She was 16 the first time.
Finished with school and without the consent or knowledge of her mother, Kerri Applewhaite felt “prepared” for what most would consider the grown-up decision she made, and got her first name permanently etched into her arm by a friend.
This choice would lead into a continuing love for body art.
Currently, The Lodge School alumna has 11 tattoos, and revealed there was no immediate end in sight.
“It only felt like a slight burning, just like a cut,” the petite woman said of her first experience.
“I got another one when I was still 16, but I got both of them covered because they were done with regular needles and I wanted something that looked more professional,” she told Loving Me.
Years later, her love of tattoos has kept on growing.
“I just like how tattoos look. I like the colours, even though most of mine are not coloured. Even though it still hurts, I like them,” Kerri stated candidly.
Butterflies, an image of her father’s face, stars, a dragon and vines adorn the woman’s back, feet and arms. She admitted her tattoos were created both from a “feeling” for a new tat, as well as designs she saw and wanted to have. Kerri has also remained relatively loyal to tattooists over the years, with five of her tattoos done by the same person and two by another. One was done overseas.
Kerri usually looked for professionalism and portfolios when seeking out a tattooist.
“I need to know the person can do tattoos well. Some people go too deep into the skin, others cannot draw and only can do tattoos from prints or they can only do lettering. I have to see their work,” she revealed.
The cosmetology student at the Skills Training Centre has never lost out on a job opportunity because of her body art. However, she knew some people looked at her differently.
“People do judge me [because of the tattoos] but once they get to know me, they know it is just art… I have locks as well so they maybe think I am a rebel, a gangster or that I give trouble, but that’s just not true. I’m just me, a nice girl,” Kerri stated simply.
Friends and relatives also had mixed views on the tattoos. “My friends are okay, because they know me and they understand it is just art,” she said. “My family,” she paused before continuing, “some like it and some of them think I have enough.”
As mentioned before, Kerri has not ruled out more tattoos, but was sure about the places she did not want to have them: “I won’t get any face or neck tattoos. I like my face how it is and I don’t fancy neck tattoos.”
Her advice to anyone looking to get inked was straightforward and simple: “tattoos are forever. They can be sentimental, artistic, [or] done in remembrance. Make sure it is something you like, and make sure the person who does it is qualified.” (LW)