Tattoos are sexy. Particularly when done by a skilled seductress who hails from our hometown. Meet Tatu Baby (AKA Katherine Flores), a Miami native and contestant on season two of Spike TV's reality hit, Ink Master.
One of only three women in a lineup of 16 contestants, Tatu Baby had to hold her own against top talent while fighting for a $100,000 cash prize. The show, judged by Dave Navarro of Jane's Addiction, Chris Nunez of Miami Ink and Oliver Peck of Elm Street Tattoo, pits artists against each other in a series of tattoo challenges. Forced to create original ink on command, the stakes are pretty high.
Tatu Baby has been tattooing professionally since she was 19, and got her first ink at 14. These days, she's a full blown canvas of original art, and spends her time inking up South Floridians. While she couldn't reveal much about the show's secrets (season two premieres on October 10), Cultist got the skinny from Kat on creativity, making permanent mistakes and the asshole tat "trend."
Cultist: So how did you get cast on Ink Masters?
Tatu Baby: I heard that there was a casting, and I had seen parts of season one, so I decided to go ahead and apply. I sent my work and they wrote back to me and seemed interested, and it went on from there. I was pretty excited. It's a great opportunity to be on the show, especially for my career.
What's the most difficult tattoo you've ever had to do?
I would say tattoos on the front of the neck are always difficult, just because it's such a hard tattoo position. I've done a lot of those already. Also, what I find the most difficult are things I don't understand like the Japanese style of tattooing. That's something that has a lot of traditions and rules to it, so I find it difficult to understand a lot of it.
Any tattoos you've refused to do?
The only time I've ever refused to do a tattoo was for a guy who was just really, really drunk.
Have you heard the psychic's predictions about the new asshole tattoo trend? What's your take?
Actually, I was at a tattoo convention and heard there was a girl getting a tattoo in that spot and it was a really big deal. Everyone was going crazy and wondering why she'd do that to herself. I tend to be very professional in what I do and pretty much, I always say I'm open to tattooing a lot of places, but I don't know if I ever would tattoo someone in a place that personal to their bodies.
What was the most bizarre thing a client ever requested?
I had this guy come in one time saying he wanted Pinocchio on his stomach, where the nose was his private part. At first I was hesitant to do it but then I realized, it's not that bad, and it will definitely be great for my portfolio. A lot of people see it and go crazy for it.
Have you ever made a mistake on a client? Or seen any crazy mistakes made by other artists?
Really big mistakes, no. I think one time I spelled Bible wrong. I think I spelled it with two Es and not one. Almost every tattoo artist has had that mistake in their past. The worst mistake you can make is to spell something wrong.
Do you have a favorite tattoo that you've created?
I love a lot of the Day of the Dead characters, the sugar skull girls. I love the design and creativity. I have this guy now letting me do his whole leg sleeve. I think that's the most fun, pretty much the most artistic freedom I've had.
What was the most unexpected part of starring in a reality TV show?
The most unexpected was basically how challenging everything was gonna be. Watching the show, I kind of thought highly of myself, and I was like, that stuff looks easy. But until you're there with a lot of other great artists and the competition is on ... I didn't expect the difficulty level to be as challenging as it was.
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What's going to be most surprising element for audiences?
People are gonna be surprised to see what each artist can do under the pressure of being on the show. I'm sure there's a lot of people who are rooting for their hometown tattoo artists. I'm probably going to have a lot of people support me, being from Miami. It's going to be really surprising to see how the outcomes come out.
Can you tell us anything juicy about the show - what happened this season? Or do you have to keep it all on the DL?
I have to be really careful with what I say about the show. But I will say, the judges aren't playing any games this season. They're really trying to find a true Ink Master.
Tatu Baby works by appointment only out of a private studio in Miami. You can reach her on Facebook, or check her out on Twitter and Instagram at @tatubaby. Ink Master premieres on Spike TV on Tuesday, October 9 at 10 p.m. You can check out a preview of the season here.