We chose to interview Paula because she’s gotten tattoos from a lot of different places and a lot of different people. Most of her tattoos are pretty meaningful and celebrate her love and joy or to help her come to terms with hard realities.
When you meet Paula, she’s boisterous and fun. She’s one of those people that everyone seems to gravitate toward, so she easily becomes the center of attention. Everyone likes her and her easy going nature makes you feel like you’ve been friends for years. Her heart is huge and there’s no end to what lengths she’d go to for her friends. Her easygoing nature and personality hide a deep sensitivity, strength and compassion. We’re very lucky and blessed that she was willing to give such a personal interview.
What’s your name/nickname?
P: Paula or Pebow
How old were you when you got your first tattoo? What was it, and why did you decide to get it?
P: 35, Chinese Symbol for Supreme Being. I had always wanted a tattoo but wanted to wait until I knew it just felt right. During a difficult time in my life, I took a trip to Truckee, CA to visit a friend. While in flight, looking over the clouds, I KNEW it was time. I challenged myself to find the tattoo parlor on Lake Tahoe, sat at the water a bit, then made my way over. First thought “What the HELL am I doing?” I chose that tattoo to remind myself, no matter the state of mind I am, to ALWAYS do my best and try to be/create the most SUPREME experience I can for myself and those around me.
Can you give us a rundown of your tattoo collection? What do you have and who did it?
P: I have so many tattoos from various artists, from California to Maine. Currently the folks at Grim North are my “go to guys/gals” James has been my most consistent in the last few years.
Now, I know you have some tattoos that are based on a pretty tragic event, can you explain what happened and how it changed you enough to want to get tattooed?
P: In 2009 I was in a horrific 2 Jeep accident. I was on vacation in Cozumel, Mexico (Cruise) and at port 4 of my friends and I rented a Jeep. Another group of vacation goers accidentally missed a stop sign and were in front of me with no time for me to avoid them. I T-boned their Jeep doing about 55mph. This pushed them into (and wrapped the Jeep around) a tree. 2 of the occupants died. While my friends and I survived, my friends were left from paralysis to emotional distress. Along with Survivors Guilt and several physical injuries, I live daily with PTSD and Short Term Memory Loss (due to minor brain damage). I wanted a tattoo to represent all of us (10) involved and have an an abstract bowing angel on my left arm with “Without Struggle, There is no Progress.” More recently I’ve created an intense, gorgeous memorial for the 2 young people who died that day. They were Mexican so I have 2 Sugar Skulls representing them, then 8 smaller sugar skulls for the rest of us. (thank you James!)
Do you ever encounter criticism because of your tattoos? If so, how do you react?
P: I have less negative encounter than positive. Even the ribbing from people that know me. When a smoker once asked “When are you going to stop??” I replied “When are you?” I love humor, so my response are typically lighthearted but leave the person speechless because I’ve put it back on them.
What sort of jobs have you had and how have your co-workers felt about your tattoos?
P: My coworkers have always embraced my tattoos, asking to show them any new ones and share the stories to others regarding the ones I have. They ask where I go and what my thoughts are on what they might want. I’ve worked in both outside sales and inside. While I’m covered in ink, it can be covered up but because I am in the Auto Industry, more times than not, the dealership staff role up my sleeve to see more than share their own with me. While working from home, I have dealerships staff exchanging emails with me about our tattoos.
Because you’re both Gay and a woman, do you feel like being heavily tattooed makes you a little more different? And if so, is it harder? Or do you think the gay community is more accepting of tattoos?
P: I think the gay community is more accepting in general of everything. Being a woman, gay, with tattoos just gives me more layers of what people may judge me for.
What do you think your most painful and least painful tattoo has been?
P: I once thought the Dragon that wraps around my thigh was the post painful until Stina did the Nio on the inside of my left leg. It was surprisingly painful. The least painful are definitely the 2 that were done on the outer bicep of each arm.
What are some of your other loves and hobbies?
P: Watching Football, Volunteering, Riding my Motorcycle(s), Time with my dogs.
What one word best describes your tattoo style?
P: “My” style 😉 or “Modern” if I MUST!
What are some tattoo projects that you have planned for the future?
P: Finishing the Nio with Stina. James and I are going to complete my back with a sick shadow style!
How do you go about choosing your pieces and designs?
P: All of my pieces designs are based on people or specific events in my life. The designs I will find and tweak to make my own.
Name some music that is in your playlist right now?
P: Skrillex, Lifehouse, System of a Down
PEACE HOMIES! xo