Photos: INSC Media and Photography

CLEVELAND, OH — On a warm and humid night on the East End of the Flats section of Cleveland, 24 models from across the country came to strut their inked stuff at The Odeon Concert Club.

In a world in which many expect models to be perfectly-toned with big breasts, blonde hair and blue eyes, there has always been a cultural stigma when it comes to inked models.

Also called “alternative” or “tattooed models” women with ink have long been both desired and considered by many as dangerous, edgy and taboo.

The Bad Girl Next Door.

Some would call them weirdo, freaks, goths or whatever term fancied their own insecurities, but beneath the inked flesh with designs that serve as armor for their hearts of gold and shields of their own innocent hearts lies a truly beautiful woman if you’re brave enough to look beyond the tattooed flesh.

One can look no further than modern-day movies such as The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and Wanted starring Hollywood A-listers such as Naomi Rappace–Rooney Mara in the American version–and Angelina Jolie as recent examples of inked women anti-heroes with an edge.

While the women who strutted their ink with pride on this fateful night in the East Bank of the Flats are not your usual Insta-perfect Barbie hottie, they all channeled their own unique brand of inked beauty.

And they did not disappoint.

When asked about the rise of inked and alternative models as well as what inspired her to create Miss Inked 216, Roo Phoria, the woman behind it all was very happy to share her thoughts with INSCMagazine.

What first inspired you to create Miss Inked 216? I created Miss Inked 216 because I wanted to have an event that would bring women of all backgrounds together to have fun and show off their artwork. I also realized that there wasn’t any other pageants on the entire East Coast.

Thoughts in the rise and popularity of inked and alternative models and modeling? I think that the popularity of tattooed models is great for the tattoo industry as a business and it is also very empowering for women.

Do you feel that competitions such as this change the cultural stereotype of women with ink? I’m not really sure what the cultural stereotype is for tattooed woman like myself. All I know is I want to help break the negative stereotype associated with tattoos and tattooed people in general.

Why do you think there is such a cultural stigma towards inked models? I don’t think there is a cultural stigma just against tattooed models, it applies to the entire tattooed community. Tattooed individuals are judged more negatively on character attributes than those without tattoos because tattoos used to be recognized as only bad people having them. Are tattooed individuals really different from non-tattooed individuals in certain stereotypical ways? I don’t think so! Simple way to put it, don’t judge a book by its cover!

Last question: Where do you see both inked modeling and pageants such as Miss Inked being in the future? I believe in time, the pageant world will accept tattooed women. I recently noticed on the last Victoria Secret runway show that a model had a tattoo between her shoulders. Even though her hair was down they didn’t make her cover it. About 10 years ago they used to blur out people’s tattoos on reality tv and that completely faded out because it’s more accepted now and very popular.

In what was a truly successful pageant highlighted by DOSE, New Haven, Unsaid Fate and Tha Fallen Angel’s hard rock and metal sounds killing it with the very vocal and supportive crowd, Miss Inked would crown Jenny Lynn the winner with Darrion Rachelle first-runner up with Emily Wills as 3rd place and Journey Rain named 2019 Miss Inked Fan Favorite, the world of inked models was the biggest winner as Miss Inked could very well serve as the launchpad for more inked model competitions to follow.

They say that one should never judge a book by it’s cover and that true beauty lies skin deep, in the case of Miss Inked 216 and the burgeoning genre of inked and alternative models, one should think twice about that quiet inked girl, because she may just be the most beautiful woman of them all.

Special thanks to all the wonderful contestants, Mrs. Ashley Toro and the Miss Inked 216 pageant for their time and assistance.

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