Influencer, Photographer, Model and Columnist
What was it like growing up in Alaska? What activities did you enjoy most? Were you into the outdoors?
Alaska was so awesome as a kid and growing up. I was so used to the extreme temperature changes because thats what my normal was. I didn’t really know any other way. It is true what they say about it being completely light and completely dark, especially growing up in Fairbanks. There was about 3 months of real summer. Temperatures could climb to 100 degrees then 9 months of darkness with maybe 2-3 hours of daylight and temperatures crept as low as 50 below. There was a really cold summer I never experienced but supposedly it dropped to 60 below Fahrenheit, kind of unbelievable right? We would jump on the trampoline in the winter in full snow gear and drive on frozen rivers and lakes. During summer we had lots of pallet parties and gravel pit swims. We would also drive out to Harding Lake and just lay out in the sun. 50 degrees is pretty warm in Alaska, we dress dress in flip flops and summer gear during those temperatures haha.
What’s your strongest memory of your childhood?
Honestly, I was never a bad kid, I just did a lot of bad things. Not all the time, but what else does a kid do growing up in such a small town. How else do we keep each other entertained? I have a TON of strong memories, but hanging out with my best friends always sticks out. Im still SO close to them more than ever and we all ended up living around the same place. We all kinda paid our dues but later as an adult turned it all around for the good. We all laugh about those times still to this day. If we’re talking family though, I’d say it was probably when I was around 9. My sisters and I would play with our parents cam corder. I would actually get on and pretend to kinda be a news reporter talking about whatever I was doing. I would also dance with my sisters to our favorites songs. I was always full of energy and had a larger then like personality.
Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?
I pull a LOT of inspiration from myself. My former self. The former self who literally threw myself away for substances and negative situations. This is a HUGE reason why I turned to modeling, photography, and the arts. Arts being content creating. Its inspiring creating something from the floor up and working with other people who share that same passion and vision. Whether they be a photographer, magazine creator, producer, musician etc. I know I’m not the only person who has turned to this avenue after living a toxic lifestyle.
Did your upbringing prompt a specific reference point that inspired you to start collecting?
Not really sure. Since I grew up in such a small town, the only kind of “edge” we had at the time was a tattoo shop. A shop I’d always dream of being tattooed in. I’d hang around it every chance I got too. Next door was a head shop, so I’d go in for incense and candles and what not then stop over at the then “Good Karma” where I got my very first tattoo. I had seen a girl on Myspace with her whole chest tattooed. I knew I wanted to start there first. Thats exactly what I did on my 18th birthday.
Alot of your tattoos are fantasy and horror. If there was only one movie left to watch and repeat for the rest of your life what movie would you choose?
THATS SO TOUGH! I’m a HUGE movie buff. Sci-Fi / Fantasy & Horror are my favorite. I LOVE the thrill of being afraid. I got over being too scared to watch horror movies alone a long time ago. The movies I always find myself wanting to watch on repeat though are “Childs Play” “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves” “The Dark Crystal” ALL Marvel movies and “Aliens”
What was your first publication?
I’m trying really hard to remember back. Its been YEARS. One of the first was the cover and spread in a local and independent magazine called “Northwest Alternative” I THINK. I’d have to do some super deep digging – next might have been the former magazine “Bound by Ink” wearing latex from Vital Vein Fashion.
Describe to us what you were feeling for that first cover shoot, publication? If anxious or scared… How did you overcome those feelings and produce a killer end result?
I’m not happy to report that a LOT of the time I would use alcohol to try and mask or neutralize my fear and or anxiety back in the day. What’s funny is I don’t even like drinking nowadays as an adult. It really throws off my whole routine of waking up early, lifting and getting on with the days work. I cannot say no to a Bloody Mary though. I LOVE THEM! Now days – Its just so easy to take photos. It’s nice and convenient that my partner James Ramsey shoots 99% of my content. Something really important I’ve learned as I’ve grown my brand is to try and learn as much as possible on your own. Be your own boss!!!
What memorable responses have you had to your photos and modeling?
I’ve had every response under the sun. Most of which are pretty uplifting and kind. I’ve had my fair share of negative ones though. It depends on whatever is published or shared. You have to grow thick skin for this kind of industry. If anything it hasn’t been my work that might cross someone negatively, its my over all personality. What I mean by that is – I’m INTENSE. It’s funny when people like to tell me that, as if I didn’t already know. If I listened to any of the nay-sayers than I wouldn’t be in the position that I am in now. Which is a pretty well rounded, accomplished one. I am blessed and grateful.
Who are your biggest influences?
Again, I pull influence from many sources. Some of which are photographers, and people I know in real life who aren’t even involved in the modeling or photography industry/scene. Brendan Forbes is a very successful and talented photographer. I love his work and his edge in his photos. I would LOVE to work with him one day if that was ever an option. http://www.brendanforbes.com/galleryhttp://www.brendanforbes.com/gallery. I also pull influence from my closest of friends. They have seen me go from the person I used to be, into the person I am now. The energy and time it took for them to pull themselves up helps me continually grow as a person as well as a tattoo industry model and person.
You currently live in Portlandia, what is one of your favorite or most inspirational places?
Is it okay to say restaurants? HAHA! Lots of delicious places here. For food, I’d say Boxer Ramen on Burnside. For beauty, definitely out where I live currently in Estacada, located 20-30 minutes outside of Portland… I live on 13 acres equipped with a gun range, barn, giant shop, and an entire home gym courtesy of Rogue Fitness. I also just bought some property down the road where James and I will be putting another home. LOTS of new and exciting things coming up that I can’t even talk about yet. AHHH!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
STAY CURIOUS & ASK QUESTIONS. Also – do NOT let your fear ruin your chances of reaching your fullest potential. Most people, including myself tend to allow fear to rule them. As I’ve grown, I’m learning with each day to let go of that stifling grip it has on me.
Professionally, what are some of your goals?
To elevate my knowledge for retouching images, to get better at making professional videos, and be featured more on television. All things I’m currently working on 😉
How do you seek out opportunities and push yourself forward in the tattoo industry?
Literally by asking questions. There is no secret ingredient other than asking as much as possible to anyone who will listen or who will give guidance. I am often asked how I got started and it was kinda slow at first because I didn’t realize how to move forward. If you don’t know where you want to go or ave some kind of direction then you will often get stuck or lose sight on your goals. Make goals. ASK QUESTIONS. CRUSH THEM, and never stop grinding. You never know if that next question you ask someone will lead you to the answer you’re seeking.
What would be your next dream project?
I am already working on that. This piece of property we just purchased is currently being demolished to place a new home on. Also – a couple other exiting things in the works. Stay tuned!
What’s one thing about Heidi Lavon that no one knows?
That I actually have an off switch lol. Most people who know me see this loud, intense person and probably wonder if I ever get tired. Well, yes folks, I actually do. Quite often. I didn’t start drinking coffee til I was about 27. I was always asked how much coffee I had drank that day or what I was on. NOTHING, thats just how I was made, believe it or not.