Elke Nelissen (BE), hairdresser, Genk

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“There are several reasons for me to get tattooed: some of them have a deeper meaning, others don’t. And then there are those I just want to add to my collection. If there’s one thing that is persistent in all my tattoos, it’s my love for ‘80s cartoons. Specifically My Little Pony, The Care Bears and Hello Kitty.

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On my shoulder I have a bandana-wearing Snow White holding a jar of mayo. Anyone who ever met me knows: my love for mayonnaise is everlasting. Noticed Grumpy? He symbolises my husband – beard and blue eyes included – who can be a little grumpy sometimes. I really like combining my love for cartoons with my personal life when thinking about new tattoos. I prefer making humorous connections over just tattooing someone’s name. For example, the grasshopper on my foot reminds me of my dad, who used to call me a little grasshopper when I was a kid, because I would never sit still. And he’s holding a strawberry. No explanation needed, I just love those.

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I do notice the people who start getting tattooed nowadays tend to go really fast. It took me more than 12 years to get to where I am, and I was starting to get used to being the most tattooed woman in a crowd, but things are different now. Then again, I stand out in the crowd anyway, because of the colourful way I dress. Sometimes I get people asking me if I think there’s a carnival. I don’t mind, I just smile and reply: ‘every day is a carnival!”

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