Taranaki woman takes out Miss Tattoo Fest


Jessica Birss (24) from Taranaki won the Miss Tattoo NZ competition run by The Rock FM.

What started as a tattoo memento of her daughter's birth is now an award winning piece of body art.

Jessica Birss got her first ink as a 16-year-old, but her first large piece was done for her two-year-old daughter Esme.

"I got her birthdate, time, all that with a bird which was representing me because she came into the world with just me. There was no one else to help out at the time besides my parents so it was a pretty representative tattoo."

Stacey Drummond created the tattoo on Jessica Birss that won her the title of Miss Tattoo New Zealand.

Stacey Drummond created the tattoo on Jessica Birss that won her the title of Miss Tattoo New Zealand.

After getting the bird done, Birss heard of Stratford tattooist Stacey Drummond and asked him to continue working on the design, which now includes a mandala and three roses - representing the 25-year-old and her siblings.

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The completed work, which covers her midriff and right leg, recently won her the title of Miss Tattoo Fest - a competition run by The Rock radio station.

Drummond did most of the design over a period of a few months.

Drummond did most of the design over a period of a few months.

She is the second woman in Taranaki to take out the title in two years, after Jamie Ditchburn won in 2016.

All the artwork on her body holds a lot of meaning, she said.

"I do keep to meaning. If something comes up in my head that I think I can make into a tattoo that's got meaning I definitely get it done, other than that you've got a background to fill somewhere.

"Stacey does awesome freehand, so I'm always quite happy for him to do his thing and it always looks good."

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She decided to enter the competition on a whim after a friend took a few photos of the work.

While most of the entrants had just submitted photos of themselves, Birss decided to send in an extra photo showing the design up close and she thought this had given her an advantage as the voters had been able to see the intricate working on it.

After making the top 20 and then the top 10, it came down to getting family and friends to vote for her.

"Being in Taranaki, it's a small place so everyone knows you so that helps as well, definitely," she said.

Along with the title, Birss won a trip to the New Zealand Tattoo & Arts Festival and a $500 tattoo voucher.

Birss said she already had other ideas in the works.

"Now I'm going to go across my back and halfway down my other leg, so that will work out quite nice I hope, it's up to Stacey to make it look good," she said.

 - Stuff

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