By Alyce Collins
THIS LONDON film executive whose vampire fascination led her to have her own FANGS sculpted is tired of random people asking her to suck their blood.
Film VFX department manager and author Jo Manawa (33) originally from New Zealand, always had a love for fanged animals and was hugely influenced by vampire tales when she was growing up.
This fascination with vampires and Jo’s gothic style made her take the leap and get fanged teeth crafted and fitted at the age of 18 to complete her look. Her fangs were crafted by a denture technician who worked on film-set props.
Jo, who has now lived in London for 10 years, has two sets of fangs that she can choose between; a silver set which were made in Texas, and a classic white set designed by a fangsmith who travels the world creating new sets of fanged teeth.
“I’m an all or nothing person, I love intrepid travel, self-expression and being creative,” said Jo.
“I lost the desire to ‘fit in’ at a very young age and this motivates me to push for a world that is more accepting of what makes us unique.
“As a kid I loved fanged animals and stories about vampires.
“I got my first set when I was 18 and I paid for a denture technician who had done some work on props for an indie vampire film. They were my first big purchase before I’d even spent money on buying a phone.
“I wear them most weekends and most evenings out as well as the occasional work day.
“I can have them in for as long as I like. If I make a decision to wear them it’s for the whole day, it’s a choice to be that version of me and once I’ve made the choice there’s no point in changing back.
“They do tend to come out at night more often though.
“All the sets that I own have been made or modelled on my own teeth, so they fit like a glove. My current white set don’t have any effect on my speech at all, but my silver ones do for the first thirty minutes of wearing them, but only a bit.
“In the past I used to eat with them in, but I ended up breaking a very expensive pair on food, so I don’t eat with my white ones anymore. My silver ones are pretty much unbreakable though, so I can eat with those ones.”
Jo has spent up to £300 to have her custom-made fangs created, and she plans on purchasing another white set as soon as, just like real teeth, they discolour over time. As well as her vampire fangs, Jo has also had plenty of tattoos and piercings through the years.
For Jo, wearing fangs doesn’t make her feel like anything other than herself, but she is still used to receiving occasional negative comments about them from people who don’t understand.
“In the same way another girl might feel prettier or better presented when she has earrings in her ear holes, or a bit of lipstick on her lips, my fangs do that for me,” added Jo.
“I had a unique opportunity to talk to a woman in church about not judging others when she tried to tell me off about them.
“Most people don’t think through what they say or how they behave. I do laugh at the comments, but inside I get very tired of people asking me to suck their blood.
“My friends and family know me, and they know I’m all or nothing. I’m lucky that they love me as I am.
“We all have moments in life where we get a bit of attitude about being judged, but it’s human nature to do so. You can choose to live life with a constant chip on your shoulder, or you can have a unique opportunity to challenge people’s perceptions and push for a world that is healthier, better and more accepting to live in.”
You can follow Jo’s modifications by visiting her Instagram page at @jrmanawa.