Thursday 30 January 2014

Ink'd: Ivy D'Muerta

It came with great pleasure and surprise when 'Jill of all trades' Ivy D'Muerta agreed to take time from her hectic life for this session. If you're wondering why I referred to her as a 'Jill of all trades' then you must not know much about Ivy, thankfully this interview touches on pretty much everything. From her career in radio, television, and modelling to her charitable work and her never ending pursuit of knowledge in astrophysics.

Ivy spent real time sharing some truly heartfelt answers that come from a strong, open mind. Hopefully you, the reader will come away from this with the same level of respect and admiration which I now have for Ivy.

As you dive into the depths of Ivy D'Muertas mind, put one of her favorite songs on in the background. 
 Dissection- Thorns of Crimson Death.

1. We may as well start off with the basics, could you introduce yourself to those who don't know you?
Hi! My name is Ivy D’Muerta, and we are about to get to know each other…
My house is in San Diego, but I travel across the country, even the globe and wherever my body goes that is my home. I’m a model first and foremost, I talk metal on the airwaves, act for stuff you see on television and what keeps me in my happy place or in my rare alone time (beside music) is hockey, books, camping/backpacking, and Astrophysics.

2. You are a respected and acclaimed model, published and featured across the board. At what age did you decide this was the life you were going to lead and did you ever foresee achieving these results?
Thank you.  You know, I never aspired to be a model.  It was never on my radar.  When I was 20, a friend of mine was in photography school and asked if I could model some pinup poses for her assignment. At this stage in my life, all I did was wear red lipstick (okay so maybe I still do..) and be a bit of a rockabilly pinup girl. I hesitantly agreed, I didn’t know what to do but I had Elvgren and Vargas books at home so how hard could it really be? I did it and a week later my friend calls me saying two retro-inspired clothing companies were interested in hiring me to model for them. The next thing I know, I’m here modeling full time and loving every minute of it.

from the pin up days
People wouldn’t think modeling is hard work, hell I didn’t. But it is, and it feeds my entrepreneur soul. I love being a business woman and owning my own business, and my name is my business. It’s a lot of hours of non-stop networking and scheduling, creating, and managing. Plus, I have a sort of addiction to hard work, so once I feel I am getting “bored” or that something is becoming to easy for me, I push myself harder. That’s where I am now, I’m working on breaking stereotypes for the tattooed people in the world and industry. The general public sees tattooed people as drug addicts and strippers, people without an education or a stable life. I am putting myself in roles in both acting and modeling where tattooed people, especially women, can’t easily obtain. I hope to pave a path where seeing a person with tattoos in the entertainment and modeling world isn’t so shocking anymore.

I never foresaw myself being where I am today, I had a much different idea of where I would be at in my life right now. But, I love where I am. I have accepted the idea that I’m this person people see and hear, that I have a voice. I intend on using my voice and small soapbox to be myself, be honest.

3. A lot of people think that being a model is as easy as standing around looking pretty. Care to correct this ignorance and share some of the most challenging photo shoots/situations you have been involved in?
I was one of those people before I did my first photoshoot. It’s not a walk in the park, that’s for sure! I look at my modeling as an art form.  We all have different opinions of what art is, for me I enjoyed painting and writing, sculpture was amazing… But for some reason modeling is my paint and canvas. So, I get really into it. I like the challenges, and the feeling of accomplishment when I accept and conquer the challenges. A lot of the time you work at least a 12 hour day. You work with a whole crew or just one other person. It’s a physically and mentally demanding job and a lot of the time you’re in situations where you’re physically uncomfortable, you need to take care of your health and body so you can function for the job. Most days you wake up between 4 and 5 AM, and end the job 20 hours later. And you aren’t just sitting around, you’re working your body as you would over a few days at the gym and overly expressing every body movement and emotion non stop…

she sure makes it look easy!
 A few photoshoots come to mind when you ask about situations that were the most challenging.  One most recent shoot was for a high-fashion shoot, we were shooting on a freeway overpass that had chain link fence covering it so nobody would jump and nobody could spray paint the signs. Well, the photographer decided we needed to be ON TOP of that chain link fence, over the freeway, during rush hour traffic. This sounded stupid. And I did it. (I DO NOT RECOMMEND ANYONE DOING STUPID SHIT LIKE THIS SO DON’T BE A DUMBASS. WE HAD SUPERVISION, AND ALL THAT SAFETY SHIT.)

4. Do you hold any regrets or favoritism towards certain shoots, or are you proud of them all?
I am proud to say I have NO regrets on any of my photoshoots! I tell girls all the time, do not allow any photographer or company make you feel like you need to do things that you don’t feel comfortable doing. It is okay to tell people NO. And be smart. I have had some crappy things said to me during some shoots in my early days, but those were just learning lessons. Like, who NOT to work with and who really is professional or not. In the end, I am proud of every single job I have worked. Each shoot is a creative experience and a lesson in business and this industry. Usually all of them are incredibly fun.

5. To date, what do you believe is your greatest achievement?
I feel my greatest achievement is when Dame Life interviewed me about bullying and eating disorders.  I used to be so afraid of opening up, especially to millions of humans I don’t know. Revecka Natalia (Founder of the Dame Life movement) interviewed me after I opened up to her one day on a photoshoot that I was picked on badly as a kid. I was the super nerd/band geek in a new school. Not to mention I was the tallest girl in school too. The bullying led me to have a control issue and I took it out on my food intake, and suffered a crazy battle with anorexia. I talked about all of that in depth and how I conquered it. 
When the interview went live, I was scared out of my mind. I was afraid of the internet trolls coming out and saying hateful words that they don’t know anything about. What kept me strong was the thought that if my words helped at least one person out there then I succeeded. What happened instead was a massive outpouring of friends and strangers sending e-mails thanking me. Even metal musicians reached out to me and shared their stories! I am now an advocate and ambassador for Dame Life, and it is so fulfilling knowing I can help people out there, whether I know them or not. That we can be strong together and not be a bunch of assholes in the world.

6. Working for 'Liquid Metal' on Sirius XM, metal must play a huge role in your life. What are a couple of your favorite genres and bands?
It is definitely a highlight in my life. I’m just a baby still with Liquid Metal and my boss man Jose Mangin and his wonderful wife Melissa have been such positive influences in my life. I learn so much from them and I am excited for 2014 as I will be working more with Liquid Metal on some projects I can’t yet disclose! Metal is a huge part of my being. Growing up, classical music was my thing. Once I discovered metal (thank you Cannibal Corpse!) it FIT and MADE SENSE, just like classical did and does.  My taste in metal constantly evolves and shifts, I listen to all sub-genres although what fills my vinyl and digital libraries is Death, Doom, Black and Melodic Metal.  I really enjoy artists who use a strong classical influence in their riffs. In my opinion, a closed mind to music is a closed mind to life. 

Now that's METAL!
 7. You must be exposed to a plethora of new music, what are a couple bands you enjoy that you believe deserve more critical acclaim?
I am extremely fortunate to receive a plethora, or aptly put “butt-load” of new metal daily. My e-mail inbox is continuously the happiest inbox ever, receiving excellent metal daily (new or old). Okay, there’s a bunch of crap too but I still give it a full listen.

Swallow The Sun and Fleshgod Apocalypse deserve more acclaim. I really feel Woods Of Ypres deserves more attention, unfortunately vocalist and founder David Gold passed away in 2011. I recommend everyone reading this to BUY (not illegally download you jerks) their “Woods IV: The Green Album” and listen to the music, you can feel every emotion with every chord. Beautiful.

I just need to jump in and agree that Woods of Ypres is a band that everyone must here. The atmosphere, the emotion, everything about Woods is brilliant and it's a damn shame David Gold is no longer with us. RIP.

8. Asides from the modeling and radio work, what else are you involved with?
I support a few charities/organizations such as Dame Life, Keep A Breast, The Bow Tie Cause and Sweethearts Salute. For hobbies I get outdoors as much as possible! I enjoy muay thai and learning anything and everything, an autodidact to the max.

9. You were one of the first tattooed models to walk for fashion week. What are the differences between the 'alternative' model side and the 'fashion' model side, is there a common ground?
THAT was awesome. I did not fit in whatsoever haha! I had tattoos and was not rail thin, but I walked for fashion week and I walked with the designer at the end of the show which in the fashion world is a sort of bragging rights. I felt proud of myself that night, and I had fun doing it.
The differences between “alternative” and “fashion” modeling industry is now slowly turning into a finer line. A few years ago there was no way the two would even look at each other. Now, with major publications like Vogue Italia, you see more tattooed female models gracing their pages. Tattooed men are much more common in fashion editorials, the women, not so much. But I have a feeling that won’t be for long.
People view alternative models as Suicide Girls, and fashion models as rail thin Zoolander types. I view both genres as one thing…. ART. We are all models and we are all here for the art of it! Fashion and Alternative are both in a way about making a statement and not giving a fuck. So why discriminate each other?

Let's talk about your ink, sleeve, forearm and thigh, am I missing any?
That about covers it! I have a couple ivy leaves behind my right ear, and a quarter behind my left year. You know the old magic trick of a quarter being found behind your ear? Yeah my grandfather used to do that, a perfect memoriam for him.
My right thigh is the goddess Durga. She is my most meaningful tattoo, for a long time I didn’t even want her photographed because the symbolism was so special to me.
My right sleeve is a perfectly put together hodge-podge of all things that make me smile. Each piece represents a happy moment from my life, all about my childhood and my amazing family. Nothing more, nothing less. Family is everything and when I look at my arm, they are always with me.

10. What was the first piece you got done and at what age?
My first tattoo was done by George Hernandez, then of Folsom City Ink. He is now at Sacred Tiger in Davis, California.  I wanted the inside of my forearms done, so after meeting with him and telling him what I wanted we made an appointment for a couple weeks afterward. I remember my sister taking me, she already had tattoos so she made sure I ate something beforehand and that I didn’t get nervous. George tattooed a zombie pirate girl on my left inner forearm, and a lively pirate girl on my right inner forearm. They still look like they were just done. I love them, they symbolize the beauty in life and death, and how to live and appreciate each moment you’re alive. Whether in the good times or the worst of times.

My sleeve is mostly done by Garry “Sawdust” Ellsworth of Sink Or Swim Tattoo in Grover Beach, California.
Also by George Hernandez of Sacred Tiger in Davis, California.

11. Could you describe the pieces and include any deeper meaning behind them?
Well I suppose I can get into my Durga piece. You may have gathered I’m one for learning and seeing the world and universe as clearly as possible. I love physics, philosophies and for fun metaphysics. I won’t get too deep here, your interview will be much too long! So I will summarize it all and say when I learned of Durga I felt a bit of an affinity with what she represents, she is a reminder for me, and a source of peace even strength. I still have some more work to be done on her, and my tattoo artist for her is Danny Derrick of San Luis Tattoo, in San Luis Obispo, California.

Durga the Goddess of Victory of Good over Evil
12. Are you happy with the ones that you have or do you have future plans for more?
I am extremely happy with my tattoos. George, Gary, and Danny are phenomenal artists and I’m so happy to have artwork by them forever with me.
I plan on finishing my thigh piece, and lately I’ve been considering getting the left side of my body done.  I have my whole life to get tattooed, I’ve never been in a rush to get large pieces done. I go when I’m truly inspired or when I go through major experiences in life. I like symmetry in a way, so when I get my left sleeve done it will have similar pieces on it as with my right sleeve, but in a much darker manner. And my left thigh will most likely be the goddess Kali, who is in part of Durga. But we will see, I have many ideas that toy with…

13. On the topic of future, what do you hope to accomplish in 2014, any secret projects?
2014 is already off to a bang! It’s only January and I just had a commercial air for the Grammys in part with E! and Volkswagen.  I did a photohoshoot with Harley Davidson and filmed a national commercial for Ford, where I had a speaking role. I’m very excited about that!

As for upcoming works, I have a few magazine covers coming out in 2014. I will be working on two secret projects as West Coast Correspondent for Sirius XM’s Liquid Metal.  I will be hosting a Spring Break Tour across USA for the entire month of March that will be aired on HBO and sponsored by Playboy Energy Drink… Details of that coming SOON!

14. This question will make the next one more difficult, but could you go into a little bit of detail on your work in astrophysics and astrobiology?
I am still in school obtaining my degree in Physics. It is a constant challenge, and a constant love affair. I am enjoying Theoretical Physics more than I thought I would, and working on personal projects during it all. Including random ideas I wrote down as a child which were crazy sounding back then but in actuality not too far off from possible fact now. Growing up I never knew what I wanted my degree in, I dabbled in college here and there after graduating high school early but nothing held my interest. Everything seemed so superficial to me in a weird way. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I realized Physics is where I wanted to be. I was working in an industry where I was able to be alongside Hitachi and NASA and I had a wonderful, life changing experience with them where I educated children on Electron Microscopes. Watching their faces light up and hold on to your every word was an indescribable experience. Shortly after that I was given a promotion and went on a business trip to be trained, while there I learned things and saw things that really changed my views on the world and I knew the only way I can make a difference is to pummel through a formal education and get that piece of paper saying I officially know stuff about Physics. It’s on. Beware world, science will have another fighter for the greater good on its hands.

15. "Never judge a book by its cover" a saying that everybody knows. Even though we delved into a little bit of everything here, what is something most people would never assume by looking at your 'cover'?
One (of the many things) I’ve learned is that no two people will think or feel the same way. At all. Our minds are our own, each a separate entity. I am a sensitive person believe it or not, with too much empathy and too much toughness that a person should have. So I have had to get used to the fact that I’m going to be judged no matter how I act or what I say. I hate that people assume that because I model I (fill in the blank) or that I have tattoos I (fill in the blank). Or my views/looks/etc (fill in the blank). My weird sense of humor gets lost in translation, I’m actually pretty damn bubbly, I’m shy and if I’m quiet it’s because I’m listening. My secret weapon is being both book and real world smart. I DESPISE RACISM, PREJUDICES AND IGNORANCE. But fuck it all, I’m only myself and if I pretend to be someone else or not be a business woman when working then I will be a phony. The world needs less phonies. Less assholes. And less nincompoops.

I don't think wiser words have ever been said.

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