Audrey Kelly Interview: Sweet, Sassy, And Totally Twisted

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I’ve noticed lots of cool ink on your body. When did you get your first tattoo and what was it?
I got my first tattoo when I was, eesh, 14? (laughs) It was a tribal butterfly on my lower back that I drew out myself. It started with the butterfly and the tribal, and then over time I added the shooting nautical stars that connect by wrapping around my sides. I love the nautical star symbolism, and the symbolism of the butterfly. I plan on getting my whole back done one day, but I’ll never cover that up. It holds a lot of sentimental value to me.

Guide me a bit in your inked madness.
Wow, where do I start? Besides my lower back piece, I have a full sleeve that consists of flowers, insects, and a large skull with shears going through the head. The story behind my sleeve, I wanted a tattoo that represented how much my family means to me. I wanted to forever show that to the world because it will be one of the most important things in my entire life. Each flower on my arm represents a different family member based on the months they were born in. I included myself in this too (daisies) and some flowers are in there multiple times. I have my four parents as well as my only biological sibling, my little brother. The insects all hold different symbolism as well. The skull with the shears is a tribute I got for myself, for completing my cosmetology program. The shears going through the head of the skull means the concept of cosmetology will permanently be imbedded in my mind.

What’s your next piece of ink going to be?
I just started a new leg piece a few weeks ago. It’s my current work in progress. It’s a ram skull with flowers surrounding it. Within the flowers are different spiritual symbols that I stand by.

Do you have any go-to artists you want to shout out to?
Tattoo artist Nick Harrington for his contribution to my sleeve, and Jenny Lee, my current tattoo artist who completed my sleeve and is currently working on my leg piece. Both artists work out of Denver. I also have an artist friend in my hometown, Aaron Herrera, who has been a constant inspiration to me over the years.

Would you consider tattooing as a way of self-expression?
Definitely. I think a lot of people don’t view it that way anymore though, unfortunately. It’s becoming so popular, getting flash tattoos and random little things just to fill up space on the body, it is almost what the tattoo culture has turned into. I still will forever see it as way of self-expression. Every time someone asks about my tattoos it gives me a chance to tell them a story about my life, and vice versa. I love seeing people with beautiful tattoos that are meaningful and listening to the interesting stories behind them. If that’s not expressing yourself, I don’t know what is.

What has being a tattooed woman taught you: about society, yourself, and the idea of beauty?
It’s taught me that society needs to change their views of the heavily tattooed. We are in a new day and age where we have doctors and lawyers with full sleeves, and kids such as myself who are heavily tattooed, going to college and pursuing a dream of being a PhD one day. I feel like people who still judge other people for the way of self-expression need to wake up. The world has changed around them and they are still trying to stick to old ways of thinking that don’t work in our modern society. I also think that tattooing can add to beauty, instead of detract from it. All if done correctly though.

Ritual AestheticTell me about some of your publication credits.
Within the last few years I have had the great success of being published in close to 30 different publications, whether that is online magazines, print, calendars, etc. And the honor of being on a few covers as well. I recently made the album cover of industrial metal band Ritual Aesthetics’ most recent LP, Decollect, and now I’m hoping to go more in that direction, being recognized and utilized by different musicians with all that I have to offer.

What is the best place you have traveled to model?
I have had some phenomenal travel experience through my modeling career. I have to say one of the best times were with TeaseUm Bikini Co. in Fort Lauderdale. I stayed in a $30 million mansion on the bay, next to the ocean. I had never seen a house with those kinds of amenities before. I had never seen anything like that before. I got my own room and bathroom with touchscreen everything. There was a five-star chef who cooked meals for us all day. There were photographers everywhere. I was with some of the most beautiful women in the country, who were all walking around naked, freely. I think that was one point of my career where I had to keep pinching myself because I doubted it was real.

Who is on your short list? Photographers, designers, etc. that you would like to work with?
Some designers I would love to work with are Toxic Vision based out of Canada, House of Devali based out of Los Angeles, Black Filagree clothing out of San Diego, and photographer Danielle Tunistall who does extreme horror photography out of Europe.

What are some of your other loves and hobbies outside professional alternative modeling?
I’m in love with dancing. I have been a dancer my whole life, thanks to a mother who has been a dance instructor for over 30 years for raising me that way. I currently am only serious about pole dancing. I have been pursuing that within the past three years. I have been fortunate to have success with that, and performed for a few well-known talented artists recently, such as DJ Mimosa at Red Rocks amphitheater for 10,000 people at Global Dance Festival. I also danced for DJ R.L. Grime and Juicy j at snowdown festival at the Fillmore auditorium.

What’s your best motivational lesson for the beginners?
Expect to go through a lot of hardship before you see any success. Making your dreams a reality never comes easy.

Do you have any big plans for 2014?
Many. As an artist, model, and dancer. I’m about to go international, taking my first Germany trip in a month. Directly after that I’m touring with L.A.-based horror metal band Dawn of Ashes. My fiancé is drumming for the band. This will be an amazing opportunity for networking, and I foresee a lot of opportunity stemming from it.

Keep up with Audrey Kelly on: Facebook, Instagram: Audreykelly47, ModelMayhem, Tumblr, and Zivity

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