I started with tattoos when I was fifteen, today they cover my arms, stomach and half
of my legs. Photographer Nicole (22) meets prejudices quite often. Among the things
she often hears are that she was in jail or that she is does drugs. She says one can’t
take opinions of others too seriously.
You have tattoos on most parts of your body. When did you decide to get your
When I was fourteen I was constantly bugging my mom for one. She wasn’t very
ecstatic about the idea. But she told me to pick a picture, put it on display in my room
and if I still like it in a year, she will come with me to the tattoo parlor. And so I got my
first tattoo at age fifteen, a lizard on my stomach.
Why do you have so many of them now?
Back then I already knew that wasn’t my last tattoo. I mostly have gloomy tattoos
which correspond to my feelings when I got them, I have several Tim Burton motives
for example. In basic school I was kind of a loner, I didn’t like talking to people, it was
hard for me to find friends. When I was twelve my dad died and I continued to close
in. I had sadness in me which is mostly gone today, but I did want a tattoo of a robot
at one time. I felt cold, emotionless, just like one. And even though it’s gone I still like
my tattoos. They remind me of my past.
Do you feel any prejudice thanks to your tattoos?
Definitely. Even when just looking for a job – I want to open my own cafe in the future
but you need experience to do that. When I’m looking for a job at a ,,typical” cafe I
need to cover everything up. I only wear long sleeves to interviews and if the
higher-ups have a problem with my tattoos I hide them all the time. Of course when
working at a different ,,free” kind of establishment it might be positive. It may lead to
higher tips for example.
You are also a photographer. Aren’t tattoos more natural for artistic
I feel like people think that way. Might be because tattoos and artistic kind of life go
together well. When I’m photographing weddings people find it interesting instead of
judging me. But the reality is little different, if I’m sitting on a train with short sleeves
no-one will sit next to me. When I spilled hot tea all over my thighs, the doctor gave
me the crazy, judging look. Sometimes people call me a junkie or they think I
must’ve gotten my tattoos in jail, because you can’t get one anywhere else.
How do you deal with prejudices?
I learned to live with them. It is an everyday job, not to worry about it. I don’t know
why people have the constant need to judge someone. Once I heard: She’d be such
a pretty girl without the tattoos. Can someone not have tattoos and be beautiful at
the same time? One of the favorite questions is what will happen when I get old? I
won’t just be a wrinkly grandma, I will be a wrinkly grandma with tattoos. It is
absolutely the same thing. What I do find weird is when girls for example shave off
their eyebrows and then draw them on again. But that’s just my opinion. I won’t judge
anyone because of it. If we all looked the same it’d be terrible. And that’s how people
should accept it.
Foto: archiv Nikoly