Whatever Rush Limbaugh would have America believe, glass ceilings still exist — especially in male-dominated fields. Take tattooing. Though famous inked-up chicks like Kat Von D have helped make strides for female artists, there's still a hefty overabundance of dudes doing tattoos.
Luckily, Miami has Katherine Flores, AKA Tatu Baby, repping womankind and hometown pride on Spike TV's hit reality show Ink Masters.
As one of just three female contestants this season, Flores faces "extreme circumstances" and made-for-TV challenges in her fight to take the Ink Master title. We won't know the show's outcome till December 18, but Flores has already stuck it out through several rounds of cuts, taking on tasks such as inking mouth tattoos, freehanding Americana creations, and conceiving Star Wars-inspired pieces.
"People brushed me off or didn't pay much attention to me," she says. "But that just makes you work harder."
Born in New York and raised in Miami, Flores has been penning permanent works of art since the tender age of 14. She went pro at 19, and through a dynamic combination of attractiveness and artistic talent, she's been steadily making her mark. With long, wavy locks, a sultry pout, and tattoos from collarbone to upper thighs, she possesses a special brand of pin-up-style sex appeal.
And while being an attractive female has its advantages, in her early career it made navigating the male-dominated tattoo scene a little more challenging.
"It pushes you to be stronger and to come back stronger," she says of the stereotyping she encountered.
Specializing in black-and-gray tattoos and Day of the Dead-style skulls, she does work that ranges from celebrity portraiture (Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor) to intricate skeletons. She's inked everything from words on Lil Wayne's stomach to a Pinocchio likeness on a man's lower half.
And she has seen Miami's ink scene evolve significantly since her teen years.
"The industry itself has changed from a lot of flashy artists to actual creators. There are also a lot more females coming in. It's become a lot more artsy."
And as the art evolves, so does Flores. She says she draws inspiration from fellow artists, taking concepts and turning them into her own. Sex appeal and reality TV aside, she wants to hone her art and rep the 305 in style.
"I don't want to be just another pretty tattoo girl from Miami. I want to be a great artist from Miami."
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