Tell us, how would you describe yourself in a few sentences?
Do no harm, take no sh*t. Very driven, failure is never an option. Overachiever AF. Compassionate and empathetic, angered by injustice. My two kids are my world, I’ve raised them alone for the past decade and they ground me and are my driving force. Athletic and comfortable in my skin, I push hard with everything I do. Tell me I can’t do something..biggest motivation. Gratitude, fortitude, grit, and humility.
What inspired you to get into tattoo modeling?
I became a tattoo artist. I had been modeling since college, selling other people’s products with my image. Once I went out on my own working in a private tattoo studio, I realized…I am my OWN product, and I need to use the modeling to market myself. I’ve used it to sort of brand myself. It’s such a competitive industry, we all need to use the edges we have. I’m confident in the quality of my work, so my mentality about the modeling has been “…look at me…now look at the art I’m making!”
What type of photo shoots you like doing the most?
The creative ones where it feels like an artistic collaboration. I’ve done so many of the same types of things, at this point I’m really motivated by “out of the box” shoots. As an artist myself, I think I have a lot to bring to the table in terms of creative content. Everybody wants to put me on the beach with a surfboard, which makes sense because it’s my element! And I truly do love those shoots, they’re very comfortable for me. But I get excited to leave that comfort zone a bit more as I get older and work with some new and different concepts.
What is the weirdest experience you’ve had either at a photoshoot, convention etc?
Shooting in the woods with a female photographer friend of mine. I was in lingerie and we were playing around and having a good time. A super creepy man emerged out of nowhere and approached us…and just stood there watching. We stopped what we were doing, as he clearly wrecked the vibe and made us uneasy. He tried in vain to chat us up for way too long, detached to how uncomfortable he was making us. He then told us he lived down a nearby path (that he pointed out) and said that we should go to his house when we were done, saying that we’d know it was his house because he had candy waiting for us in the mailbox. So we went. Just kidding!! We left, everybody knows only psychopaths offer women and children candy. Creeped way out for a while, but we laugh about it now. And carry pepper spray!
Sex appeal is a big part of the industry, Brands look for you to attract the sexual or erotic interests of other people to help sales, build brand recognition etc. When do you feel sexiest?
Great question, had to think about it for a minute. I feel sexiest on my surfboard, gliding down the line on a clean glassy wave. Warm sun on my skin, mind, body and ocean connected. Sexy is a feeling, not a look. Perhaps ties in to why I’m so often asked to shoot with surfboards? That feeling shines through!
What do you like to do when you’re not modeling?
Adventures with my kids. Professional Momming is my specialty. I drive a big pickup truck to prevent feeling like a soccer mom (although I did coach my son’s soccer team!) Pretty much anything outside or at/in the ocean. I’m a crazy runner, 5 miles/day 6 days/week. I push my body hard, it keeps me feeling empowered. Surf, skate, snowboard. All the boards. Dance! Fun fact, I bellydanced for almost ten years. Tattooing, of course. I love doing my art on people’s skin, it will forever be humbling and feed my soul. Gardening and horticulture, I am the plant whisperer. I love making things beautiful and making things grow.
What’s your favorite tattoo and why?
My tiniest one! The red heart on my left pointer finger. It was the first tattoo I ever did on myself. After a long and difficult process, I became the first ever legal tattoo artist in my town. When I opened up, everybody was vying for the “first legal tattoo in town.” After much deliberation, I chose to do the tattoo on myself. A heart, pointing away from my body, because..give love, ya know? A few years later, it felt unbalanced to me, because you can’t give love if you don’t love yourself. So I had another matching red heart put on my right pointer finger, this time pointing towards me. Give love, love yourself. Complete.
If you could get tattooed by anyone, who would it be and why?
I just recently got tattooed by one of my favorites! Mark Wade. He did my mermaid thigh piece and it is amazing! Not only is he an incredible tattoo artist, but he is a super down to earth and nice guy. I have an appointment for more work with him this Spring, which I am very much looking forward to!
Finish this sentence: If I could rule the world for a day I would…
Oh man. Shuffle around all the power. Anarchy. Start from scratch. I want to save everything and everyone. TMI?
So we know models have a lot of “fans” and receive a lot of attention, both online and in-person, some wanted and some definitely not. What’s the worst pick-up line you’ve ever heard?
Geez. So hard to narrow it down, I block most of them out. Well this is more of a bad pick up story than line. I was at the beach with my kids when they were smaller and we came upon a partly built cool sand castle. I sat down and set up my stuff, and they took it over and started making it their own. Soon after, a guy came over and said it was his sand castle that he had been building…and he started building WITH THEM. The kids got weirded out and stopped. The guy stayed and just sat there with us for a while trying to flirt. We left. Similar to my above story about the guy in the woods? Recurring themes in my life, having to leave somewhere because a guy gets weird.
Top Three songs on your playlist?
Sorrow (acoustic version,) Bad Religion; Feeling Good, Avicii; Rite Where U Stand, Gang Starr
Website: www.rachelws.com / IG: @rachlws / FB: Rachel WS Custom Tattoos
Photography by David Rose
Muah: Jamie-lyn Partain