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Lena Diamanti from Greece to New York

My story unfolds like a tale—a fairytale or a nightmare, depending on the perspective one chooses to embrace life.

I am Lena Diamanti, hailing from a small town in Greece. However, this year, I am fortunate enough to call New York my home. Recently, I had the privilege of being selected for an exceptional campaign by FK Iron, celebrating the indomitable spirit of women and their unwavering dedication to hard work and achieving their goals—the so-called "Wonder Woman." During this incredible experience, I had the honor of meeting accomplished women in the industry and hearing their remarkable stories.

Today, I wish to share my own journey and shed light on how I, as a woman, embarked on my path in this industry.

Artistry was never part of my plans. Coming from a financially struggling family, I took on various jobs just to make ends meet—waitressing, being a barista, and working as a cleaner. Often, I found myself juggling multiple roles simultaneously. I understand that many of you may resonate with this feeling all too well. However, let me assure you that what may seem like a disadvantage can actually be a superpower in life.

My journey began six years before the tattoo craze took hold. It was during that time that I encountered a mentor who became a lifelong companion. Why do I emphasize this aspect of my story? Because what if I told you that someone with no knowledge of tattooing taught me this art?

My entry into this world differs from that of many female artists I've met. It all started with a casual conversation over coffee with a school friend who had just gotten her first tattoo. "You draw so beautifully," she exclaimed. "You should try this too. You would be great!" Almost impulsively, I replied, "That's not for me."

But my husband challenged me, asking, "Why not?"

The very next day, I took my first steps. A close friend of my husband had opened his own tattoo studio and offered me an opportunity. However, it wasn't long before I found myself with more questions than answers. Frustration and disappointment filled my eyes. In that moment, my husband George encouraged me to persevere and did the unthinkable to support me. What does it mean to do the unthinkable? Back then, finding information about tattoos online was scarce. Artists were reluctant to share their knowledge or offer guidance, especially in my native language,

as my English was limited to "Good morning" and "Good night." So, George dedicated himself to spending countless hours online, scouring for any valuable information, watching videos, and tirelessly translating the most useful tips for my practice.

And so, it began. The man who knew nothing about tattoos became my guide, teaching me everything about this beautiful art form. Unbeknownst to us, we embarked on a collaborative journey, each filling the gaps in the other's knowledge. I began experimenting, carving my own path within this world. Eight months later, I received my first collaboration offer from a tattoo shop, which unfortunately didn't turn out as I had envisioned. In 2023, having a social media manager, videographer, or photographer as part of an artist's team is commonplace. However, in 2015, it

was a foreign concept. This led to numerous shops across Europe dismissing me contemptuously. It was reminiscent of the stories I heard from other women who took their initial steps 25 years ago.

Imagine the challenges faced by women in an industry predominantly surrounded by men, during a different era with a different mindset. While I may not have experienced the same level of oppression as those who came before me, I encountered disdain and non-acceptance for being different—deviating from the established norms of what an artist, a professional, and a woman should be. However, my greatest mistake would have been allowing these judgments to affect me. On the contrary, negative comments fueled my determination to prove my true worth.

And let me be clear, my words encompass not just my own worth but the worth of all women in this industry. The first, fifth, seventh, and tenth shop may have had their own standards, preferring not to embrace our unique collaboration. But fast forward to today, and I now have the privilege of collaborating with the most prestigious tattoo studios across America and receiving invitations from around the world.

If there's one wish I have for each of you from my story, it is that your own fairytale always concludes with a happy ending. I was fortunate to find my prince, and I wish for you to find the person, the willpower, and the strength to persevere where others give up. By doing so, you will create your own fairytale, and I promise you, it will always have a happy ending.

Guest author: Lena Diamanti


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