19 Feb Tattoo Betty Brandice McCown Waldrop
If you didn’t pick up the last issue of Pretty & Inked you probably missed out on the a pretty incredible Tattoo Betty. Brandice Waldrop is a successful Occupational Therapy Assistant in Hoover, Alabama. With a specialization in Pediatrics, she also currently works with elderly patients as well. After her wedding in the fall, she got together with Sara Lucas of Al Weddings to shoot a stunning Tattoo Betty boudoir shoot!
⚓ How many tattoos do you have and what are they of?
I have 9 tattoos that make up my sleeve; A wine bottle with lighthouse in it, an anchor with saying “hold me down first to drown”, a quote “not all who wander are lost” (from a J.R.R. Tolkien poem), a snake, skull with flower headpiece, pinup lady, filigree fill in work, kraken pulling a pirate ship under, music notes and dandelion fuzz spitting from a dandelion.
Other than my sleeve I have 11 other tattoos; the eye of Ra with human eye twist, a quote “Alis volat propriis” (she flies with her own wings), flesh colored heart with G in it for my Gmomma, the word patience in my middle finger, Chinese symbol translating to “to bear in the back of one’s mind” to remind me the past is who made me, Hindu deity Ganesha for overcoming obstacles and hardships, heart with cardiac spike with a flat line leading to the words “life goes on”, a new tattoo since the session of maleficent (human and dragon form), Hylian crest from the N64 game Zelda: Ocarina of Time, a peace balloon, and a quote on my foot from my favorite band Paramore “but I’ll get a new one and come back for the hope you’ve stolen”.
⚓ Why did you get your tattoos and what are their significance?
I started out with small tattoos and grew a passion for the relief I felt every time I got my next piece of art because they all symbolize someone dear to me, something dear to me, something I’m obsessed with, or literature I love. My tattoos in some way without me realizing it, show how much of a fighter I am for my life and how much I appreciate each step I took good and bad. Each achievement and mistake in life was rewarded with a new piece of art either symbolizing the mistake or rewarding the achievement with something of my obsessions.
⚓ Do you regret any of your tattoos? If so, why?
I do regret my peace balloon, it is a simple piece that lacks creativity except for the meaning, so honestly I regret who tattooed the piece, not so much the actual art.
⚓ How do you feel your tattoos have encouraged you in your life, relationships, career?
My tattoos have encouraged me to express myself more, stand out where others are afraid too, take risks that some will not when it comes to my career. When it comes to my relationships, it helped me finding the man of my dreams whom I married just last year after thinking I was not good enough for anyone because i was tattooed and told by so many other men “you are so hot, but those tattoos take away from it.” “You are amazing, sadly your tattoos make you ugly.” Luckily, I found a man who loves tattoos just as much as I do, but also would think I’m beautiful with or without my tattoos because he sees past them for the person i am. In life, my tattoos have made me stand out to the “judgmental crowd” and made me realize people can be cruel, but also that the last person you would think actually will appreciate me regardless so I need to keep an open mind about everyone just like I expect everyone to do with me regarding my tattoos.
⚓ Would you say your tattoos have affected who you are? If so, how?
My tattoos have never truly affected me. I use to think they would and actually at one point think they did. I graduated college with an amazing degree, worked with special needs children in the school setting right outside college, I now work at a top notch facility working with the elderly for ortho surgeries, strokes, etc. My employers (past and present) know I have tattoos and still hire me, they saw the talent, personality, education, what have you that they wanted for the position I filled. Yes, I have to cover them up, but to all the people who said I never would find work except for bartending – which by the way paid for my through college- could see me now, they’d be jaw dropped. It’s a good feeling of achievement.
⚓ How do you feel about the world’s view of tattooed women?
The world’s view on tattoos are rough for starters, but tattooed women- especially sleeved out and beginning a thigh sleeve women- we are looked on as trashy, uneducated, not successful, not taken seriously, a sugar baby (with that added price of you know what attached). It can be very frustrating to be in these shoes sometimes, but I make a point to smile at people who stare, ask people how they are doing if I pass them somewhere, open doors, allow others to go ahead of me, donate to a cause, take the extra step, just be polite, I am everything my grandmother raised me to be-a polite courteous lady. I feel I can help change how people view tattoos and tattooed ladies… Maybe not a huge change, but at least the people around me or I come in contact with everyday. Let’s just say living in the Bible Belt of the south in Alabama- isn’t exactly helping my case either.
⚓ Best advice you can give/have been given about your tattoos and being a Tattooed Betty.
My grandmother once told me one time- if someone can look at me covered up then see me again exposing my tattoos and snarl their noses then they have hate in their heart-to just bless their soul and move on because they aren’t part of my battle, they are fighting another battle, and it’s best I let them fight it alone. She’s right.
Photograhy: Al Weddings