Where did the name Leila Rose come from? What is like being an alternative tattoo model in New York?
When I first started modeling a photographer gave me some advice that a stage name was a good thing to have to differentiate your personal life from your modeling career. Rose is my middle name a favorite flower and Leila I thought was just really pretty, in Hebrew it means “Night”. I feel like being so close to Manhattan there are so many opportunities for a model and tattoo model living here. Tattoo culture is so strong in the City you really just fit right in.
When did you get your first tattoo and what do some of the tattoos you have, mean to you?
I got my first tattoo the week after I turned 18. I couldn’t wait but I wanted to make sure I didn’t break any age laws and get in trouble! I felt like such a badass with my vine of flowers on my hip. Now it’s dwarfed by all my other tattoos. The tattoo I have with the most meaning behind it is my Peacock on my left ribs. The fable behind the Peacock is that he complained he didn’t have a beautiful voice like the Nightingale but he was made to see that his gift was his size and beautiful colorful feathers. Everyone has their own unique gift and we should focus on what we have rather than what someone else has that we may be jealous of. Focus on your gifts and love yourself for who you are.
If you could insert yourself into any painting, what would you choose and why?
Oh wow I think one of my favorites is Salvador Dali’s Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee. It’s just so crazy and interesting to look at I think it would be even more awesome to be a part of it! All the dream symbolism it represents is something I love reading about. It also has been said that is possibly a surrealists interpretation of the Theory of Evolution. All things I’m very interested in.
Is there an image or photo/song – that you continue to come back to and inspires you the most? and Why?
An image that inspires me is Girl with a Balloon by Bansky with the words “there is always hope”. I’d love to have a tattoo of it someday when I decide where and how I’m going to get it. It’s so simple but what it means is so much bigger than any words can describe. It’s something this world needs to focus on much more.
What has being a tattooed woman taught you: about society, yourself, and the idea of beauty?
I think society right now is definitely the most accepting of tattoos and the tattoo industry that they have ever been. There will always be the anti-tattoo groups but they are becoming less and less prominent. I am proud to be a tattooed woman and model. People are really starting to educate themselves on the industry more and more. What has been bothering me lately though is all these Facebook anti-tattoo pages that are popping up. I don’t think these people are really against tattoos but are more trying to entertain themselves by getting a rise out of the people they are bashing. It’s pretty sick that these people really have nothing better to do than post fake tattoo hatred and revel in the reactions they get. Tattooed models are becoming more and more popular though in the mainstream modeling industry I have been seeing. Just last year I walked the runway during New York Fashion Week! Tattoos are becoming a standard in beauty and that is a really beautiful thing!
Can you tell us something about yourself that no one else knows…?
Hmm I’m not sure that this is something no one knows but more that they don’t realize about me. I am a very quiet person. I get mistaken for being shy all the time. I am not shy! I am just very reserved and those are two completely different things!
Do you have any words of advice for young woman entering into the alt tattoo model industry?
Network and go to your local tattoo conventions. You can never be to education on the industry and its history. There are always tons of photographers and magazines at these conventions you can get to know. And enter some of the contests, aside from the regular tattoo judging there are typically pinup and bikini contests that will give you great exposure!