Abandoned by her teenage runaway mother in London, Rosie Garland, as she was eventually named, was raised by adopted parents in rural Devon. Although brought up in a loving home, the countryside idyll of the West Country never quite satisfied the essence of this "cuckoo in the nest" and, as soon as the independence of adulthood gave her the opportunity, she left behind village life to explore her emergent unconventional identity.
Moving to Leeds, joining a Goth band and coming out, Rosie finally found her feet, and voice, as singer and performer fronting Sisters of Mercy label-mates The March Violets from 1981. However, although the Violets gained critical recognition during Rosie's tenure as front-woman (alongside front-man Simon Denbigh) she suddenly disappeared from the line-up and the public eye in 1984.
The reason for her sudden departure paints a bleak picture of England in the early 80s. On the one hand, like so many others that didn't fit into Thatcherite social norms, she had become increasingly disillusioned by the oppression of a steadfastly Conservative Britain. However, it was when a friend became a victim of the Yorkshire Ripper that she felt she could no longer remain in a country that, at the time, had little to offer but despair and oppression.
In preparation for shooting her portrait Rachel spoke at length to Rosie starting with how her youth, her time spent in Africa and her complex sexual identity contributed to her transformation into her hyper-lascivious alter ego Rosie Lugosie the Lesbian Vampire Queen and found out why she chose to base herself in Manchester when she finally felt she could return to the UK in 1986.
See all of the interviews here.