PART-TIME pin-up and full-time tattoo enthusiast, recently crowned Miss Ink Perth, Selina West quite literally wears her heart on her sleeve, along with the rest of her life.
The Kardinya resident, who goes by the stage name Miss Veronica Lily, received her first tattoo as soon as she turned 18 and has amassed an impressive collection of body art.
A large tribute to husband Ryan West anchors the tattoo sleeve on her right arm, which also includes a life-size replica of her cat’s paw and a smiling bulb of garlic; a nod to Mrs West’s vegetarianism.
Miss Ink celebrates the beauty of Australian women with tattoos and after claiming the state title in July, Mrs West is now preparing to travel to Canberra for the national finals on October 22.
“After living with a very negative mindset for many years I found myself mostly dressing in all black,” Mrs West said.
“I decided to start getting tattoos of the things that made me happy, fun colourful tributes to my cats, love of sewing, and vintage keepsakes. It became a way of connecting with other people.
“Having tattoos and learning to accept myself went hand in hand and I have grown to love who I am and encourage other people to nurture themselves and let their uniqueness shine.”
Mrs West’s first tattoo came on a trip back to her native Canada and she now has more than 20, mostly concentrated on her arms and legs.
“I like how tattoos provide a window into the personality; they let you know a bit about a person without even speaking to them.
“They also create conversations. I had the word ‘Self’ tattooed on the back of my leg after coming to the realisation that spending time on yourself is really important.
“So many people see that tattoo and ask me about it which allows me to speak to them about being sure to take some time to look after yourself.”
The Miss Ink competition is in pageant form with contestants donning casual, swimwear and formal attire designed to showcase their tattoos.
The national finals also include an outfit of choice category, with Mrs West considering lingerie.
“I used to be overweight and have worked really hard over the past five years to build and love the body I have,” she said.