I had the pleasure of interviewing Heather Maranda from AMC’s Epic Ink while she was in town for Wizard World Comic Con. Not only did I get to snag a great interview, but I also snagged an amazing tattoo from her as well!
Many of you may know Heather best from Epic Ink, where she and several other artists specialize in the nerdy and geeky wonderment of the tattoo world.
Heather quickly jumped aboard the cast after she was approached by Chris 51 – an easy decision considering that many of the cast members were friends that she already had in the tattoo industry. But Heather soon formed some reservations about joining the cast after fully realizing that she would be on T.V. for the world to see.
Heather doesn’t care about what others think about her, but being a bigger girl she had to acknowledge she would be dealing with a lot of trolls out there. As such, it did take some time for her to decide that it would be worth it.
Heather classifies herself as a “nerd” more so than a “geek.” She isnt like the pop-culture nerds on the show, shes nerdy in the classical sense.
Heather always did really well in school and was in programs for the academically gifted. Although she is a nerd, she definitely is still into geeky things and fandoms, just not as hardcore as her fellow tattoo artists.
Anyone who has seen Epic Ink knows that Heather marches to the beat of her own drum not only in attitude, but in her outward appearance. She is often seen with incredibly bright, colorful hair in a crazy style with crazier clothes to match.
Heather compares her style to the flower in E.T.: when her hair fades and starts to grow out she feels just like that flower when it started to wilt and die. Her style is reflected in her dress and attitude (as I learned during my time spent with her). She radiates a certain brightness from within and this often shines through, especially with her language.
Heather is a huge fan of Star Wars and has been her whole life. She also enjoys everything from Studio Ghibli to Miyazaki. Heather finds the whole 80’s and 90’s era of anime incredibly appealing due to its art and stories, and since she grew up with that style it will always hold a place in her heart.
Heather has always been into video games and makes time whenever she can to hop on her Playstation or Xbox (as she is an equal opportunity gamer in consoles) to play Skyrim or Minecraft. She admits to not being very great at first-person shooters, but does love Borderlands.
Heather is a proud mommy who has created little nerds as well, and she finds that most people she meets that consider themselves geeky or nerdy are just passionate about something and will show that passion in a beautiful way.
Heather’s tattoo career has spanned 8 years and is still going strong.
She enjoys tattooing geeky things because it is easier for an artist to really put their all into something that they are interested in. There is a certain level of enthusiasm that goes into the tattoo on top of the professionalism that she puts forth with every tattoo that she does.
While Heather has always been interested in tattooing, her life got in the way of actually tattooing when she was younger as she needed to help support her family with a 9-5 job.
After a falling out with her then boss and ex-stepfather, she decided she had waited long enough and began teaching herself how to tattoo, practicing on her friends.
Looking back now, of course, there are indeed some tattoos that she did early on on her friends that she needs to go back and fix or cover up!
Heather has dealt bullying throughout her life and has developed a super thick skin because of it. Growing up she was teased a lot about various things and she quickly learned how to just let it roll off her back in order to not have her feelings hurt.
Heather recognizes that a lot of people may have low self-esteem because of bullying but wants them to know that it’s important to realize that you are worth something and that you shouldn’t let some joker that has no real impact on your life make you feel any less than awesome. She believes that if more people just laughed and had a good time more often then there wouldn’t be any room for negativity.
Being a nerd makes her happy and that’s why she is so passionate about nerdy things. She consides the so-called jock who knows all the baseball stats as just a big of a nerd as a “poindexter”; they’re both passionate about things – just different things.
For those who are currently struggling with being a girl whose into geeky things or tattoos or anything that is not the “social norm”, Heather feels it is important to know that wisdom comes with experience.
All of the kids in your school, middle-school, high school, etc. that you feel you need to impress by fitting in really mean nothing in the grand scheme of things. Heather has people in her high school yearbook that are highlighted as to whether she liked them or not, and if they were mean to her she can’t even remember why.
It took her a long time to realize those people were not important in her life and hopes that everyone can come to the same realization. She made sure to share this knowledge this with her own girls so that they know how important it is to be a good person and avoid worrying about anyone that is negative. The important people in your life are going to be those that help lift you up and not the ones who work to tear you down.
To book an appointment with Heather you can contact her here. Be sure to check out her amazing work below!
If you are a tattoo artist who would like to be featured on GGW or if you just have an incredible tattoo that you’d like to show off, please email firstname.lastname@example.org!