Shy Snider grew up immersed in the heavy metal lifestyle, taking after her dad Dee Snider of "Twisted Sister." At a young age, she developed a love for "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" and spent her days dreaming of rocking the platform boots displayed at St. Mark's legendary Trash and Vaudeville. Today, she's and up-and-coming up-cycle fashion designer living in Los Angeles with one hell of a tattoo collection. We caught up with Shy to learn about her unusual upbringing, the impact of being on a reality TV show as a young teen and her tattoo plans for the future.
Take us through your upbringing and how it may have been different from other kids your age.
I get asked this question a lot and it’s always hard for me to answer, because my upbringing is the only thing I’ve ever known. But as I get older, the more I realize how obscure my upbringing was. Growing up with two rocker parents definitely bred a different kind of human. First of all, I never watched Disney movies, by age five “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” were my favorite movies. While most of my friends were singing “Pocahontas” songs, I was singing “The Time Warp.” I was raised on Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie, those were my favorite musicians in elementary school.
By the time I was ten my dad had shown me this documentary “Modify,” which normalized body mods for me at a young age and I decided when I was 11 that I wanted to be totally pierced and tattooed. When I was in the 6th grade my mom brought me to get my cartilage pierced and I was so scared she got her cartilage pierced too, just so I wouldn’t be scared.
I remember being in my elementary school classroom cleaning my freshly pierced ears wearing Tripp pants and UK Underground creepers. My parents used to take me to Trash and Vaudeville in NYC when I was a kid and I used to stare at the Demonia stacks, dreaming of the day my foot would be big enough to fit.
All through middle school and high school my parents' rule was if I was honor roll every year and had good attendance, I was allowed to go to as many shows as I wanted to and get a piercing.
And that doesn’t even really touch on growing up filming a bunch of reality shows and touring huge European rock festivals with my dad every summer. I definitely didn’t have a normal upbringing but it's all I've ever known.
What was it like being on a family reality show as a young teenager? How did your classmates respond to it and how would life have been different if the show has continued after one season?
Being on reality shows was super traumatizing for me. I never like that so many people knew so much about my life. I used to get harassed at school, I would walk into the cafeteria and the popular kids would come ask me “is your dad on (insert some show) today?” and I’d roll my eyes and say “I don’t know, do you know what your dad’s doing at work today?” People would sing me “We're Not Gonna Take It'' or “I Wanna Rock” and I still cringe if I hear someone sing those songs.
It was hard for me to understand why people were so interested in my life or my dad and I hated it. I hated when people would talk to me about my dad. I was super angsty, still kind of am. I ended up dropping out of high school and being home schooled because I couldn’t handle the social anxiety from getting harassed about the show.
I think if the show would’ve gone on another season my parents would’ve taken me off cause it wasn’t good for my mental health. I'm honestly super happy the show didn’t go another season. I can’t imagine what my life would’ve been.
When did you develop an interest in fashion design and what is Havoc?
I developed an interest in fashion kind of young. My mom was a costume designer and did all my dad's costumes. As young as I can remember, my mom put me in sewing classes and involved me in almost all of her projects. I didn’t start taking fashion more seriously until I was 19, prior to that I wanted to work in film.
When I was 21, I made a slip dress with chains and rings for myself and posted a photo and people wanted it—and that's how Havoc was born. Havoc is my brand and it kind of just developed fluidly from me making stuff I wanted and couldn’t find anywhere. I just started making things to sell and the reaction has been amazing, it makes me so happy.
Where do you find inspiration for your looks and who are some of your style icons?
My inspiration comes from random stuff I think is cool, old movies or my moods. I love carnivals or harlots from the 18th century. I pull a lot of inspiration from movies like “The Lost Boys,” “Hocus Pocus,” “The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.”
I feel like my style is a giant melting pot of things I love, anything from scary movies, occult and magick stuff, to 90s hardcore or punk aesthetic. My biggest style icons are Frank-N-Furter from “The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Cindy Russell from Babes in Toyland, Cherie Currie from The Runaways, Siouxsie Sioux and Vivienne Westwood.
Where do you hope to take your brand in the future?
I hope to have manufactured pieces of insane garments, but be eco-friendly because I hate that fashion is such a huge source of world pollution. This is one of the main reasons I do up-cycled garments right now. The evolution of havoc has been extremely fluid and it's something I really love doing, so I'm just seeing where it goes.
When did you get your first tattoo and what’s the significance behind it?
I got my first tattoo when I was 17 and graduated early from high-school. I got a death’s-head hawkmoth done by Ryan Ashley Malarkey and she recommended I do something timeless. I could always add bigger pieces because my parents didn’t want me to get anything too big. I really loved death’s-head hawkmoths and they reminded me of “The Silence of the Lambs,” which I grew up watching with my dad.
What’s your favorite tattoo and what’s the significance behind it?
It's kind of hard for me to pick my favorite tattoo. I got a thigh piece done by Ryan Ashley Malarkey of a skull with two crescent moons and a beetle, which represent the triple goddess moon. This tattoo means a lot to me because it represents my fascination and affiliation with magick, the occult and witchcraft.
Why have you chosen blackwork as your primary tattoo style and who are some of your favorite tattooers?
When I was young, I loved blackwork and I remember everyone telling me not to get it because it was too aggressive for a girl, which of course made me want it more. I think blackwork is gorgeous, it can be read from far away and ages beautifully. It’s always felt really timeless to me. Some of my favorite artists are Johnny Gloom, Han Shinko, Ignaciottd, and gromov6666.
As someone who belongs to a family of tattooed people, what do they think of your tattoo collection?
My family loves most of my tattoos. They really love my tattoos done by Ryan Ashley; they don’t love my heavy black work pieces as much. My parents still won’t let me tattoo my hands, throat or face but they’re just fighting the tides and they know it. They don’t love that their daughter is “mutilating” her body.
Do you have any tattoos with/for any family members? Would you consider it?
I have a shin tattoo of a king kudu skull that I got for my mom because I saw a kudu when we were in Africa for her birthday. It has candles on it, because my mom started me on my spiritual journey.
I have a SMF (sick mother fucker) tattoo for my dad on my leg of an old t-shirt Twisted Sister used to sell but I'm probably gonna cover it and get a bigger SMF tattoo on my arm as soon as people start tattooing again.
I would get tattoos for everyone in my family, my family means the world to me.
What tattoo plans do you have for the future?
I pretty much have my whole body mapped out and I'm planning on getting my throat done by Ryan Ashley, hopefully by the end of this year. Before quarantine started I had some appointments to finish my whole left leg and I'm going get my whole arm and torso done by Johnny Gloom, and my whole right leg and left arm done by Ryan Ashley. My dream is to get a huge back piece by Carlos Torres.
What else should our readers know about you?
I guess the thing people don’t expect is that my ultimate dream is to open a healing center and work with plant medicines like ayahuasca. I wanna learn how to teach breathwork classes and become a yogi and be able to do predictive astrology. The occult and spirituality is one of the most important influential things in my life.