The ink on Kelsey Alyssa

Kelsey Alyssa from New Jersey

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in NJ and have lived on the shore for most of my life.

How was it growing up there, would you say that it influenced you?
It was great living close to the beach and most of my family. I'm not the typical "Jersey Girl" or anything like the ones you see on television, I like rock and roll/metal music. I'm not too big into going to clubs or partying, I can't dance or stay up past midnight. My town was small and cruel, filled with closed minded, judgmental teenagers who prayed on the innocent for not being "like them", I moved the moment I turned 18. Though not the most inspirational small town, they did teach me a few things: 1. Empower never destroy, it's easier to make friends if you support each other as opposed to tearing them down out of jealousy or anger. 2. Go after your dreams, don't let anyone stop or discourage you. And 3. Be careful who you make fun of; that crooked smiled, athletic, small town girl might one day embrace her flaws, and her inner beauty, and make a living off of it. 

When did you start getting tattoos?
I got my first Tattoo as a Christmas present when I was 17, my father signed for me, and then when I turned 18 I gradually started getting more. 

How would you describe your style?
I love working out and doing yoga, so behind the scenes and at home or on workout days, you can catch me in leggings and sweats quite often. On set and when I'm out and about with friends, I love the good old fashion jeans and a band T-shirt, and of course sexy lingerie.

Do you consider tattoos as a serious art form?
Absolutely. I admire the artists whose work look like a portrait on a canvas. I'm an aspiring tattoo artist, I believe my art is good but transferring it onto skin with a machine is a talent that takes time, patience and practice to learn. So absolutely, tattoos are a serious art form.

How do you see the tattoo culture right now?
I see a culture that's growing out of Taboo and into the norm. More and more people are getting tattooed every day, and less people are judgmental about it. 

What has been your inspiration for getting them?
I get tattoos because I love them, and because I believe they help in most healing processes as well. For example, memorial tattoos, tattoos for lost loved ones.

What’s your favorite piece?
My favorite piece at the moment is my cow skull, I just think she did an incredible job and it was for a great cause.

Do you catch people staring at you because of your ink?
Pretty often, but not as often as people stare at my hair!

What’s your most significant tattoo and why?
I have a nick name on the side of my forearm for my brother’s girlfriend, and a friend of mine, who passed away while they were in high school. Her name was Frankie Marie Previti, and she was beautiful, stunning, inside and out. She was the smallest little one, you'd think she was a porcelain doll if you didn't crave her laugh. One day she woke me and my friends up with the smallest pancakes after a long night of drinking, my friend shouted, "what are these little Frankie Cakes?!" Thus her nickname was born.

When I got my first tattoo on my arm (half skeleton Marilyn Monroe), she began to tell me her dreams of being covered in ink, and how my Marilyn was her favorite tattoo of mine. I told her I'd take her to get her first tattoo by my artist. She passed away a few days shy of her birthday in 2011. I remember the chaos that ensued as I rushed to my brother’s side and before I knew it, it was over. I never intended on getting a sleeve, but I couldn't stop thinking about our late night talks and her dreams and aspirations that are now just memories. So I decided that if she couldn't get her sleeve, she could officially start mine. So I got "Frankie Cakes" tattooed on the side of my forearm right next to her favorite Marilyn tattoo. This is the only name I have tattooed on me, I love it.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to get their first tattoo?
They all hurt. Only let an artist touch your skin with a needle.

Will you be getting anymore?
Yes! My goal is to eventually half one giant tattoo, my legs arms and stomach all connected by my back.

What’s your biggest inspiration, what keeps you going?
My biggest inspiration would have to be my dad, he's been through a lot and I've watched him rise from his lowest point on his own. I'd never want to disappoint him, and his journey has inspired me to keep moving. 

What is one thing that life has taught you?
Life has taught me that not many people can be trusted, but, those who can be trusted are well worth your time and love.

Do you have a favorite quote?
"Sweetest things turn sour by their deeds, Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds." It's a quote from Shakespeare, which to me means good people turn bad because of their actions, the people most important to you turning bad hurts more than a regular person or friend. This was my first tattoo I got when I was 17 on my ribs. 

Anything else you would like to add?
I am a Wildlife and Forestry Conservationist, a Veterinary technician, a current Wildlife Biology student and a bartender.

Photo Credits:
Richard Marz - 1, 2, 3, 7.
Keith Selle - 4, 5, 6.
Kat Attack Photography - 8.