Queenslander Mandy Leigh Jones will next weekend become the first transgender woman to compete in the Miss Ink Australia competition.
Contestants in the popular tattoo pageant compete in three rounds. A panel of professionals from within the tattoo, fashion, and modelling industries judge the competition.
Mandy has 180 tattoos. She also models as a tattoo pin-up known as Miss Minnie More Retro. A friend encouraged her to enter the Miss Ink competition. She said she couldn’t be more proud to be the competition’s first transgender contestant.
“I’ve been transitioning for close to 30 years and in my younger years I got some pretty guyish tattoos, I guess you could say,” Mandy said.
“As I transitioned, I tried to remove them by laser. However, that didn’t work.”
Mandy then decided on a different approach.
“Next thing I know, I’m totally covered in beautiful artwork.”
“They’re my expression of womanhood. Each tattoo represents different parts of my life. They’re all strategically set out and I designed quite a few myself.”
Mandy will be competing for the title of Miss Ink Brisbane on June 18, hoping to join the other winners from each Australian state in the national grand final of the Miss Ink Australia competition later this year.
“Three or four of the women who are going to be at Miss Ink Brisbane are friends of mine. Indeed, there’s going to be some friendly competition!” she said.
Miss Ink Australia
Previously, Canberra woman Fallon Nicole started the Miss Ink tattoo pageant in 2009. However, it is now an annual nationwide event that also includes contestants from New Zealand.
Fallon thanked Mandy and all of this year’s contestants on Facebook, writing: “It makes me so proud and fills my heart with so much love knowing that [Miss Ink] does not discriminate and is there to empower every woman.”
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