Dani Danger ain't shy about discussing the body modifications she's endured over the years. The outgoing, tattooed-and-pierced 25-year-old eagerly gushes about the subdermal silicone crucifix embedded in her chest or the trilobite-shaped scarification located above her left breast just as breezily as she discusses the weather.
The aptly named Danger (her legal moniker) is equally loquacious about her passion for the extreme body-mod practice of flesh-hook suspension, describing the experience as "amazing and potent." The thrill of having her 5-foot-9, 150-pound corpus hung by numerous surgical steel hooks dug into her skin and attached to a block-and-tackle-like harness packs a bliss unmatched elsewhere.
"I've done some crazy stuff, but nothing's more intense and powerful than the adrenaline rush and euphoria from a suspension," Danger says. "No amount of alcohol or drug can touch it."
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At age 16, she sneaked into the old Nile Theatre in Mesa, witnessing a suspension demo by piercing prince and fetish guru Steve Haworth. A few years later, Danger became a regular in Haworth's bod-mod squad of like-minded flesh freaks and worked at his HTC Body Piercing studio. She assisted as a "blood girl," cleaning up participants at suspension parties, before finally being hooked herself when she was 19.
A member of the LifeSuspended troupe, Danger estimates having been hoisted "between 80 and 120" times at numerous events and fetish fetes. She's gone horizontal, with eight to 10 hooks distributed evenly among her arms, thighs, and calves. But a minefield of pockmarks and scarring on her shoulder blades indicate her preference for "suicide suspensions," featuring two or four connection points in the upper back, which allow freedom of movement to spin or swing around.
The worst parts come before and after, with discomfort from inserting the sharp, curved steel and massaging air bubbles out of her hide (called "burping the skin"). But once she's hanging, Danger says, the adrenaline and endorphin rushes occur immediately. The experience is taxing, however. During her first time, she almost fainted, but since then, eating heartily before an event and bringing soda and SweeTarts with her helps stave off unconsciousness.
"Now I go to functions and there's all these kids doing their first suspensions and holding rolls of SweeTarts," she says. "It's been passed down."