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Tattoo'd lady: 'American Pickers' star talks tats, bikes and burlesque ahead of Fargo show

Danielle Colby of "American Pickers" is the featured guest at this weekend's Roughrider Iron & Ink Expo. Photo courtesy of Hector Torres Photo / Special to Forum News Service

FARGO—On the surface, Danielle Colby may seem like a great fit as the featured guest of this weekend's tattoo and motorcycle show at the Scheels Arena in Fargo known as Roughrider Iron & Ink Expo.

The star of the History Channel's "American Pickers" has a number of tattoos, one arm centered on her mother and daughter and the other on her father and son. Her retro looks give her an in with the motorcycle crowd.

But looks are only skin deep and Colby has a lot more going for her. She recently talked about her work on "American Pickers," where she's been elevated from Mike Wolfe's office manager to hitting the road on her own, what she collects, her interest in burlesque and of course, motorcycles and tattoos.

In her own words, Colby talks about that work:

I shake my head sometimes at the amount of money that (Wolfe) spends. He explains it best when he says he has an emotional affair with items. He'll find something he really falls in love with and he really pays up for it.

The thing is we have to sell these items as well, which is always a difficult thing as a picker because you pick what you love in case you get stuck with it. So you really kind of fall in love with all of the stuff that you pick.

The crown jewel of my collection is an 1890s Lillie Langtry original costume from "Cleopatra" from the Folies Bergère in Paris.

I have collections from (burlesque) performers that are less known or "unknown" performers. Whether they're great, big, huge stars or lesser known, that history is still so rich either way.

I love vintage textiles, I'm learning more about them every day. Anything having to do with women's history is fantastic as well.

I get spontaneous tattoos all of the time. Those are some of my most fun ones. There's a lot of history in every tattoo I have. I'm not the girl who is going to get a cat eating a cheeseburger, though that's funny and cute and I like funny, cute tattoos. They all mean something to me and it's usually about a person.

If you don't know what you want, you're not ready for a tattoo. It's this desire deep down inside to commemorate something important to you. Even if it is just the fact that you love cats and cheeseburgers. Whatever it is that makes you feel complete, you have to put it on your body.

Every girl wants to feel pretty and be onstage at the end of the day. For my narcissistic side, there's that. For the reality of it, you hoist your 180-pound ass on stage and you don't necessarily feel pretty. A lot of people are very nipped and tucked in the striptease industry, so to go out there with a natural body and try to make people emote with you and laugh and enjoy a moment where everybody feels a little vulnerable, that's the appeal (of burlesque) to me.

I think really having an interaction on that level, when you're both feeling vulnerable and excited at the same time and there's music involved. I get to interact with all of these people on stage and all of these people in the audience and that way it's not about me, it's about everybody laughing and having fun.

If you go

What: Roughrider Ink & Iron Expo

When: 2 p.m. to midnight Friday (tattoos only); 10 a.m. to midnight Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday

Where: Scheels Arena, 5225 31st Ave. S., Fargo

Info: Danielle Colby appearance on Sunday; $10 for a one-day pass, $25 three-day pass, available at Golden Needle Tattoo Studio Amarok Tattoo Studio and at the door.

Click here for more information. 

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