Shonda Mackey: Tattooed Model, Creative, and Monster Enthusiast

Shonda Mackey is a 33-year-old tattooed model based in Phoenix, Arizona. We talked about her creative work on both sides of a camera, monsters, her tattoos, and her Instagram following, which is bigger than the population of her Colorado hometown.

Meet Tattooed Model: Shonda Mackey

Hi Shonda! On Instagram, you describe yourself as a tattooed model and a creative, so let’s start there! How did you get into modeling?

I started modeling after I graduated high school and long before the tattoos! I started off in bridal jewelry catalogs and fashion magazines. Since I got tattooed, I’ve modeled for clothing lines, magazines, and commercials.

What was that transition like for you? Did you have any negative experiences when you started getting tattoos?

Yes, I experienced my fair share of criticism for my tattoos in the beginning and still to this day! Lots of agencies, managers, and photographers would tell me their personal opinions about my tattoos and how they assume my career would pan out, but the reality is that the world is literally changing every day and not one person’s personal opinion could ever affect my future and career.

The only difference is that I might not get certain gigs if I don’t fit the image now because I’m different, but different is good! I decided to go all-in because if people really want me to be a model for them then they will accept me as I am!

Tattooed ModelThat’s such a positive approach – it’s important to be yourself, no matter what you’re doing! With the pandemic, how has your work changed over the past year?

I was a full-time videographer for some athletes before the pandemic hit and it has definitely been hard. The last thing I want to do is be in a gym or around sweaty, breathing-heavy athletes. Modeling has taken a toll because there aren’t events or shoots going down, so it has been tough!

At the moment I am working from home, taking on odd jobs here and there, and running my Onlyfans as well as my merchandise store. I’m reworking my goals and future and looking to perhaps start some filming in the medical world, like some bloody brain surgery!

So you’re comfortable on both sides of the camera, plus I saw that you’re a singer and you’ve made everything from stickers to calendars, not to mention your Instagram and OnlyFans content. As such a creative person, what’s your favorite form of art?

I love to sing and wish I knew what I was doing because I would pursue that!

Other than that, I love video work, and I love to be in music videos. I love photoshoots where a photographer says something will be so hard for a model to do I’m like pffft, bring it on! Lemme show you how this is done!

My favorite form of my art though has to be my dark monster images, I love to be a monster TOO much, LOL!

Model with Tattoos
Tell me more about those monster images!! It’s clear that you have an interest or passion for the dark and maybe even gory. Have you always had an interest in that realm of things?
Yes! I have always loved the gory work! Some of my favorite dark shoots were with photographers Ashley Joncas and I Must Be Dead.

There’s no good way to transition from that to being vegan, but let’s do it anyway! How long have you been plant-based, and what prompted you to give up animal products?

It happened by accident, actually. I went out to eat the night before, had a huge steak with extra butter, and the next day I woke up and thought, “hmmm, I wonder if I could do this vegan diet??”

Oh man, little did I know what I was getting myself into! I’ll never be able to eat meat again, and it’s so weird looking from this side of it. It’s like, how the f— did I eat that for 28 years!? It’s so wild, but learning the educational side of it now through awesome documentaries like Game Changers, I can see how badly I was actually eating on a regular basis and how much better my way of life is for me now!

Shonda Mackey Talks Tattoos
So let’s talk about your tattoos! What got you interested in them, and what was your first? 
I would have to say growing up I ran across a few tattoo magazines and really loved the pinup culture that was around it! My first tattoo was the cross on my back, but it has since been covered by a spider!
I love the octopus on your shoulder – I saw a few photos of you wearing off-the-shoulder tops and dresses, with those eyes mysteriously peering above the fabric. It’s so good. 
Thank you! He was my first large piece by a little biker in Colorado, Tom Mangold.
Shonda Mackey: Tattoo Model
From what I can see, most of your tattoos seem to be larger pieces like that. Was that intentional, and what made you decide to do it that way?
Yes, I do like my pieces to all be flowing on my body with my structure rather than just random placement.
Of all your pieces, what’s your favorite?
They’re all too amazing to choose just one! I’ll talk about my last tattoo which was the spider on my back! Yorick was the artist. He flew to Vegas from Texas and tattooed me two days back to back –  I believe it took around 17 hours! It was inspired by growing up and always hanging out with the spiders at my grandparents’ house, I would always catch the bugs and feed them in their webs.
What It's Like to be A Tattoo Model
Both of the tattoos we’ve talked about are Black and Gray, but I know you also have some color. Do you have a favorite tattoo style?
I really love my black and gray tattoos because of how pale I am. They pop so much! Don’t get me wrong, I do love my colors, but I notice how much the color fades from sunlight vs. black and white tattoos.
I imagine that’s an even bigger issue living in Arizona, with all the sunshine! Okay, one last tattoo question: do you have a go-to artist?
If I could get tattooed by someone again it’s a tie between Anthony Triana (bee tattoo on my left hand) and Yorick (spider tattoo on my back). Both of them are next level when it comes to the technique! It’s literally no pain.
Models with Tattoos
Before we wrap up, I want to circle back to where we started: Instagram. You have a huge following (237K followers as of today) – what has it been like to have such a huge audience in your life?
It’s a blessing. It’s more than the population of the town I’m from and it trips me out. I love being me, I love connecting with people all over the world and learning different ways of life.
When people meet you in real life, what do they find most surprising about you? 
Maybe how nice and down to earth I am. I definitely am not stuck up and literally would give the shirt off my back if someone needed it.
What do you wish your followers knew about you?
How kind I am.
You really seem like it! For the last piece of our interview, what is the message that you’d like to share with the world?
Model with Sleeve Tattoos
You can keep up with tattooed model Shonda and all her creative endeavors on Instagram at @queenofblood. See more features here: