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Posted: Thursday 22 November, 2012 at 10:30 AM

Models with tattoos - Is it a make or break career choice?

Unnamed tattooed model
By: Precious Mills,

    BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – IT is said that skin tattooing is an ancient practice and has been in existence for more than 35 000 years. The practice of tattooing symbolises different things in different cultures, but the most common is that of decoration…an expressive form of human body art.


    Today, some people see it as a fad and designs of various forms expressively emblazon muscular arms and other parts of their body. Among these people are athletes, gang members, students, teachers and a host of professionals, including models.


    However, for models or those desirous of pursuing a career in the modelling and fashion industry, the decision to get ‘inked’- as the popular saying goes - can either make or break a their career.


    In St. Kitts and Nevis, there are many persons - including models - with tattoos; many of whom have gotten their artwork done by skilled artists whose work ‘sell’ for themselves.


    Most persons take time to decide on getting a tattoo since it is meant to be permanent, although technological advancement, through laser, has made it possible to have them removed.


    De-inking one’s tattoo successfully, however, depends on one’s skin colour and also the pigments and size of the tattoos. Hence, removing a tattoo can be either easy or difficult, which can be an expensive and time-consuming process.


    Make-up application can also temporarily conceal tattoos.


    Founder of Movado Model Agency, Jason Amory, said: “I don’t see anything wrong” when asked by this reporter about his view on models having tattoos.


    According to him, it is people’s choice and their bodies, adding that it should not dampen his or her career.


    Amory said that he respects people and their private lives, noting his agency’s standard requires that models are not rude.


    SKNVibes also spoke with founder of the former S Model Management, Suelika Creque, who is also a former model.


    She commented “that some designers feel that tattoos will showcase their designs in a negative light, especially if they go for the classy elegant look and are trying to reach that clientele. They wouldn't want someone with tattoos all over to represent them, because that's not the image they're trying to sell”.


    Creque informed that she was never tattooed while in the modelling industry.


    “I never had tattoos when I modelled, so I never had an experience of being told to cover up. But I have seen it done to others, who had to use makeup to cover up or Photoshop had to be done which takes time and money and so using models who needed little to no Photoshop was always preferred. And so models who donned lots of noticeable tattoos would be overlooked for a job, hence their career being hurt unless they’re like Jessica White”, she stated.


    Information found on about the popular USA model named Jessica White reveals: “Jessica says she first started getting ink when she was in a bad place mentally. ‘I wanted to self-mutilate to feel alive again, but being a model I couldn’t become a cutter,’ she says. Instead she tattooed her body in places that wouldn’t greatly hinder her ability to book work. Even when clients didn’t want a model with tattoos, they still wanted Jessica, so they worked around it. When she was turned down because of her ink, she was upset but never regretted being tattooed. ‘My tattoos are that important to me,’ she says. As Jessica became more comfortable in her own skin, she continued to get tattoos but in an appreciation for body art, expressing herself in a different way”.


    Asked what advice she had to offer to aspiring models about tattoos, Creque responded: “It's not that serious for me. When I had an agency I never hindered anyone because of tattoos, but not everyone is as open minded as I am. So I would encourage models to make sure that they don't just get them for getting them sake but to make sure it's meaningful.”


    According to information gleaned from “For those of you who want to model and have body piercings and tattoos, be cautious, as these can make or break a potential modelling career.


    “If you don’t have any tattoos or piercings other than your ears, you may not want to rush to get them if you want to model. When you sign with an agency, they will ask you what piercings or markings you currently have on your body. Most ideally would like just your ears to be pierced. If you have your belly pierced or you have numerous ear piercings, an agent may tell you to take them out while out on shoots or going for auditions. If you don't mind the possibility of your piercings closing up, this shouldn't be a problem. But if it is, then you may not be a happy camper.


    “Tattoos will usually hurt more than help your modelling career, unless you're into commercial/print modelling, where you can cater to this specific type of audience. You may not get as much work but there are clients out there who need models with real tattoos. If you have a small one that isn't so noticeable, my best advice is to learn how to use makeup to cover it up.”


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