Skin Story: Molly Hewitt

Skin Story: Molly Hewitt

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We've been thinking about the phase out of tattoo stigmas here at Stories and Ink. I'm sure at times all of us have had that odd negative look or comment directed towards our tattoos. A study made back in 2015 showed us that between the ages of 25 to 39, 30% of the UK's population have at least one tattoo - so that's 1 in 3 of us supporting at least one piece of art on our skin. It is also predicted that by the year 2025 the UK will reach its peak amount of tattooed people - is this due to the phase out of tattoo stigmas? And a wider acceptance to the world of body art? I caught up with Illustrator and Mother, Molly Hewitt to discuss some of the experiences she's had carrying heavily tattooed skin.

My aunt once said to me - imagine what the other mums on the school run will think of you with so many tattoos?! And she was right, I definitely do stick out at the school and I am the only heavily tattooed mum at the gate. Also being a young, heavily tattooed mother - I had my daughter at 20. So maybe that adds to the stigma.

Do you think it's mostly the older generation against the idea of people being heavily tattooed?

I don't think it's a generational thing, lots of my friends and other people my age don't have tattoos mainly down to being afraid of needles! But really like the idea of having tattoos.

How does your daughter feel towards your tattoos, does she like them?

Aw yes she likes them, we always get her the stick on ones. She also colours in a lot of my tattoos with her pens! We always talk before I get a new tattoo and she gets excited about what and where it will be, it's very sweet. Then after getting the tattoo she likes to take care of it for me and helps with the healing process, applying the aftercare haha.

For me it was always inevitable that as soon as I hit 18 I was going to get my first tattoo because similarly to yourself my folks were heavily tattooed and that has always inspired me to do the same. Where does your influence come from?

I think my first was about a week after my 18th, but it's different for me. Practically no one in my family has any tattoos. Aesthetically growing up I always liked the way people with tattoos looked and I knew I wanted to be apart of that. As soon I got one I had the bug so was pretty much unstoppable from there.

Have you ever been to a job interview and been stigmatised for having tattoos on show? I guess it's pretty difficult for you not to have them on show!

Oh yes definitely, I worked in a five star hotel and they made me wear plasters over my finger tattoos when I was working on the bar! However, in the job I am in now it's taken a while but they've definitely made so much improvement in not discriminating me for my tattoos. At the start they would ask me to wear only long sleeves and trousers. But as the years have gone by, I've been there four years now and have collected more and more tattoos including my hands and my neck! There's nowhere for me to hide any more. The choices I make for my body should never put me in situations where I feel uncomfortable at work - like wearing long sleeve tops in the summer.

People often say, how do you think your going to look when you get old?

Ummm probably like everyone else! We're going to be a generation on coloured in pensioners, and it won't be weird.

So do you think that will be the total phase out of tattoo stigma?

I guess people are always going to have their opinions, and I think tattoo stigma is a small part of a growing wider acceptance of individuality.