Meet Australia's real-life vampire

Georgina says she was hooked on other people’s blood at the age of 17. Photo / Facebook
Georgina says she was hooked on other people’s blood at the age of 17. Photo / Facebook

WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT

Deathly pale and with a craving for blood - Georgina is Australia's real-life vampire.

While the likes of True Blood, The Vampire Diaries and Twilight have made the undead more popular than ever, for Brisbane-based make-up artist, Georgina Condon, vampires are far from fictional.

You see, not only does she have a fascination with these supernatural creatures, she is one.

Kind of.

Having drank the blood of willing volunteers, or "donors" as she calls them, for more than 20 years, Georgina is one of the only practising vampires in the country.

But surprisingly, the roots of her blood drinking don't lie in Hollywood, but early childhood.

"Like everyone else, I had more than my fair share of cuts and grazes while growing up," recalls the 39-year-old.

"But unlike most kids, I developed a strong impulse to taste the blood from my wounds.

"It was only when I started to see vampires in TV and in movies that I realised what I was one too. From then on, it was this realisation: 'Wow! That's what I do.' I tried to emulate the characters I saw. I didn't have make-up, so I used talcum powder to make my face more pale and I'd use dark eyeshadow from my mum's make-up bag under my eyes."

However, dressing up didn't suffice. With the taste of blood heavy on her mind, a 13-year old Georgina began to cut herself as a way to get her blood fix.

"Initially it was my own blood," she says.

"But that changed when I was 17. I took to hanging around in the local cemetery with a few other goths the same age as me. One night were having a few drinks and somehow we got onto the subject.

"There was a girl in the group and she offered for me to be able to taste her blood...I didn't feel bad about it because she was so willing, also she was well-known for being a virgin, so I knew it was a safe option - disease wise, I mean.

"Looking back, I know she was caught up in the whole goth thing and just wanted to do something 'extreme', but for me it meant so much more.

"When I tasted it, I knew straight away that I liked it. My own blood just didn't compare to the high I got. I was hooked!"

As Georgina got older, she began to frequent the gothic underground clubs of Brisbane to find a willing partner to satisfy her cravings.

"I started to go out to goth clubs where the people were more like-minded," she remembers.

"At the time An Interview With a Vampire had just came out and everyone was so into vampires. Guys were dressing up as the characters from the movie, so the subject was pretty much on the table from the get-go.

"For me, it was pretty easy to find a guy to drink from - I've never had so many willing donors!"

But, just like sex, consuming blood has its health risks, which is something that Georgina wasn't always mindful of.

"You think you're bullet proof at that age," she says "I'd try to choose my partners a bit carefully, but obviously we've all been there and slept with someone and not used protection. The stupid things we do when we're young!"

Thankfully, the days of random blood drinking are a thing of the past.

For the last three years, Georgina has been in a relationship with boyfriend, Zameal, who she met at the annual 'Bloodlust Ball' - an event she says is "the vampire version of Christmas." And while he shares her gothic sensibilities, he definitely doesn't share her bloodlust.

"He always knew I was a little strange - and that's coming from a gothic guy!" she says, laughing.

"When I told him after a few months of being together he was taken aback a bit.

"Even though I met him at a 'vampire' ball, hardly anyone there is actually a vampire, so it was a hard conversation to have. Because if he really wasn't open to the idea of letting me drink from him, then it wouldn't have worked. It's just part of who I am and what I need."

Relenting out of love, Zameal has indulged Georgina's habit. But even after three years, it's still not something he loves to do, as she admits.

"He still doesn't like it really, but he knows that I need it to stay satisfied. It's like not getting sex - if I stopped having sex with him, he'd feel exactly the same way. In fact, we often use it as an introduction to sex, it's part and parcel of lovemaking for us, kind of like foreplay."

The way she would access his blood also make Zameal squeamish.

"He can barely face a needle at the doctors!" she says, giggling.

"I feel bad as I love him, and hate causing him pain, which obviously cutting with a razor will do! So I only drink every two weeks or so, though I'd happily have it every day if I could!"

And feeding off someone else isn't an option.

"Both Zameal and I feel that it would be like cheating," she explains.

"I wouldn't want to do that. I've had people approach me offering to be a donor, but it's not something I'm interested in."

Just as she's found a loving and accepting partner, Georgina's family have also embraced her alternative lifestyle.

"My family love me - they don't think I'm mad!" she says. "Often when you're different and you put yourself out there, people can react negatively. My family have actually encouraged me, they've said: 'good on you, good on you for speaking out about it."

And when it came to revealing her vampire status to her mum, there was no official 'coming out.'

"She's always sort of known," says Georgina.

"She usually just smiles and sometimes rolls her eyes! All her friends know about me too. I couldn't ask for a more supportive mum.

"My sister is the same. She wants me to just do my thing. She's so different to me though: sporty, business-minded ... but we still hangout and love one another. I just don't want to run 10-kilometres for a hobby. That's weird to me!"

It isn't only her dress sense and enthusiasm for drinking blood that are Georgina's only vampire traits.

"I suffer from a blood disorder called thalassaemia," she explains. "Basically, it means that my white blood cells dominate my red cells, which can lead to anaemia and a lack of iron.

"Because the white cells dominate the red, my iron count is low, so the adding of red blood cells from red meat and - in my case - blood, helps with anaemia, so that could partly explain my craving. I'm no scientist, but it has always been a theory of mine.

The hallmarks don't stop there. Preserving her pale complexion aside, living in sunny Brisbane has other consequences for the vampire - she burns in the sunlight.

"I don't burst into flames in the sun!," she laughs. "But I do suffer from a condition called solar dermatitis, which is an allergy to intense sunlight. I get a really itchy rash if I'm in strong sunlight.

"It's a shame as I really love to swim at the beach, I love it - even as a kid I was in the swim squad," she laments. "So now I just have to do it indoors!"

While a beachside break isn't on the agenda, there are a few other things left to tick off Georgina's vampire bucket-list, especially as she approaches the big 4-0 next year.

"I've just started my own make-up artistry business, so I really want to make that a success," she says. "I got my first proper set of fangs three years ago, but I'd love to save up enough money to get some permanent ones.

"Also, I've been working on a vampire novel. It's unique in that it's written from my perspective - that of a practising vampire. I think the market is a bit too saturated at the moment, but it's definitely something I'd like to finish in the future."

But perhaps Georgina's biggest goal is to dispel the misconceptions that people have about both her and vampires in general.

"I'm not trying to be cool or 'weird'," she says. "I'm not insane and I don't claim to be immortal or in possession of supernatural abilities. Obviously people do find my tastes strange - there aren't many vampires out there after all - but I'm a good person and thankfully the reactions I get from people are generally positive.

"Funnily enough, when I go out in my most outlandish outfits I get the best response - people seem to like the theatre of it. No one gets nervous," she says, pausing and smiling. "Well, as long as my fangs don't get too close!"

- news.com.au

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