Ring Mistresses The Ladies of Hampden run away and join the circus for a happy cause.

By Betsy Boyd, Photographs by Justin Tsucalas



Parasol Dancer: Abby Stone from The Ideal Arts Space “is an instructor, performer and creative director. Her passion for all things movement related is reflected in her pose as a turn-of-the-century parasol dancer,” notes calendar text.
Parasol Dancer: Abby Stone from The Ideal Arts Space “is an instructor, performer and creative director. Her passion for all things movement related is reflected in her pose as a turn-of-the-century parasol dancer,” notes calendar text.

The Ladies of Hampden star in a sizzling pair of calendars all their own this year, and each book is a theatrical spectacle to behold. A spinoff on last year’s “Boys of Hampden”/ “Boys of Hampden Gone Wild” double-calendar project—which featured male business owners from the Hampden area posing in various states of undress, photographed by Justin Tsucalas and benefitting the Hampden Family Center—the 2017 “Ladies” look-books present businesswomen embodying powerful circus and sideshow performer personae.

“I’m the knife thrower,” says Nikki Verdecchia, owner of the NV Salon Collective on 36th Street and stylist for the shoot. “I wanted to incorporate what I do every day in the salon as if I were a sideshow character. [My persona] represents being able to target challenges and face them head-on.”

Verdecchia says that plenty of people in the neighborhood face the same daily life challenges that she and her business colleagues encounter, and that’s why she’s pleased that the project continues to support the Hampden Family Center.

“We love what the Boys of Hampden did last year, and we admire pinup and other types of sensual art forms,” Verdecchia adds. “The Ladies of Hampden considered it important to express our talents and strengths other than solely via our physical attributes. We talked about having a theme that could be split into two calendars with one showing our softer side, the other our edgier side. Shannon Reilly (the Bearded Lady) from Charm City Skin came up with the brilliant idea to do a circus/ sideshow theme!”

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Parasol Dancer: Abby Stone from The Ideal Arts Space “is an instructor, performer and creative director. Her passion for all things movement related is reflected in her pose as a turn-of-the-century parasol dancer,” notes calendar text.
Parasol Dancer: Abby Stone from The Ideal Arts Space “is an instructor, performer and creative director. Her passion for all things movement related is reflected in her pose as a turn-of-the-century parasol dancer,” notes calendar text.
Strong Woman Leslie Stevenson from In Watermelon Sugar attacks Lou Catelli (aka Will Bower)
Strong Woman Leslie Stevenson from In Watermelon Sugar attacks Lou Catelli (aka Will Bower)
Tiger Tamer Susannah Siger from Ma Petite Shoe + Café appears on the circus calendar’s cover
Tiger Tamer Susannah Siger from Ma Petite Shoe + Café appears on the circus calendar’s cover
Bed of Nails badass Sarah O’Leary from Mend Acupuncture makes her points with Hot Todd Lincoln.
Bed of Nails badass Sarah O’Leary from Mend Acupuncture makes her points with Hot Todd Lincoln.
Rabbit-Out-of-the-Hatter Carmen Brock from Trohv loves the element of surprise.
Rabbit-Out-of-the-Hatter Carmen Brock from Trohv loves the element of surprise.
Sharp Shooter Mary Martian Wortman from Dangerously Delicious Pies proves her pies are hazardous things
Sharp Shooter Mary Martian Wortman from Dangerously Delicious Pies proves her pies are hazardous things
Ring Mistress Kathy Schott from Play Cafe Baltimore, a café and interactive play space, owns her act
Ring Mistress Kathy Schott from Play Cafe Baltimore, a café and interactive play space, owns her act
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