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dariadushechkina1When I meet someone new or just look at the people in the street, I often ask myself if they have tattoos, and I usually guess the right answer in 80% of cases. But there are always those remaining 20% when nothing gives you a clue. Our guest today is one of such a person. When you look at the luxurious photos of this woman, it is hard to believe that she has almost her whole back covered with tattoos which are devoted to her biggest love - the mountains. This love has changed the life of TV presenter and journalist Daria Dushechkina, and this story is yet another proof that we also get tattoos to remember things. But let me tell it to you from the very beginning…

Reflections of Darkness [RoD]: When did you get your first tattoo and what was it? How long did it take you to decide to get it?
Daria: I think I was 25... I saw a picture on the internet (I tried to find it again later, but I couldn’t) and I added to it. It was a fairly large graphics of a cross that consisted of different coloured cubes, as if in a screensaver. Many people mistakenly assume that the cross symbolizes my faith in God. But they are wrong. The cross is depicted falling, just like any religion that divides people of different cultures and races should fall.

RoD: How many tattoos do you have? Can you tell us how you got them?
Daria: There’s a cross. Then I got the origami cranes. According to Japanese philosophy, two cranes signify love and creation. That’s the kind of love that conquers death, the kind of love that creates life. And the last tattoo that I got is the coordinates of the highest points of several continents - those are the mountains that I have climbed.

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RoD: Did you already get all the tattoos that you wanted, or do you plan to get some new ones in the future?
Daria: I plan to add the coordinates of several more summits. I do not know if I will go to the highest points of the remaining continents - they have not tempted me yet. But I know that I will definitely add the name and the coordinates of the first seven-thousander and the first eight-thousander that I will summit.

RoD: Did you get all your tattoos done by the same tattoo artist or by different ones? How do you choose a tattoo artist? And finally, who draws your sketches?
Daria: I draw my sketches by myself. And of course, all my tattoos have been done by different people. Everybody has a different technique and their own style. You pick one artist if you are looking for graphics and another one if you want a realistic picture. I choose an artist based on the task.

RoD: Getting tattooed hurts. How do you cope with the pain during the sessions?
Daria: It hurts terribly. I try to fall asleep. If I cannot fall asleep I play some really dumb game on my phone. I would download it ahead of time and then I’m ready to endure the pain. :))))))))

RoD: Have you ever had any regrets about getting tattooed?
Daria: No. First, I come up with the ideas for all my tattoos and then I think it over for half a year. If I don’t change my mind until then, I schedule an appointment to get it done. Good artists usually have wait lists, and you would have to wait for a couple of months - this adds extra time for reflection. In this case, I am against spontaneous decisions.

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RoD: Do you think there are any taboos when it comes to tattoos? What image would you never get yourself and what don’t you like seeing on other people?
Daria: I don’t care what the others have on their bodies. If it’s tasteful, if it has a meaning and if it is not just a set of random pictures, then I like it. But that’s not always true: It makes me sick when I see a butterfly on someone’s butt or a lonely meaningless hieroglyph.

RoD: Some people say that the drive to acquire new body art is addictive while others say that it fails to meet the true definition of addiction, simply calling it passion. Is it really impossible to stop?
Daria: It’s hard to answer this question. But it is not impossible for me. I don’t look for excuses get something else inked. If there is a thing or an event that I want to perpetuate, I think about doing it with a tattoo. But I admit that many people get tattoos exclusively for aesthetic reasons. I am also OK with that.

RoD: Tattoos have become a fashion trend; many people do not care about the meaning behind them, they just want to have something colourful on their skin, to be trendy. Those people often just go to a tattoo salon and ask them to show which drafts they have. Tattoo artists are not artists any more, they are kind of like production line workers now. Not all of them, of course. How do you feel about this?
Daria: I generally do not like thoughtless people or rushed decisions. I believe that in such cases a good tattoo artist should give the person some time to think it over. After all, when a person wants, let’s say, to file for divorce, they are given time to think it through, because this decision will change their life in one way or another. It's the same in this case.

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RoD: I would also like to talk about the social aspect of tattoos. Back in the day, many people believed that if you had a tattoo, you would never be successful and would not find a “good” job. Has this mind-set and people’s perception changed or do these prejudices still exist?
Daria: Everything has changed in the past five years. Even my grandmother, who grew up in a provincial town in Soviet era, likes what she calls “my pictures”. She says that there is harmony between them and me. But of course, some people in remote villages still live as if we are in the Stone Age and often point their fingers at me when I go to the beach. As far as jobs are concerned, I can only say that finding a good job is not a problem as long as you don’t have any tattoos on you face. And if it is a problem, then you need to start a business of your own!

RoD: What advice would you give to the people who are going to get their first tattoo? How should they choose a tattoo artist? Should they get it done in colour or in black and white? Can you give any practical advice?
Daria: My first advice would be: “THINK IT THROUGH!” If you wanted something and firmly decided: “That’s IT”, then you should do it. Just wait a little, think it over. I am sure that if you still want that tattoo after 6 months of waiting, neither you, nor your loved ones will have any reasons to doubt your decision. And the second rule is “MAKE SURE EVERYTHING IS STERILE”! This rule is probably even more important than the first one! Anything can be corrected and modified later except for infection, such as HIV for example. Therefore, the first time you come to a tattoo studio, pay attention to how the tattoo artist works, whether he can show you a copy of a health inspection report before you start, see whether all the tools have been sterilized, whether he uses gloves. Everything should be like in a clinic: clean, neat and sterile.

Project by Daria Tessa and Daniela Vorndran, Interview by Daria Tessa & Perverted-Puppet
Photos: Picture 1: Olga Sosura, Picture 4, 5: Dmitry Gavrisch

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