Last year, Miami's own Tatu Baby (AKA Katherine Flores) stole viewers' hearts (and other extremities) during her turn on Spike TV's Ink Master. With a sexy, pin-up style and impressive skill with the needle, people were all abuzz about this local girl.
In fact, despite elimination, she earned an unprecedented invitation back for season three.
Now that the show has finished filming and is about to air, we spoke to Katherine on big surprises, her advantages as a seasoned vet -- and repping the 305.
Cultist: Do you feel like you had a real advantage as a former contestant?
Tatu Baby: I kind of feel like I had an advantage and a disadvantage. I had an advantage because I knew the tight schedule we were going to be on but I feel like I had a disadvantage because everyone was going to expect so much more from me.
What else was different this time around?
I definitely feel like I opened up a little more this season -- I feel like I really wanted to win and I really felt a lot more pressure this season than last season.
Did you have a specific strategy for this season?
I tried to just do good tattoos and my same strategy was to choose my challenges wisely and just do the best that I can each time.
Anything that might surprise viewers?
Oh yeah, I definitely think there's going to be a lot of surprises. You're going to see people really compete and work really hard to win a title and to do what they love to do. You're going to see the stress of it all -- there are definitely a lot of surprises. There are also 16 different characters in one house so you see how everybody interacts with each other and there are definitely some surprising moments there.
Were there any new skills or techniques that you applied this year?
I definitely tried some other things.I learned from last season to open up to different styles and study different ways of applying different things. I definitely brought some different things to the table this season.
How were the other contestants this season?
I think there were some great contestants this season. I think that they raise the bar a little bit higher as far as talent. They brought some really talented people this season. It was definitely a challenge.
Did you learn anything from the past two seasons that has changed the way you work at home?
Definitely. I think that going into this competition, you're with 15 other contestants and more than half are business owners as well. You learn a lot from each other as far as business techniques and art techniques. I learned a lot handling such a busy schedule and how to control everything and make everything work better.
So, you changed your look a little bit?
I went a little bit lighter with my hair. I've always had highlights, but for the second season I had changed to darker. Now I'm going little by little back to light.
What do you want to say to your hometown fans?
Being an artist in this industry -- I know that Miami is not really is not really a big tattoo city compared to, let's say, somewhere in California or New York, so for conventions and stuff Miami is not that popular when it comes to tattoos. I definitely wanted to go to the show and represent my city and show that we do have great artists here and we do have a lot of art and culture. So hopefully with what I did and with what I accomplished I can represent Miami well.
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And the burning question - are you taking tattoo appointments in Miami now?
Yes, I work in Miami and I also do a lot of conventions out of state. I'm always touring and traveling. But yes, people can make appointments, they can go to my website, TatuBaby.com.
Season three of Ink Master premieres next Thursday, July 16, at 10 p.m. on Spike TV.