An Orono, Ont., womans love of tattoos has changed her life not only physically but mentally, to the point where she was prepared to show off her collection on a world stage.
At the start of this year, Erica Becker had the self-confidence to enter a contest to be on the cover of Inked Magazine.
According to its website, the publication is a top tattoo periodical, and the annual cover girl contests draws entries from all over the globe. Last year, thousands of the worlds hottest tattoo models registered for their chance to be named our next cover model and be featured on the cover of the worlds number one tattoo lifestyle magazine, the contest page states.
Becker not only made it past the first cut, she almost made it to the semi-finals. While her efforts to be on the cover fell short this weekend, shes holding her head high.
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Its a personal narrative of my life, she said.
Becker has spent more than 70 hours in the tattoo chair. The 42-year-old has an affection for tattoos and what they symbolize on her body.
Every single piece I had done is meaningful, I had a memorial piece for my dad, put on my arm; he passed away three years ago. Ive got a badge put on my leg to represent the day I became a correctional officer. I have a poppy to represent my grandfather whos a war vet. I have butterflies for my brothers and sisters and my kids are obviously incorporated, said Becker.
Beckers been building her collection piece by piece. In January, she wanted to show them off to the world by entering to become the cover model on Inked Magazine.
I thought, Ill just try it out and next thing I know I got an email youre in the running, and then I got another email saying congratulations saying youre in the top 15. The outpour of support that Ive had from my community has been mind-blowing, said Becker.
If they feel more comfortable in their own skin, thats the best satisfaction for me, said Mor Cohen, tattoo artist with Mor Ink Tattoo. He says he has been tattooing for almost 20 years.
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Cohen worked on about half of Beckers pieces. He says hes proud of Erica for putting herself out there.
Its like running a marathon, its not about whoever finished first, its about whoever got to the end. Its very exciting to see all of the support [you get] from friends and family and people you dont know, said Cohen.
Ive never really encountered someone that can take an image and make it his own or do it exactly how it is, said Becker.
She finished the competition second in her group out of hundreds of other women, just missing out on the semi-finals.
Beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, colours altered skin, or not, said Becker.
While shes not sure if she will ever enter to be on the cover of Inked Magazine again, the mother of two doesnt plan to stop getting more ink done.
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