Tattooing is a very male-dominated industry with very few women leading shops and garnering high-profile clients. Within the last decade, however, numerous women have defied those stereotypes and have broke ground for others like them to find success in the tattoo world. Katrina “Kat” Jackson found fame on VH1’s Black Ink Crew Chicago and also a new fanbase that was drawn to her beautiful art. Since her departure from the show, the half-black, half-Korean Chicago native decided to elevate her career in tattooing with her own shop in Beverly Hills, becoming the first black woman to do so.
In an email Q&A with BLACK ENTERPRISE, Jackson discusses finding success as a woman in the male-driven industry while overcoming the odds in opening her own shop, Engima Tattoo, in the glitzy Los Angeles neighborhood.
How did you learn to thrive as a woman in a male-dominated industry?
Being a woman in a traditionally male-dominated tattoo industry never made me feel any less than any of my male counterparts. I never felt like I had a disadvantage because I was a woman. I grew up around mainly guys. I’m the only girl and I have three older brothers, so naturally, I always wanted to do whatever the boys did.
Once I got into the tattoo industry, I knew I wanted to be the best. I studied other people’s work and wanted mine to be better. I carry the same confidence as any man in the tattoo industry, if not more, and now I am at a point in my career where my work and my drive is respected by men and women all throughout the world.
What were some challenges you encountered when you decided to open your own shop?