Inkredible: Belfast model Stefanie Lee hits back at tattoo criticism
A model fired back at “ridiculous” internet reviews that made her ashamed of her tattoos after she appeared in a Primark social media ad.
elfast beauty Stefanie Lee featured in an Instagram post from the fashion giant advertising a dress and shoulder bag that drew hundreds of comments.
But it was her body art rather than the clothes that caught the attention of some petty fashion fans, some moaning that they “couldn’t see” the dress because of her tattoos and others claiming that his ink was fake.
Style influencer Stefanie (31), who also works as a tattoo artist at India Street Tattoo in south Belfast, swept criticism and said it was right that tattooed women were now featured in mainstream advertising .
The model, who has nearly 150,000 Instagram followers, said: “At first I was totally shocked. I’ve been fortunate not to be the subject of direct Instagram reviews before, despite having quite a large following, so it was unusual to see anything negative, let alone something so harsh.
“I kind of laughed, but realized it affected me more than I thought.
“As for people who ‘couldn’t see the dress,’ that sounds a little silly to say. You wear clothes that fit you well. It’s about enhancing your appearance, not just showcasing a dress.
“The suggestion that the tattoos weren’t real was just strange to me. I don’t know why someone would put fake tattoos on a photo.
“I think people need to understand that people all over the world come in all shapes, sizes and colors and that not everyone is going to look like you. I am going to represent a large population of tattooed women who have never seen people who look like them advertise ordinary clothes.
“Likewise, tall models, models from different ethnicities, models with disabilities, etc. should always be used to represent the different people in our communities. ”
Stefanie wore a quilted shoulder bag and a matching light cream flower embellished dress, but the outfit was lost on some of the Primark followers who were distracted by her body art.
“Tatts don’t feel real to me,” said one cynical Instagram user. “Why use fake tats,” complained another who said “that sounds stupid”
One reviewer complained that the tattoos “took the attention away from the dress”, while others agreed that they “overshadowed” the look or that they “couldn’t really see. the dress just a load of tattoos ”.
Despite the negativity, Stefanie, who recently signed for ACA Models, also gained a lot of support from the backlash and said those who didn’t have anything nice to say shouldn’t say anything.
She said: “I was actually overwhelmed by the amount of support people showed me both in the post and in my posts.
“I think it’s still a bit unusual to see heavily tattooed people outside, even when I see other heavily tattooed people they’ll get my attention, so you find people looking at me quite often, but I don’t have never received anything but compliments. on them in public.
“I didn’t have any negativity about them on my Instagram until Primark’s post, so when I saw the comments I couldn’t believe people were still so horrified by tattoos. I thought it was quite normal in today’s society.
“I love that Instagram is a place to spread love, not hate. Lift others up and don’t bring people down.
“It feels good to be nice, it can literally take someone a whole day to hear something nice and if you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all.”
“It doesn’t do anything in your life to tear people down, it doesn’t make you look or feel better.
“I have noticed that in the past Primark stores had large images of tattooed men in shop windows, which makes me wonder if many tattoos are acceptable in advertising only if they are on the market. body of a man.
“I have also found this on many online stores where the male models are heavily tattooed and the women may only have a few tattoos.”
Stefanie’s online influencer profile exploded during the lockdown as she was unable to work as a tattoo artist and therefore focused her attention on her style and fashion modeling on Instagram.
Although she recently returned to the tattoo studio, the former Miss Northern Ireland finalist continued to expand her modeling work, embarking on her first shoot for ACA last week.
She added, “I love being both a tattoo artist and an influencer and I want the two to continue to function equally if possible.
“I love the creativity and the variety of jobs and the opportunities they create. I was actually signed to ACA when I was 17 before I got my tattoos and I’m really excited to see that they recognized a need and a desire for alternative models today and I’m really excited to see where this is going.