In this Special Edition, we caught up with model and business entrepreneur Kristen Leanne. Before Miami Ink aired on TLC in 2005 and before there was a line of tattoo magazines on the shelves at Barnes and Noble, there was a young model named Kristen that would help revolutionize the world of alternative modeling. We had the pleasure of talking with Kristen Leanne to discuss her career and future business endeavors.
We know you have been into modeling since the mid-2000’s; how did you get involved as a model?
I have actually been modeling with an agency since I was 5 believe it or not! I took a long break in there because my parent’s schedule got really busy and they were unable to take me to castings, so I took it back up on my own when I was 17.
You have been an alternative model long before it was the “in thing”, for lack of a better word; how do you feel about the saturation in this field? Have you found it harder to get booked?
I think there is way too much saturation in every field honestly, but that’s my personal opinion. Photography, modeling, tattooing etc. Everyone’s an artist. Everyone’s a tattooer. Everyone’s a photographer. Everyone’s a model. It does get overwhelming. But people should do whatever makes THEM happy. If they’re happy, it really doesn’t matter what I think, or what anyone else thinks, right?? I think the cream rises to the top always, so you’ll always have the people who work harder than others at it, you’ll always have those who have a true thirst for it and have a true knack for it. They will always come out on top, and their hard work will be apparent, it always is.
You have been the cover model for several magazines, which was your favorite?
Hmm, so many that I really enjoyed doing! I always enjoy working with Rebel Ink, but I think I’d have to say my favorite to date was shooting for the cover of Bizarre Magazine & Tattoo Life. Those were shot by Christian Saint, who is now exiting the “alt world” to focus on his commercial career and I feel really lucky to have worked with him. He’s extremely talented at what he does.
The first time you saw yourself published, how did you feel? Do you think you have made it as an alternative model?
Wow, that was a while ago! Hmm, I know I felt really proud of myself. It was one of the first times in my adult life I had wanted something badly and had made it happen through perseverance and determination. It felt amazing. I recently had my own fitness article published in Rebel Ink, and I felt so proud of myself and very accomplished. I even wrote the article myself!
You have a nice collection of tattoos, how old were you when you got your first one? What is the story behind it? What is your favorite one?
I don’t have favorites with my tattoos… they’re like children. They all offer something different. My first tattoos were the “love” & “lust” on my wrists. I was 17, I had just moved out on my own, and I was rebelling. It felt great! I had another idea, that I won’t even speak of, for my first tattoo, I’m so glad I didn’t get it!!!
Do you have a favorite artist or studio that does your tattoos?
No, once again, they all have something different and unique to offer. Depends on what type of piece I’m looking at getting. I also don’t like specific shops, I like specific TATTOOERS. Wherever they are at, I’m a fan, always.
For our readers that are 18+ click here for an unedited photo of Kristen Leanne
Some of our favorite photos of you were taken by Christian Saint; have you worked with him on multiple shoots? Do you have a favorite photo shoot / photographer?
I’ve actually only shot with him once. But we did quite a few set ups. He was definitely one of my favorites to work with, on many levels. He’s funny, he gives great direction, he knows what he wants, his execution is fantastic. I really loved working on the ‘Oh Love’ Green Day music video. The set photographer for that was really fun and the whole crew was great.
Tattoo discrimination is all around us, have you ever had any issues due to your visible ink?
Yeh, you get the occasional old person that wants to tell you would have been better off not getting any tattoos. But I honestly don’t hear that very much. I get more bullshit for my tattoos on Facebook than anywhere else. In public, most people, old and young, usually tell me how much they love my tattoos!
What do you like to do to unwind or just get away from work?
Well, I work from home. I haven’t worked for anyone else for almost 2 years now (feels awesome! I’m going for that sorta…unemployable look. haha) I watch tv and movies to unwind. My fiancé and I get into certain tv shows and get addicted. We pretty much always do that at the end of the day. Also, a HOT ass shower does the trick too!
Any advice you would give anyone entering the world of modeling?
Figure it out on your own. Just like I did and just like everyone else did. There’s no handbook. You just have to be smart and act like a normal human. Treat people how you want to be treated, don’t speak badly about others, uplift those around you in every situation, work hard, realize there’s zero money in “tattoo modeling” and don’t be a jealous, conniving bitch. Basically, just be a good person, and help people out when you can, and network in every situation you are able to. Market yourself.
Have you always wanted to do modeling? If you were not doing modeling what else would you be doing?
Modeling is a hobby. I’ve been modeling since I was 5. My three biggest passions are fitness, business, and modeling. I mix the two. I have two business that are about to launch that will be the biggest and most successful of my life. I am so passionate about them and proud of them. It’s hush-hush right now, but I cannot wait to share them with the world. One of them will REALLY help models out there who want to get started and earn a living creating art. Stay tuned!
You also have a successful membership-based fan site; how did you come up with this idea?
I got engaged to Mr. Ryan Morgan; he is a huge fan of recurring billing, he enlisted me in the idea. I also loved the idea of sending my fans a physical monthly print package! I love getting mail, and no one else out there was doing it, so I was sold!
Kristen Leanne is also a fitness advocate and has a recently published article in Rebel Ink magazine, it is the first fitness article to ever be printed in a tattoo magazine!~ ☠ AnoTat2 ∴