Kayleigh Peach was worried she would be too shy to go out and get her dream job as a tattoo artist. So she went to extreme lengths to make sure she didn’t have much of a choice. She got a tattoo of the word ‘Cursed’ across her face which she believed would mean she would struggle to get a ‘normal’ job. Kayleigh, who lives in Birmingham, got the unusual design on her first day as a tattoo apprentice when she was 24. Now 26, she told Birmingham Live : “I had my face tattooed so that I couldn’t get a normal job, mainly as a reminder to persevere in doing what I wanted to do. “Tattoos are generally a lot more acceptable now than they used to be but throat and face tattoos are still seen as more extreme and workplaces are mostly against them.
“So I had my face tattooed to force myself to become a tattoo artist. “I’d wanted to become a tattoo artist for some time but I was very shy and I’d go into tattoo places and I think they were put off because I wouldn’t say boo to a goose.” And that’s not her only face tattoo, and she also has a rose to symbolise romance and beauty and leaves to represent new beginnings. “I chose the word ‘cursed’ because I was a very troubled person, I felt cursed because nothing ever went right for me, especially in relationships,” she said.
“I’ve always struggled with my mental health. “Now, being in the tattoo industry has helped me so much – it’s saved my life. It sounds like a cliché but it’s true. “My mindset is different. Before my glass was always half-empty, now it’s half full. “I always felt like the underdog, I feel completely different now.” The relationship between a tattoo artist and his or her clients is an intimate one and Kayleigh says it’s this connection that’s made the biggest difference to her.
“When you are tattooing someone, they tend to open up because they are in pain and you kind of become like their psychiatrist and help them if they have problems,” she explained. “Some of the things I’ve heard that people have been through make me think that maybe things aren’t so bad for me.” Kayleigh got her first tattoo at the age of 18 when she had her best friend’s surname tattooed on her ankle. She later had a huge tattoo which covers her chest. Her family weren’t impressed. Kayleigh explains: “My dad was not happy, neither was my stepmum.
“They said I couldn’t be bridesmaid at their wedding. “We were having problems anyway. “But, since I’ve started working in the tattoo industry, my dad has accepted my tattoos.” He’s changed his mind so much that he now has his own tattoo, a heart with his wife’s name in, which Kayleigh did for him. She said: “It was a nice bonding experience but I could tell he was in pain whilst I was doing it.
“So, at the end, I asked him to write ‘Dad’ on a piece of paper and I had a stencil done then turned to him and said ‘now it’s your turn to tattoo this onto me.’ “He was so nervous as he tattooed it onto my leg but I love it, it’s like a trinket tattoo, it means I have a piece of him with me wherever I go.” Kayleigh has lost count of how many tattoos she has because many of them merge into each other. “I think my tattoos cover around 60 per cent of my body,” said Kayleigh, who has appeared in a music video and Skin Deep magazine.
“The longest I’ve ever sat for a tattoo is around five to six hours which isn’t too long.” Unable to put a figure on the amount she has spent on tattooing, other than “it’s thousands”, Kayleigh says the pain is actually getting worse rather than better when she has them done. “I don’t know whether it’s because I’m getting older but the pain is much worse now than when I first started getting tattoos. “Before I could sit for hours and not even flinch, now I find I’m in terrible pain and I want to tap out straight away.
“I get really fidgety too, which isn’t good.” Now a self-employed tattoo artist based at The Tattooed Gent on Erdington High Street, Kayleigh’s next dream is to cover her entire body in tattoos. “I don’t think I’ll ever stop, I would like my whole body to be covered in tattoos. “I might have two little ones by my eyes but no more on my face after that. “I know some men who have lots of tattoos on their face and it suits them but I wouldn’t want to completely cover my face as I’d still want to be identified by my features.”