I grew up in the suburbs of Cherokee County, Ga. as a semi-prissy ballerina and straight A student. (Trust me, given my surroundings, I’m just as surprised I can read and write as you are right now). I was very sheltered and had a laser like focus on only three things: books, bikes, and my dance company. However, as official teendom hit, so did my growing fascination with all things taboo. This means if it made my parents squirm, I would try it. Just as so many teenage dreams of rebellion before and after my days of awkward obscurity, tattoos became the main focal point of something I wanted. Please keep in mind that this was also the peak era of the Pamela Anderson Lee “Barbed Wire” arm band and all things tribal, so I had no clue about the real artistry behind the trade. I just knew that I wanted in on what I saw as a mecca of badassery.
Like every girl born in the early 1980’s, I scratched my ink itch at the ripe age of eighteen with a tramp stamp of glory. However, I didn’t start getting more heavily tattooed until after 25 years old. Inspired by the incredible work I was lucky enough to get at that time from artists like Mike Parsons, Kenny Holland and Mikie Webb, I quickly realized there was an entire world of real art that I’d just begun to experience. At the time, I had a corporate sales job that was anything but tattoo friendly. I understand the reasoning behind such protocol, but I didn’t and still don’t necessarily agree with it.
Something to note, I am an extremely traditional person and dare I say, a closet soccer mom at heart. I bake, I crochet, and I am a ridiculous mother hen to my friends at times. I’ve never been even close to the “I don’t give a f*$k mentality.” I worry about the ‘what ifs’ and the ‘would’ve, should’ves’ unduly at times. This all changed when I lost my parents; my dad passed away from lung cancer in 2007, and my mother almost a year to the day from breast cancer in 2008. I mention this experience because I think it relieved me of many of these fears and worries. As I coped with the loss, I strove to
take it as an opportunity to do more of what I really wanted to do with myself, without fear of failure, judgement, or scrutiny. Those things seem trivial compared to facing life so early without the folks. I continued getting tattooed, and decided to model as well, to help promote my situation and hopefully take me into the media career I’d always really wanted.
As luck would have it, it landed me right onto the cover of PRICK Magazine as a Hot Ink model in July of 2009. I clearly remember insisting on a face to face interview, and telling the writer that I wanted his job and spewing out my credentials nervously. Guess who he called when they needed a new writing contributor?
That fateful feature (and repeatedly sending publisher, Chuck B, baked goods) landed me in the office of the grass roots tattoo mag, and exactly where I’d always wanted to be. In my opinion, such a male dominated industry is a bit more tough to make a way in as a female. To do so, a gal’s got to either be one of the most down chicks around with
balls of steel, or be stupidly hot. Please note, hotness will only go so far if real respect is the goal. I don’t really feel that I fit that well into either category, but I do think I have a nice rack and some cojones. Some women may hate me for saying it, but I really did use my boobs to get my brain in the door. From there, I let the balls take the reins and ran with it.
Being the first girl to step out as a spokesperson for PRICK, there is certainly no lack of pressure. However, I feel I can only do positive things at the magazine for private and industry readers alike. If nothing else, a fresh face with my annoyingly perky personality and foul mouth is a nice change after 10 years in circulation. Our goals for next year are to continue our new bimonthly print schedule to allow us to distribute more magazines all over the U.S. and grow our business to a more stable advertising base. I want us to have more freedom to get more of the amazing things going on in the tattoo world into
the magazine and into the hands of our awesome readers. I’m also a sucker for a good cause, and want to build more relationships within the industry to help keep it not only alive and thriving, but able to give back to others that have given so much to it already.
I think it’s a waste to have a platform to so many people and not do something with it. Every year since my mom’s death, I’ve walked in the breast cancer Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure. After just three months at PRICK, I was rallying to raise my regular donations to walk by selling cookies to local tattoo shops. Even through industry politics, the support I found in some of the incredible shop owners in Atlanta sparked a fire to yet again do more. A friend, fellow female, and tattoo artist, Ashley Shafer, had also lost her mother to the disease, and was walking and trying to raise donations. I decided to put my Public Relations degree to work and plan what was originally to be a small fundraiser to help us meet our goals. The idea was simple, and had been successful before: raffle off tattoo gift certificates to raise some money. However, the project quickly took wings, and with the help of PRICK and the Atlanta tattoo community, a breast cancer advocacy non-profit, Ink 4 Pink, was born.
The initial campaign and fundraiser was a huge success, and set a new standard to what I think is possible for the future of the tattoo and art industry as well as philanthropic groups that choose to partner within it. We’re working on the next
campaign for 2011 now and stoked on what we have planned!
I still consider myself to be quite young to the tattoo industry, and hope to stay that way. I think a humble, student mentality is the best way to experience anything, and the tattoo world is no exception. I’ve met some amazing artists, and made some lifelong friends already. Being a tattooed girl definitely has its perks. I’ve tried to use such awesome connections to so many amazing people to line up worthwhile events for 2011 with PRICK and Ink 4 Pink. I can’t wait to see what ‘s in store for girls this year.
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