The ink on Nastassja

                                Nastassja from New Jersey

Where did you grow up?
I was born in Gardena, California and lived there till I was about 4 years old. From there I moved to New York for about a year and a half, and then moved to Union City, New Jersey where I have lived here for a good 19-20 years.

How was it growing up there, would you say that it influenced you?
Growing up here, where it’s a large community situated in a small overpopulated city, has been pretty cool. From attending good schools and having great teachers and friends, to being a part of a neighborhood where there were never any real problems or concerns for me and my family, I would have to say I lucked out in living in a pretty good area of North Jersey. I grew up with my mother, father and brother and we’re a close knit family so I either spent my time doing family related things or spending time with friends and doing sports and other activities in school. Growing up here did influence me, because if it weren’t for living in a community where people are family oriented, for example, I wouldn’t be the way I am today.  Living here has allowed me to learn to value what I have, even if it’s not a lot.

When did you start getting tattoos?
I got my first tattoo about 3 months after my 18th birthday. There was no turning back after that!

How would you describe your style?
I wouldn’t label my style into any particular category. I like what I like and if I like it, I buy it. I wear a lot of black and I’m really into the 50s and vintage/pin-up style so I usually am attracted to that sort of attire when I go shop. I’m a retro magnet! I also love high heels, skinny jeans and dresses. If I could wear a dress every day, I would. I’m also really into animal print so that’s another thing I love to wear, besides hair flowers, Betsy Johnson and anything rockabilly.

Do you consider tattoos as a serious art form?
I definitely see tattoos as a serious form of art. As someone who does art and sees it as a freedom of expression. I have a huge love for the color, intensity, art form and expression behind tattoos. It makes the person wearing the tattoo that much more interesting to look at and makes the artist that much more respected for his/her talent.

How do you see the tattoo culture right now?
The more years that pass, the more people are getting tattoos. Some people get it to fit in, some people get it to tell their stories, and some people get it just because of their love for art. It’s a popular culture and will continue to be as the years pass, I think.

What has been your inspiration for getting them?
Certain things that have impacted my life have made me get the tattoos that I have and the tattoos that I want. Everything that I have/want holds great meaning to me and I would never get anything on me that isn’t meaningful.

What’s your favorite piece?
My favorite piece would have to be my phoenix on my left side. It’s a symbol of my name Nastassja, which means resurrection and rebirth, and it also represents the kind of person I am - a riser, a person who will always continue to rise from my own ashes (whatever obstacles or downfalls that may come) and become reborn again so that I can be that much more of a stronger person when I come back.

Do you catch people starring at you because of your ink?
Yes! Especially when I am at the beach (because that’s when you can see it) and I am always getting compliments! It feels great to have such a beautiful piece of art on me. I give many thanks to my award winning artist, Meghan, at 12oz Studios in Brooklawn, NJ.

In your opinion, do your tattoos change your mood often?
In my opinion, no it doesn’t. On the contrary, it makes me happy and makes me feel beautiful.

What’s your most significant tattoo and why?
The phoenix would definitely be the most significant. I got it in a time of my life where I was maturing and finally coming to the realization that it was time for that certain part of me to just die and to become reborn again into a happier, more positive and ambitious person.

What’s your next tattoo?
My next tattoo is going to be done on the right side of my ribs. I am getting a Dia de los Muertos girl that reminds me a lot of me, who is crying and has smeared make-up, surrounded by fluttering butterflies and my favorite flowers underneath her. It is going to be a lot bigger than my left side and is going to extend up my back to my shoulder blade. It’s a pretty big piece and I am very excited. I plan to start this within the next month or 2.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to get their first tattoo?
Make sure it is something that you can look at many years from now and be proud to have. It doesn’t necessarily have to tell a story, but if it means something to YOU than that is the best kind to get. Also, don’t listen to what other people say - if it makes you happy and makes you feel something, than by all means go for it! It’ll lead to a happier you.

What is one thing that life has taught you?
Life has taught me to cherish every single day of my life and that I can accomplish any goal that I have set for myself as long as I put my head and heart to it. It has also taught me to never give up on anything that I do and to work as hard as I can because although there are a million people out there who dream and wish to do the same things that I do, I have always and will always dream the hardest. And lastly, it has taught me to just be happy and do whatever makes me happy, regardless of what anyone thinks or says because happiness is the key to many good things.

Will you be getting anymore?
A lot more. I plan on getting my entire back done, my feet (tops and insides), sides of my thighs and wrists. I would love to get one half sleeve, but that is something I need to really think about.

Do you have a favorite quote?
I have many, but one of my favorites is: “The most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you can find someone to love the you you love, well, that's just fabulous.”

Anything else you would like to add?
I have 18 piercings, I’m a writer, teacher, model, runner (I run races for good causes and am currently training for a half-marathon and full marathon) and donator to wild life animal funds. I have a  book published (“Down the Rabbit Hole” by Nastassja Ocasio) and am working on the 2nd part as well as a novel. I also paint art and that can be found on my site: I also make custom Dia de los Muertos skulls so if you would like one, send me a message! Thanks!