Tell us a little bit about yourself (50 words or less).
I’m Riley! I’m 24 years old. Virginia-bred but currently living in sunny Florida with my husband and pug! I believe in kindness, remaining open minded, and living fully and truly if we want to be happy.
List three words you would use to describe yourself.
Benevolent. Fearless. Eager. (But to be candid I had to ask my peers, I’m not great a describing myself!)
What’s your strongest memory of your childhood?
My strongest childhood memory would be my siblings and I climbing all over my Dad [like a mountain] really early every weekend morning to wake up and make us pancakes.
If you could have dinner with three people, dead or alive, who would they be and why?
Shakespeare, Einstein, and my Dad. …ideally to have an artistic, a logical, and an altruistic mind all at the same dinner table.
How did you get into modeling?
Well, pre-piercing, I was an actor who always had an obsession with body modification… Unfortunately, not enough of the world is open to modified actors just yet. Along the way I sort of fell into modeling. Ultimately, my soul yearns for art any way possible and I love the ability to play different roles. I believe art isn’t always about what you see, but what you can make other people see, and what you can make them feel.
Since then, I’ve rolled around in swamps, shot underwater, been covered in dozens of live snakes, and even been set on fire. Modeling is how I connect and disconnect with what I see, and don’t see, in the world – its storytelling in a single moment. Art allows us to find and loose ourselves simultaneously.
How did you become a piercer?
Fate. I’ve loved piercings from a very young age and was influenced by a great friend whose so a very talented piercer. As I got older, I stumbled across an opportunity to apprentice and was supportively urged by my husband to jump aboard. I also can’t forget the energy from my official piercing mentor, whom I will be forever grateful for. (This is undoubtedly a male driven industry and he was definitely taking a gamble by taking me on, pushing me, and sharing his knowledge. I strive to show him that it was never in vain.)
What’s the best thing about your job as a piercer?
My favorite part is the clientele, no doubt. I have clients who suffer from extreme physical or mental disabilities who use body piercing as a means to regain control over their body and life for love of an outcome. I also have clients who use it to increase their self-esteem – nipple piercings for example: No one needs to know they’re there but can instantly make an insecure woman feel more confident, sexy, and intriguing. I’ve pierced pastors, doctors, teachers of school children and 80 year old men who are finally attacking their bucket list. It’s an amazing feeling to help someone make that difference, especially in a world where we’re forced to conform. Sometimes all we need is a little sparkle to make the world of difference in someone’s daily life. And yes, I also like stabbing people 😉
How many piercings do you have?
Oh geez, I don’t know, I’ve retired a few over the years and gotten different ones. I guess my tally is somewhere around 25 right now. But I’m a firm believer in strategic placement to prevent from resembling Iron Man.
What is your favorite piercing to do? Are there any piercings you won’t do?
Well I love doing dermals. And orbitals. And anything unique, really. Custom ear projects are always a blast. I love all piercings and am thankful every day to do what I love. I won’t do, “snake eyes” which is a horizontal tip of the tongue piercing. There’s just too much long-term risk involved with ruining nerve endings, taste buds, tongue tearing, teeth smashing,..the list goes on. I really don’t like piercing anything with that high of risk. I care about the longevity of body adornment too much. (And of course no implants or sexual related piercings on minors, etc. etc.)
Can you tell us any funny/weird piercing stories?
Oohhh where do I begin? There’s the older woman who has almost 10 vaginal piercings with plans for more … Or there’s the gentleman who mistook a frenulum piercing with a frenum piercing… (PLEASE DO YOUR RESEARCH BEFORE ASKING FOR A PIERCING, FOLKS)…Or there’s the younger crowd of girls who won’t stop touching their new piercing with dirty hands as they ask why it won’t heal (after I explicitly explain during aftercare NOT to touch it)…but I also enjoy when teenyboppers try to brag about piercing themselves at home with safety pins (have fun with hepatitis)! The list goes on. Piercing has given me stories for days that you can’t just make up!
Are there any specific piercings that aren’t currently popular but you think are about to become more mainstream?
Well, the septum piercing has made a huge comeback recently with its ability to conceal it. Dermals are also definitely becoming more mainstream!
What advice would you give to somebody who wants a piercing but is afraid of the pain?
It’s all about the journey and love of an outcome. Pain is all so relative but I always tell people, “if it’s something you truly want, your brain will take care of you.” Piercings are such a fast process I think that’s what partially what makes it more accessible to those with a lower pain tolerance. You just have to want it. (not to mention the fear of pain we have in our heads is always worse than the actual!)
How many tattoos do you have? Which is your favorite?
How many? Um… Well I have just under 100 hours but have plans on filling my body! I don’t have a single favorite, I love them all for different reasons. I have a splatter paint sleeve of a naked woman with no head and no arms and falling autumn leaves below her all in negative space that I’ll always be obsessed with. I also have my Dad’s portrait on me and I love seeing him always with me.. I also have a lovely daisy in my armpit that might be my favorite to show off!