If not for Kenny Easley, Laura Carter might never have become a Seahawks fan. See, back in the ’80s, when the badass defensive back was at the height of his career with the Hawks, Laura still went by her maiden name: Easley. So, naturally, she started telling people he was her brother—even though she’s white and he’s African American.
That connection—though slightly tenuous—was all it took to hook Laura, and by the 2000s her casual interest had grown into an obsession that included face painting and pregaming at Pioneer Square’s King Street Bar and Oven. Which is where she met an equally nutty 12th Man who wore a face-mask-less helmet, painted his face like a Maori warrior’s, and called himself Cannonball. (His alter-ego was so…altered, she didn’t recognize him the first time she saw him out of the getup.) Thus began a 10-year friendship-slash-courtship.
Brad proposed on the turf at CenturyLink in 2012, and they were married the next year. But aside from their marital status, not much has changed in the last decade. They’re still meeting up with their fellow diehards at King Street and still wearing their Hawks pride on their sleeve (and face). In fact, Laura’s so good with a brush now that the bar’s patrons line up to have her apply acrylic fandom to their faces. “I have this extra spring in my step when I’m painted,” she says. “We really believe we’re part of the team.”
Below are behind-the-scenes images of their transformations. All photos by Michael Clinard.