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An Australian tattoo artist covered head to toe in ink has revealed the one she regrets most.

Melanie Habarakada, 28, from Victoria, became a tattoo artist completely by accident.

She was about to start her bachelor's in interior architecture but was unhappy with the life path she was on.

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A good friend of hers was an assistant at a tattoo shop and the owners eventually saw the drawings Melanie would post on Instagram.

They were so impressed with her skill that they offered her an apprenticeship.

Now she’s a successful tattooist, with her almost 30,000 Instagram following reflecting the love people have for her work.

She exclusively told Daily Star: “I was only 14 (wow my parents will kill me reading this) and it was the word ‘family’ very poorly done on my back which is now covered up,” she said.

“Don't do this, I did in fact, regret not waiting.”

Melanie says her interest in tattoos was started by the fact that she’s always loved art.

In fact, her mum was an artist, so she grew up “living and breathing all types of art”.

She continued: “Tattoos were still quite taboo then but there was something beautiful about the idea of having everlasting pieces on you, pieces that tell your own story. A new and evolving type of art.”

The tattooist is now so heavily tattooed she can no longer tell how many she has on her body.

“When you are as heavily covered as me, the answer is simply one. It all just becomes one large piece connecting or you simply lose count after a while,” she explained.

“The most painful from memory was possibly my inner bicep, everyone is different in terms of pain but into the armpit area was awful.”

While some people still consider tattoos to be taboo, they’re more popular than ever before.

More young people are tattooed than ever before, with around 30% of 18-35-year olds having at least one.

And in Australia, new research from McCrindle shows that 31% of Australian women have tattoos, compared to 19 per cent of men.

It’s clear the industry is changing and there are now more female tattooists than ever before.

“When I started my apprenticeship there were very few women in the industry still,” Melanie said.

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“I worked in male-dominated shops for a long time. But as society moved forward so did the industry.

“We are forever evolving which is why you're seeing this generation produce some of the best artists we've seen, a lot being females.

“Having strong female role models in the industry is a huge thing too, women who can show younger girls not to be afraid of being a part of the industry. So it acts like a snowball effect.”

Melanie is tattooing in Southport until her appearance at the Brisbane Tattoo Expo.


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