Illyria Jade

Illyria Jade

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Photo by Eduardo A. Garcia

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Photo by Eduardo A. Garcia

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Photo by Eduardo A. Garcia

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Photo by Eduardo A. Garcia

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Photo by Eduardo A. Garcia

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Photo by Eduardo A. Garcia

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Photo by Eduardo A. Garcia

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Photo by Eduardo A. Garcia

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Photo by Eduardo A. Garcia

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Photo by Eduardo A. Garcia

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Where were you born and raised?
I’m a native Texan. I was born in Central TX (just South of Austin) and lived there until I was about 10 yrs old, then moved to West TX (El Paso) and was there for almost 5 years. Afterwards I moved back to the Austin area for 8 yrs, had a brief stint in North TX (Dallas-Fort Worth area) for grad school, and am now back and settled in Austin. I’ve been here 10 yrs now. I love Austin, and having lived in just about every major city in TX, Austin truly is home and the only place I’d want to live.

Growing up were there any people that influenced your decision on getting a tattoo?
No one personally, no. Maybe people I saw in the media: in movies, on TV, in magazines. But no one in particular.

What made you decide to get your first one?
I wanted them as far back as I can remember. I started planning out pieces when I was 12. I can’t really place the influence or inspiration, there has just always been this internal motivating push to get them. It felt like I was always meant to have them. So on my 18th birthday I was in the chair!

Do you have a favorite tattoo, and does it have a meaning behind it?
That’s a really hard question because I honestly love them all. Some have specific meaning, some I find amazing aesthetically as works of art, others mark milestones for me as a collector….they all have significance in different ways so it’s like comparing apples to oranges.

My chest piece was my first highly visible large piece that sort of moved me from the realm of being a “chick with a few tattoos” to being a noticeable collector. But I have other, smaller pieces that I like less on the artistic side but more on the meaning side, like my mother’s name on my stomach or the small bear outline on my lower back/hip. So it’s really hard to say.

How did you get into modeling?
When I was a college undergrad my neighbor 2 doors down was working on her BFA in photography and asked to take some photos of me for a project. Then another friend of mine who’d recently graduated with his BFA wanted to take some photos too. He’s a professor of photography now at MCAD, Nathan Lewis. I always tell him my “modeling career” is copyright him because he took the first photos of me that got me noticed. From there, people online just started contacting me for shoots. This was back in 2006.

I’ve “modeled” off and on since then. In those early years I did a lot of events, promo, runway, and online/print advertising. I’ve been a Suicidegirl since 2007 and that opened up a lot of doors for me back in those days. I wasn’t known for my tattoos back then though, I was more of a goth/alt model. And then, I took a break from all of that after graduating from college to focus on grad school and get my master’s degree. I’m definitely not a career model. I don’t even like the term model. I prefer to be recognized as a collector. And as my collection expanded over recent years, I got the renewed itch to get back in front of the camera. I’ve had a couple magazine spreads since then and I’m really excited to now be recognized in tattoo oriented publications. I feel like I’ve finally found my niche.

What or who are you’re inspirations?
As a collector and model I really admired Mizuz Inkaholik https://www.facebook.com/MizuzInkaholikProgressivePinUpModel who was a fellow Texan and had a bright & vibrant collection that she wore beautifully. I was very lucky to cross paths with her at numerous conventions going back to 2007 and see her collection grow. I also got to know her a bit more personally in 2013 before she passed away….she was an all around great spirit and really positive member of the tattoo community.

I also really respect and admire all the well known tattoo models who are getting big media attention and breaking down the negative stigmas or assumptions associated with being a heavily tattooed female.

What projects are you currently working on?
I have a few publications/covers/features coming out in the next couple of months that I’m excited for! I shoot more than people realize, I just can’t post the photos anywhere until the publications come out, which can take some time. So I’m excited as release dates get nearer and I get to share more work with people!

I’m also trying to attend more conventions, enter more tattoo contests, shoot more, as well as try to get into more tattoo oriented publications. So I’ve got a number of conversations going right now with different publications, photographers, and whatnot. Since I’m not a “career model” and have a full-time profession that I’m very passionate about, it’s a delicate balance and I do a lot of multi-tasking. But I truly enjoy it.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sillyillyjade
Instagram: http://instagram.com/sillyillyjade
Model Mayhem: http://www.modelmayhem.com/281845