10 Questions With Lea Vendetta

See what Ink Master vixen Lea Vendetta's biggest gripe is about the competition, then see how she fares when the show premieres Tuesday, January 17 at 10/9c.

January 17, 2012

Name: Lea Vendetta
City: Boca Raton, Florida
Shop: A Stroke of Genius Tattoos
Website: www.leaslounge.com
Lea Vendetta on Facebook
@LeaVendetta on Twitter

Where did you grow up?

I was born in Paris, France, and I grew up there. I moved to the US in my 20s and began tattooing then.

Describe yourself in 5 words or less.

A life-loving, eccentric artist.

What drew you into the world of tattooing? What inspired you?

As long as I can remember I've been fascinated by tattooing. I always thought tattooing was an art in itself, even though not everyone seemed to think so when I was growing up. I would collect all the images I would find on tattooed people. Only a few books existed on the subject and sometimes rare articles on sideshow tattooed men and ladies. I would cut out the articles and collect them preciously. I just always loved that feeling of freedom and beauty that tattooing seemed to represent for me.

When did you get your first tattoo? What was it?

I got my first tattoo the day of my 18th birthday. I went to the tattoo shop alone! I wanted a black spade, but I ended up with what the artist wanted to give me (which was a Celtic dragon). I got it covered a couple of years later...then lasered, LOL! I still didn't get my black spade...I'll have to make that happen now.

Were you trained formally?

I did not receive formal training. I'm pretty much self-taught, which made it take longer for me to learn than if I would have been formally trained.

Have you won any awards?

Yes, I've won many awards all over the US. I myself have been in a lot of tattoo magazines, my tattoo work has been featured in many tattoo magazines, and my paintings have been featured in tattoo and lifestyle magazines. I have been on the cover of at least 12 tattoo magazines so far.

What was the worst tattoo you've ever seen?

Not sure, I see a lot unfortunately, mostly on people that come to me for coverups. And it's ok because we end up making an old bad memory into something beautiful.

What advice do you give to someone who's looking to get their first tattoo?

1) Make sure you feel comfortable with the tattooist; 2) make sure you check out their book and you love their work; and 3) make sure to listen to their professional suggestion. If they passed steps 1 and 2, then you should have confidence in them and let them run free with your tattoo wish. This is how you will get the best result.

What is the hardest part of being on Ink Master?

LOL!! Well, not sleeping is pretty tough when you have to be your best in a tattoo competition! The emotional roller coaster of not knowing what the next challenge is going to be is devastating. And having to live in a house full of guys is not exactly helping me relax for day of hard work... Although those guys are fun, so it's ok.

Why do you think you are the Ink Master?

I am the Ink Master because I am a well-rounded, successful, internationally-renowned tattoo artist. I have the experience, the history and the reputation of having executed all classic styles of tattooing in a professional and artistic way.

Check out Lea Vendetta's portfolio here, and get more Ink Master at inkmaster.spike.com.