In the premiere episode of Best Ink 2, the tattoo challenge paired the contestants with “skins” who overcame an obstacle to rebuild their lives. The artists were tasked to create and ink a tattoo that most meaningfully (and skillfully) conveyed this the inspiration and well, some contestants did better than others. (Ahem, Kelly and Carolyn.) The winner DJ Tambe impressed the judges with his intricate ribbon art tattoo and made quite an impact on his skin, Nadia (a.k.a. Pinky).
We caught up with Pinky to hear about her experience with DJ and how she’s feeling about her tat!
What made you decide to have a tattoo done on a reality competition show?
I've never been the best at talking about my feelings or the type of person who shares secrets, so I feel that tattoos tell my story for me—kind of like a human notebook. When Best Ink 2 came along, and the chance to work with the crème de la crème of artists, it was just an incredible opportunity not to be missed. Also, without the help of the show, the fate of being paired with my tattooist DJ was unlikely to happen in the real world—considering I grew up in London, and he works in Las Vegas—so if not for the competition, we would never have crossed paths in LA!
You and DJ seemed to have a bonding moment on the show. How was he as your tattoo artist?
Definitely, I feel we connected right from the beginning. He understood exactly what kind of design I was hoping for, and also suggested ways on how to build upon the initial idea. During the tattooing, everything felt relaxed despite the fact there were cameras everywhere and the clock was on a countdown. We both seem to have conquered troubles from our pasts, and now have a similar outlook having turned things around for ourselves. It was good to have a connection that didn't feel forced—meaning we could also chill out when he got on with his work and I kind of zoned out to ignore the pain—without the pressure for small talk to fill any awkward silences.
How do you feel about the finished product?
I'm super chuffed with the results. I love how DJ has managed to create a realism-meets-cartoon effect. As well as being an awesome design, it really tells a story for me too. The ribbon is meant to reflect my recovery from self-harm, literally sewing me up, while the bow highlights the fragility of recovery and how it could unravel at any moment. I love how the cutesy pink color is juxtaposed with the gore of the scar beneath it, as well as irritation around the corset holes. It's definitely my favorite piece of body art so far.
DJ won the competition with that tattoo – how does that make you feel?
So proud! And obviously honored that I was his first skin of the series to work on. Winning the first round must be the perfect confidence boost for any contestant. Without discrediting any of the other artists, in my eyes DJ deserved his win. I owe him a beer to say thanks!