For many, tattoos are the ultimate form of self-expression and for one Hamilton mom, this could not be any more true.
Rebecca Lanigan has covered her body in art, some of which she’s even tattooed on herself. While the pieces are an expression of her loves and desires, they serve an even greater purpose of preserving her memories.
“I’ve filled my body with things that I love or once loved,” the 27-year-old told In The Hammer.
“I got many of them as tributes and I want to, one day, be able to look at them and remember I loved those things.”
Dementia, Alzheimer’s in particular, runs in Lanigan’s family. Her grandmother was stricken with it and so too her father.
Her tattoos, she said, are one way she feels she can ensure she has access to these important pieces of her memory should she too fall victim to this unforgiving disease.
“I never want to forget the things that are so memorable to me,” she said. “This way, I’ll always have a reminder.”
As the tattoos serve as a way to preserve pieces of Lanigan’s past, they are also an opportunity to pave the way to a bright future.
Lanigan, a born-and-raised Hamiltonian, is currently in the running to become the next Inked Magazine Cover Girl.
Winning the coveted cover shot comes with a $25,000 prize, a place on the cover of an internationally popular magazine as well as the opportunity to continue working with the publication as an alternative tattoo model.
“This is always something that I’ve wanted to do,” Lanigan said. “Right now, I just feel like I’m ready to open myself up and be creative and free.”
These past couple of years have proven challenging for Lanigan and her family. After enduring a ‘very difficult’ pregnancy, her now-three-year-old son was born prematurely and spent the first few weeks of his life in the NICU.
Her son is very healthy and happy now but her fiance had a significant health scare last year and has only recently been able to get back into the full swing of their busy lives with a toddler.
COVID-19 has also led to the loss of her job in the past year which has also taken a toll on the young family.
“It’s been really hard, but this [the contest] has been really empowering,” she said.
The process of photographing herself — styling herself, makeup, backdrops, props etc — has unleashed a creative energy Lanigan says she felt she had lost.
“This has helped me grow as an artist,” she said, noting that in the past, much of her creative talents went into painting Simpsons scenes.
“It’s reignited my passion and has given me the chance to create something that I feel I’d given up on in the past.”
At the very least, the process of applying for the Inked Cover Girl contest and pushing herself to new limits on social media to promote her candidacy and elicit votes has given her a new goal and renewed her hope for a career in modelling and the arts.
“I see this as a chance to push myself through my own walls,” she said. “A chance at a career that I’ve always dreamed of.”
So far, approximately four weeks into the contest, Lanigan is close to making that dream a reality.
She’s currently in the Top 10 round and eying the Top 5 round in the coming days. She just needs a little boost to get her over the finish line.
“I am incredibly thankful for the support I’ve gotten from Hamilton,” Lanigan said, adding that she’s hoping for just a little bit more to get her into the next round.
This round of voting closes Thursday (Feb. 11).