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The streets of Los Angeles are littered with the shattered dreams of people who left their small towns with hopes of becoming a star. Yes, we are fully aware this is a cliché, but lurking behind every cliché is a nugget of truth. Coco Blake took the cliché as a cautionary tale and made sure she was fully prepared for success before making her own pilgrimage from North Carolina to the City of Angels.

Instead of putting all of her eggs into a single basket, Blake learned how to do a ton of different things. Blake is an influencer. She’s a model. She runs a clothing brand called Hug Your Homie. She’s a social media maven. And in the increasingly unlikely event that none of those endeavors work out, she even made sure to get a real estate license to fall back on.

“As a female living in LA, I’ve realized a lot of things are male-dominated,” Blake says, “so if you’re a woman and you can do everything on your own, I think you should. Knowledge is power. The more you know the more you can help other people and set them up for success, and the more sources of income you have the easier you can take care of the people you love.”

Photos by Delaney Paige Cruse

Photos by Delaney Paige Cruse

Blake has become known for many things, but it’s undeniable that her close-cropped colorful hair has become her signature. When you’re trying to make it in LA as a model, shaving your head is a pretty drastic step to take, particularly when your tattoo collection already makes you stand out from the crowd. The moment she grabbed the clippers, Blake went from being just another small-town girl trying to make it to a more fashionable and prettier version of Dennis Rodman, albeit without the rebounding skills or problematic friendship with a certain North Korean dictator.

The decision was made in a moment of doubt, as Blake was questioning what exactly she was doing so far from home and whether or not success was even achievable. As she started posting pictures with her new look, everything started coming together and her career took flight. The influx of new followers and attention gave her a rush of adrenaline, inspiring her to dye different designs into her hair on a weekly basis.

“There are a lot of men who do this, but not a lot of females,” Blake says. “I saw this niche that needed to be covered because there’s a lot of girls who want to do things like this but are too scared. I started doing all these designs and kind of opening up this gateway to inspire other people.”

Photos by Delaney Paige Cruse

Photos by Delaney Paige Cruse

Growing up, Blake had always felt different. She didn’t have a ton of friends and she struggled to fit in. It was when she shrugged off the shackles of small town life that she finally found the freedom to become her best self. “I used to really struggle with it because I wanted to fit in so badly all the time,” Blake says. “I never felt skinny enough or pretty enough. Once I gained a platform I wanted to create a place that was safe enough for other people to know it’s OK to struggle.”

From the time she got her first tattoo as a 15-year-old at a super sketchy shop in North Carolina, tattoos became an obsession for the impulsive Blake. Whenever she has an idea pop into her head, she goes out and gets it inked. “I don’t drink, I don’t do any drugs, I don’t go to parties,” Blake says, “so I fill my time with tattoos. That’s my free time.”

Photos by Delaney Paige Cruse

Photos by Delaney Paige Cruse

Her tattoo collection stands in very stark contrast to her technicolor hair—all of her tattoos are in black ink. Ever since the first one she’s felt drawn to black ink tattoos. At first it may have been an aesthetic choice, but as her collection has grown and she’s put some real thought into it, Blake has a far more clever reason behind her artistic choices.

“I want my kids to be able to color in my tattoos when they get older,” Blake explains. “It was just one of those things where one day I was sitting and I saw a little girl with dad, coloring. I thought, why would you want a book when I could just travel with my kids and have them color my tattoos, however they want. If I like it, I could literally get it tattooed, and that would make it an even more meaningful thing.

“People ask me all the time what I’m going to do when I run out of space, the only thing I’ll ever add when I run out is things to do with family,” she continues. “I’ll have my husband color one, my mom color one, my kids color one, and it will add a whole new meaning to my tattoos.”

With a solid (and colorful) head on her shoulders, Blake is fully prepared to handle all of the challenges sure to come her way. And when you see that her tattoo collection has added flashes of vibrant color as well, you’ll know that she has fully realized her dreams in LA. So, keep an eye peeled, it’ll happen sooner than you expect. 

Photos by Delaney Paige Cruse

Photos by Delaney Paige Cruse