Stephanie Marazzo from Tampa, FL
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Hillsborough, NJ.
How was it growing up there, would you say that it influenced you?
Definitely. I loved Hillsborough, but the longer I was there the more I wanted to branch out- I think that's pretty typical hometown syndrome. It was a small town once upon a time, but tons and tons of families have moved in over the last decade or so. It's a beautiful town, with beautiful parks and reserves, and many well-to-do families. If you aren't turned into a self-righteous prick, then you'll turn out like myself and be driven to reach the same level of comfort and success your parents were able to achieve.
When did you start getting tattoos?
I got my first tattoo on my eighteenth birthday as a gift from my then boyfriend. My first tattoo was a violet, the NJ state flower, on the top of my right ribcage.
How would you describe your style?
I like to dress comfortable. I think for the most part my wardrobe is basically just t-shirts and skinny jeans. I wear sandals all summer and Keds if for some reason sandals just aren't an option.
Do you consider tattoos as a serious art form?
I do. There are numerous artists who tattoo their entire lives and dedicate all they have into their work. I've seen absolutely incredible tattoos in person and on the web that are nothing short of perfection.
How do you see the tattoo culture right now?
I'm enjoying the fact that tattoos are becoming more of a socially accepted form of self-expression, but I dislike the way tattoo culture has become a bit mainstream over the last few years. I'm constantly seeing new tattoo tv shows that seem to highlight shop drama or horror stories instead of incredible artists and phenomenal work. Also, I was invited to try out for "America's Next Top TATTOO Model" a few months back, which I feel is going to flood the alternative modeling world in a negative way if that happens.
What has been your inspiration for getting them?
I have always been an artist. I went to art school and I appreciate the way tattoos are a collaboration between the artist and the person receiving the piece. The process of being tattooed means more to me than the design in some instances. I frequently allow my artist, Javier Eastman at Get Ink Tattoo Studio, the artistic freedom to tattoo whatever design he'd like.
What’s your favorite piece?
Every time I get a new tattoo it's my new favorite. Right now my favorite is the top portion of my black and grey sleeve depicting a beautiful brunette, a cat, and a sparrow. The girl is holding the cat up to her chest and the cat is reaching into the air with one paw trying to swat the small bird out of the air. The piece means a lot to me having to do with life and death, and also reaching for the things you want that always seem to be just out of reach.
Do you catch people staring at you because of your ink?
Yes, not usually in a negative way, but I do see it. I get a lot of compliments along with the staring so I don't mind it.
In your opinion, do your tattoos change your mood often?
Not unless healing a new one. If I'm sore I'm probably a bitch.
What’s your most significant tattoo and why?
I have three stars tattooed on my neck that represent myself and my sisters. All three of us have three stars tattooed somewhere on our bodies and it's nice to think we are all connected in that way.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to get their first tattoo?
RESEARCH. I cannot say that enough. Stop trying to get a good deal and focus on who can most successfully achieve the look you want. A good tattoo is an investment, stop trying to haggle.
Will you be getting anymore?
I'm in the process of sleeving both legs and my right arm. I hope to start a full back piece in the next year or so.
What’s your biggest inspiration, what keeps you going?
I probably enjoy creeping on other models a little too much. My biggest inspirations are my friends in the modeling industry, I push myself to do more and accomplish more and seeing my friends succeed motivates me to do the same.
What is one thing that life has taught you?
When I was growing up I was actually very self-conscious and there was not much about myself I actually liked. I spent a lot of my time trying to be like the people around me who I perceived as "better." I don't know exactly when it happened, but soon after I got to college I started to really like who I was. I am comfortable with my body, I am thankful for my family and friends, I really love who I've become and ever since my life has blossomed. I would say the biggest lesson I've learned is that choosing to love who you are is the biggest step forward you will ever make. It has changed everything.
Do you have a favorite quote?
I am Jack's complete lack of surprise.
Anything else you would like to add?
Surely. You can find me at all of the following links.
Photography: Hugo Velazquez
Makeup Artist: Jessica Marazzo
Lingerie: Bklyn Noir