Lil Bub's Photo Gallery Follows the Text
Lil Bubwas in town so we invited her into our office, which made the girls who work at INKED squeal like One Direction fans. Most people know the cool cat but did you know that her dude Mike Bridavsky is covered in tattoos and is almost, almost as rad as Bub? Following please enjoy our Inked Girls shoot with Bub and our chat with Brivavsky.
INKED: When did you first start getting tattooed?
Brivavsky: It’s a funny story. I took my graduation party money—I didn’t know that my parents had counted it—and I just took it and went and got a tattoo. My parents sat me down and they’re like, “We need to have a discussion, we know you are doing drugs.”
“What are you talking about?”
“There’s $350 missing from your graduation money.”
So then I had to show them my tattoo. I got tattooed from 18 years-old until 20 and then I didn’t get tattooed again at all until I was 28. I got a classic ‘90s armband. Most of my tattoos are Hobbit or Lord of the Rings tattoos. That was before it was cool, like ‘98.
Does that give you more cred or less?
I want more cred so I’m going to say more. I need as much cred as I can get right now.
What made you, at the ripe age of 28, to start filling your arms up?
That was before I knew Colin McClain who does most of my work on my arms, he’s awesome! And I’ve never really been that happy with my tattoos.
Beforehand you weren’t happy with your ink?
I was like, “Whoa this guy is really good.” Then we became friends and then he proposed, at a recording studio, “Hey man I want to do this album with my rap group. I’ll just trade you studio time for tattoo work,” so this whole arm was free, well traded. I definitely got the better end of the deal. The first one I got was this tree it’s from the back of a graphic novel of Hobbit. I just got the tree and I hated it. I had a nightmare that my mom found out about it and I cut my arm off. My arms were totally bare with just this tree growing out of my wrist, which actually was pretty cool, but it’s old. Since then I’ve been going. I already did that I might as well keep going. I think that was happening about two years fully. So the next thing I knew I was like Oh fuck.
Your work doesn’t look indicative of McClain’s Traditional American style?
This isn’t Colin’s typical style because I had him do this drawing. It’s like pastelly and I wanted that to be sort of faded looking. This is another cool story I was like I want to get some kind of a bear and this symbol here is called a Fuck Fright symbol. It’s this band I was asked to join. Once you play in the band you’re supposed to get a tattoo so I was like, “I’m gonna get my Fuck Fright tattoo.” I wanted it to be a bear because my Russain name Meesha means bear. I told Colin about that and he’s like, “Ok I’ll think about it.”
I didn’t know what he was going to draw and I had a dream again, but this time I had a dream about an armored bear. I was excited and I thought an armored bear would be awesome and you could put the symbol on the armor. I went to him in the morning and I’m like, “Colin, dude I have the best idea.” He’s like, “Ok, but first look at what I drew you.” And it was this armored bear already!
That’s awesome. You should nap more.
I should just sleep all the time and I’d wake up covered in awesome tattoos.
You’ve got the Lil Bub tattoo there on your arm.
Some people won't notice it, then they’ll see it and be like Oh my god!
Did you get the Bub tattoos before she became a star?
This one [on his arm] yes. The big crazy one was before she became a star. I have all my other cats too: Cooper, Oscar, Vivienne, and Josie. Also on that arm is my studio’s logo, an organ for my mom, and a pipe for my dad. It’s like a family tree. I had my other cats and then I got Bub, so Bub is famous and everyone knows how amazing she is. But when I first got her and she wasn’t famous I was like this is the most incredible animal that’s ever existed.
And you have the Lil Bub sidepiece.
The first one Colin drew me was really cool, but he forgot that I was Jewish. It was of St. Bub. She had a halo and her hand was on the Bible and it was really cool. She looked really stoic and it was pretty cool, but I was like, Man, I can’t. So then he’s like, “What do you want?” “Bub holding Gandolph’s sword, a lantern, and an armored ant as her sidekick.” I didn’t even realize it until now: I have two armored animals on me. I think I’m going to get more. I’m going to get an armored giraffe.
How did you acquire Bub?
My friend’s boyfriend’s mom found her in the whole litter of kittens and so she got them when they were probably a week or two old.
Like ant-sized Bub.
Yeah, she took care of Bub and bottle-fed her. Bub wouldn’t have made it if she didn’t. They actually couldn’t find her a home because she was so creepy looking. As a baby she was half creepy, half cute. When I first brought her back it was awesome just because she was so weird, but I just pictured her smelling like a fart. Like a fart personified. [Then talking to Bub] But now you’re just a beautiful woman.
When did you start the videos?
The first video was called “Good Job Bub,” it was one of those things where people told me, Dude they’re celebrity cats. It’s like, really? And as a joke my friends thought, Hey wouldn’t it be funny if your super weird cat was famous? So I posted photos online and took a video that was so cute and put it on YouTube. People think she got famous from YouTube, but that’s not true. The YouTube videos began getting a lot of views after she became famous for her photos and then I think Yahoo! posted it to their YouTube channel.
A Yahoo newsperson found her?
The chain of events was: one of her photos got on Tumblr, and then one of the photos on Tumblr got on the front page of Reddit. That’s when my buddy who made a T-shirt of her for fun. So that’s actually how we picked up steam. We did that and people just started preordering shirts all over the country.
Then we noticed that Buzzfeed ordered a shirt and Vice magazine ordered a shirt. They were actually fans that worked there! Then Buzzfeed did an article that went viral and the next day Good Morning America, and everyone was calling non-stop. I think Good Morning America posted a video, Yahoo posted a video, and Huffington Post posted a thing. What people don’t realize is that was four months before Grumpy Cat. It’s funny you read all the press now and Bubs gradually keeps getting more famous into this huge crazy viral thing.
What was it like when she met Grumpy Cat?
It was Ok. She doesn’t like other cats.
How about the four in your home then?
Well my other four cats live in my studio.
Are any of those cats worthy of fame?
Yeah, they’re just not trying. Well, Oscar ran away, he’s been gone for four months, and I don’t think he’s coming back. He’s a Van Coon and very friendly, so someone picked him up.. I feel like he definitely is jealous because last time he ran away I got him back, but in 36-hours he appeared in a rap video, and was found four miles away.
What rap video was he in?
I don’t know. He was missing and then the next day my friend Josh was like, “Dude, Oscar appeared in this rap video that my friends made.” Apparently because he’s so friendly he just gets into stuff. Kids were doing a rap video around town and he just walked up.
Wouldn’t it be cool if instead of having Pitbulls and Dobermans if rappers had cats?
Kittens, just a bunch of kittens in a hard rap video.
Does Bub like the attention?
She likes attention from some people, not just anyone. There’s people that she vibes with. There are very few people that she dislikes. I can tell when she’s like, “Stop touching me.” People often times go straight for her face. They don’t understand that you don’t want someone coming up to you and just poking you in the face.
Do people rush you saying “Let me touch her, let her hold her?”
I just tell people they can’t hold her. There was a guy when we were just getting out of the car and he said, “Is that Grumpy Cat?” I was like, “No this it’s Lil Bub.” And he asks, “What’s the difference?” I said, “They’re two different cats.” Then when he was like, “Is it something?” I answered, “It’s a cat.”
Maybe you should create some East Coast/West Coast beef with Grumpy Cat.
Well, that’s her thing. She doesn’t start beef with anyone. She fixes all the beef. She eats the beef.