Skip to main content

Ryan Ashley Malarkey: Ink Master's First Lady

Her talents rival her looks.

Smart, sexy, and talented

Bow in the presence of greatness.

Ryan Ashley Malarkey became the first female winner of Spike’s Ink Master after eight seasons and succeeded at what dozens in her position had hoped to attain on the preeminent tattoo competition show.

Before she won over America and legendary tattoo artist, Oliver Peck, Malarkey was a fashion designer and the owner of the Strange and Unusual Oddities shop with a mere five years of tattooing under her belt. However, despite the odds posed against her, Malarkey used raw talent, fearless ambition and what proved to be the unstoppable power of an all-female alliance to prove to the judges, as well as the nation, that she was the top tattooer of season eight.

Malarkey is an artist who has shown that she can adapt in any situation, which is why the tattoo industry and fans alike should stay tuned to her next tattoos and moves

Ryan Ashley Inked Magazine Cover

Credit: Mark Mann

Photos by Mark Mann / Styled by Stephen J Cucci / Hair by Butch Feist / Makeup by Ryan Ashley Malarkey

How do you think that the industry will advance in terms of gender equality as time goes on?

People everywhere are slowly changing as the times are changing. I’m noticing that the same bracket of elderly people with old-fashioned ways of thinking, who would at one time comment about how it’s a “sin” that such a pretty girl would ruin her body, are now approaching me to tell me about their daughter or granddaughter with a tattoo and they’re connecting with me on that level. Since everyone is getting tattooed in our society, these old school thinking types of people all have a tattooed loved one or friend who allows them to see tattoos as art, instead of body defacement.

Do you think that your tattooing has changed since the competition began?

Not only has my tattooing changed since the competition, but my overall outlook on tattoos has changed. I normally work by myself in my little private studio and rarely ever have any outside influence, advice or critique. It was very hard at first to hear some of the brutally blunt critiques on my work, and it took me awhile to realize how valuable they were and to simply listen. But instead of pretending my work was perfect and ignorantly defending the imperfections, I took every bit of critique and improved. I let my ego get broken down enough to build myself back up with this new knowledge that I am so grateful for.


SHARE this!