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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Conn chapter.

I love tattoos, and though I only have two, I love any kind of tattoo discourse, learning about different styles, and hearing the back story for people’s ink. Truthfully, I didn’t think I’d ever get any until around the time I turned 18; I’m scared of needles, as well as commitment. Nonetheless, here is the story of my tattoos and how I prepared for them.

My First Tattoo

I was incredibly meticulous when deciding who would do my first tattoo, as everyone plotting for their first appointment should be. In May 2023, I decided to go to a studio called Rebel & Rose in Westport, CT. This studio, which is entirely women-owned and run, was such a comfortable space and was the perfect studio for my first tattoo. The artist I worked with, Jen, was knowledgeable, patient, talented, and made sure I was 100% confident with every decision made. I truly would (and have) recommend this studio and tattoo artist Jen Territo to anyone in Connecticut’s Fairfield County area. My first tattoo was a 14-inch fine-line drawing done by my mother, spanning from my shoulder to the bottom of my back. My mother and I collaborated to come up with the design and went through plenty of rough drafts to get to the perfect drawing. I adored the end product, and finding a good studio where I was comfortable being communicative with the artist made my vision come entirely to life.

Jen not only physically tattooed the drawing onto my body, but she also cared about making sure I was comfortable and what the tattoo meant to me. She was incredibly understanding as my nervousness set in, and when it came time to start tattoo, she expressed curiosity about why I wanted a tattoo drawn by my mother. Laying on my stomach with my face smushed into the chair, I told her everything: my mom, who was a single mom for many years of my life, is my biggest role model. Her strength and the love I feel for her are things I want with me all the time. Having a tattoo that meant so much to me made the permanence of it much less scary.

A photo of me where my back tattoo is visible. I would love to use for my article about my experience with getting tattoos!
Photo by Melissa Ascher

My matching tattoo

If you could not already tell, I really appreciate sentimental tattoos. Because of this, I obviously had to get a matching tattoo with my twin sister, Jade. She goes to college in Baltimore, Maryland, meaning we spend the majority of the year seven hours away from one another. Any other twins out there understand that the relationship between twins is incredibly special. Jade has always felt more than just my sister, she’s my best friend and truly my other half. So, I was thrilled when we finally made our appointments for matching tattoos in August 2023, after a year of planning for it. We decided to get our last name in its native language, Hebrew, tattooed on our arms. Because the tattoo was so simple, just three small Hebrew characters, we felt less pressure to find the “perfect” artist, rather, we looked for a reputable, trustworthy studio in our area.

Despite the fact that this was not my first tattoo, I was so nervous, much more than my sister was. Jade offered to go first; she was always braver than me. I watched her face twinge with pain in that chair. I could tell how much it hurt her, but she still lied and said “It’s not that bad” through gritted teeth. She later told me that she only said that so I wouldn’t be scared for my turn, which I appreciated because it did really, really hurt. Nonetheless, we were in and out of the studio in 30 minutes. We left with new matching tattoos on our arms, telling the world of our relationship as twin sisters, whether we are together or apart.

A photo taken by me for my article about tattoos.
Photo by Melissa Ascher

My Best Advice for a first appointment

My first, most simple advice is to be smart. There is no room for being reckless when it comes to permanent ink on your body. I found it helpful to start with tattoos that had a lot of meaning because I knew I could never outgrow my love for either my mother or my sister, even if a day came when I outgrew the tattoo. Another important piece of advice is to advocate for yourself as much as you need to, with no exceptions. You are paying the tattoo artist, and you are in control of what is put on your body forever. Please do not let any tattoo artist sway you away from what you really want, I promise you will not offend them. In fact, they want to give you a tattoo that you will love! Find an artist at a trustworthy studio who is willing to work patiently with you to meet all of your tattoo wants!

This might seem counterintuitive, but I went into my first appointment prepared for the absolute worst in terms of the pain… and it actually helped me. Though I was extra nervous, it ended up providing me with an “Oh, that’s not that bad” attitude when the artist actually started. More traditional advice, of course, includes eating a big meal before an appointment, coming prepared with hydration and sugar to the appointment, and listening closely to the aftercare instructions provided by the artist. Something else that helped me was dressing comfortably in clothing that provided accessibility to the artist and bringing my AirPods with me for any distraction I might have needed.


I am so grateful for my two beautiful tattoos and the wonderful meanings behind both of them. Tattoos are a big deal! They’re a huge commitment and are so, so important to plan for. I would not have done anything differently when planning for mine, and I hope my story is helpful for anyone planning for their first tattoo!

Melissa Ascher is a third year Dietetics student from Ridgefield, CT. While most of her academic career consists of STEM classes, she is a passionate writer who was thrilled to join Her Campus during the Spring 2024 semester. She is a lover of the outdoors, a foodie, and can usually be found at the library studying for her next exam, hanging out with friends, or relaxing and listening to music. While Melissa adores writing nutrition-oriented articles, she equally enjoys writing about an array of different topics like pop culture, music, and health/wellness. She hopes her background and expanding knowledge in dietetics can help women develop a more positive relationship with food through her articles!