning to thrive. I think with so much time in the house people could actually research what they want and build up that enthusiasm. The lid is off, so to speak, so people are booking in to finally get done what they need to get done.”

“I managed to survive not working during covid. I got help from the government, as I’m self employed, and you know if you can’t work, you can’t earn and if you can’t earn you can’t live. If I hadn’t have got help I would have had to leave the country.”


 “I think it's better that way. There is less drama and less tourists crashing the scene."

The body modification world is a different place since Brendan “Dr Evil” McCarthy was jailed on three counts of causing grievous bodily harm with intent, for removing someone’s nipple and ear. His customers were happy to consent to the procedures but this didn’t stop him going to jail. That was back in 2019 and was the start of what covid finished off; pushing body modification back underground.

“I think it's better that way,” explains Veronica. “There is less drama and less tourists crashing the scene. To be honest I stay away from the social side; especially social media groups. I don’t need the hassle.”

“When it comes down to it as long as people are happy, that customers are happy, then that’s what I’m there to do.”


Covid vaccinations have brought to the mainstream an issue that has occupied the body modification community for years; that of body autonomy. Does the state have the right to tell us what we can and can’t do to our bodies? In the case of Dr Evil (I always felt his nickname did him no favours, in the eyes of the courts or press) then the answer is a clear yes; the state feels it has a duty to dictate what can and can’t be cut and modified.

Of course the victim of all of this is the safety of the customer. Legislation would be far more effective than criminalisation. After all (as I said in the last blog) people have been cutting, piercing, tattooing and burning the human body since the Stone Age. The powers-that-be in the UK aren’t going to stop body modification.


"Everywhere you look the authorities are trying to control what we do with our bodies."

 “Everywhere you look the authorities are trying to control what we do with our bodies. They make decisions that affect our lives. Just look at genital modification. It’s quite ok to cut a baby boy’s genitals and remove parts, but a different law applies to females. How can one be ok but not the other? Who is making these decisions and for whose benefit. One procedure is celebrated the other is criminalised; and the difference focuses on gender.”

In the UK there is a cloud over female genital piercing with reports that some medical professionals feel compelled to report such practices as female genital mutilation. Once again the guys get away with having their bits modified, the girls get punished. This emotive and complex issue highlights the culture war at play around body modification.


“Look at the ink ban in Europe on coloured inks,” sighs Veronica, “They say it’s for protection and health reasons but it’s still restricting what we can and can’t put in our bodies. It’s effectively a ban on self expression.”

I turn my attention away from politics and ask how Veronica’s own body transformation is coming along.

“I have all my surgeries done abroad and any medical procedures as well. No offence to the NHS but if I have an X-ray done I want a copy of that X-ray ASAP; I don’t want to have to fill in a load of forms and wait months to access to my medical records.”

“Going private gives me more control and less stress. I don’t even use the NHS for hormone treatment. Hopefully the money I save them can be put to good use.”


 “For you darling anything.” 

I round off by asking my usual question: what next?

“I’m having some work done on my jaw. It will correct issues I have with one of my joints and also give me a more even and pleasing look. It’s partly for the aesthetics and partly to ensure I don’t get arthritis there in later years. Once I’ve healed from that its back to getting tattooed.”

I ask if we can talk again once she has had more ink done.

“For you darling anything,” she says breaking out in to infectious laughter.

Veronica Blades; there is no one else like her.



Final thoughts: "We all get tattooed for different reasons. Some personal, others deep and meaningful, some for trivial reasons and for many just to make a statement of how God damn cool they are. Whatever your reason for getting tattooed always take care healing your tattoo.  If you want the best results then use the best aftercare; use Yayo!"

Images Yayo, Veronica Blades and Matt Haddon-Reichardt
Words MNHR