She’s a young, fiery, sexy hybrid of Joan Jett and Juliette Lewis who says that she wants to model her career “after Janis Joplin, except without the drug addiction and dying when she is 27.” She’s Juliet Simms, the commanding frontwoman of the band Automatic Loveletter.
Simms has been busy touring with the band’s new album, Truth or Dare, getting ink, and playing music while others get tattooed. “All my tattoos are completely original,” says Simms of her 17 pieces. “They are well thought-out and something I design and work out with the artist.” When you have that many tattoos, your preferred pick often shifts. “I guess my favorite right now would be the black panther on my back,” says Simms. “The meaning behind it is that it’s clawing its way up my back—I got it at a point of my life where I was clawing my way to the top, basically.” Lyrics by The Beatles and Billy Joel as well as some of her own can also be found on parts of her body. Simms has found another way to combine her passion for music with her love for great body art. She and her bandmate-brother, Tommy Simms, recently formed a partnership with Tampa Bay Ink for bands to play in the shop while people get tattooed. The idea is that live music can be part of the tattooing experience and can distract and soothe the senses while the needle is penetrating the skin. “We’re starting this whole Ink Unplugged project where we get musicians to come to the shop and put on acoustic performances,” says Simms.
Getting back to her own ink, the songstress doesn’t exactly rule out a possible 18th—in fact, when asked if she had a slight addiction she responded: “Yes, definitely, but I am in control. I don’t want to be that girl who is completely covered up. I think I am good for now. I’m not saying I won’t get another—but I’m definitely taking a long minute before I go into my 18th tattoo.” She may not want to fully cover her skin head to toe, but she does want to display what she has. “I actually cut up shirts in certain ways to show off my tattoos, especially my back tattoo,” Simms says. “I do like showing them off. I like to be trendy and give little flashes of them. Even if you can’t see the whole thing, you’ll see enough so you know they’re there.”