Jessica: -society like No-No piercing, my dad was always like, " You're gonna look like a cow"
Gigi: Oh my god. My dad said that too.
Jessica: Every guy I'd ever been with was like, why would you do that?
Jessica: And I was like, why wouldn't I? Right?
Gigi: It's not for you. It's for me.
Tattoos in the eyes of society
Jessica: Right? And I'm like this, and so that was the first thing I actually did for me was getting that because I've gotten tattoos but I feel like tattoos are kind of like your parents don't like them, but everyone else is okay with them.
Gigi: Yeah, I know right.
Jessica: Like, "Oh, why would you do that?" And everyone's like, "Oh, sick tattoo that!"
Gigi: I like your tattoo, man.
Gigi: I would never. You know? Yeah, no like, well, the thing is my dad, my parents are artists as well.
Jessica: Oh, great.
Gigi: My dad is very particular. The only way he'd ever get a tattoo is if he had been-if he tattooed himself. He'd been studying the tattoo, the art of tattooing for many years and became perfection at it, it just needs it to be perfect otherwise, he'll hate it. My mom just doesn't like permanent things.
Jessica: Oh, that's awesome!
Gigi: Which I think is really funny because that's what I love about tattoos is that they are permanent but I know it's not going to change.
Jessica: Me too, kinda fact.
Jessica: Growing up, I was obsessed with shadow boxes and [inaudible 22: 18] in the shadow boxes. And so when I started getting tattoos, I felt like I was collecting memories and my body was becoming the shadow box.
Gigi: That's so awesome. I love that!
Jessica: And so that's what I like, what I love so much is because I'm collecting pieces of, everyone's like, "Oh, what do your tattoos mean?" I never tell anybody.
Gigi: Yeah, no, right.
Jessica: But each piece of it is a reflection of who I was in that time.
Jessica: And then I get to hold on to that memory because I feel like you will either go two ways in life. You'll either become someone who continually grows and continually changes and continue to nurtures or you'll become someone who implodes.
Gigi: Yeah. And that's like-
Jessica: It becomes all about either victimizing yourself or forgetting who you were and losing your humility.
Gigi: Yeah, and just being able to like, I can sleep with myself at the end of the day.
Jessica: Yes, exactly. I'm like, when I look at the mirror, I want to see who I am.
Jessica: I don't want to see anyone else. And, you know, like, I had to take out my lip piercing and I didn't even realize how much of that changed how I felt about myself removing it.
Jessica: It was like, almost cried in my car. And then I went and I came into work the next day, there's a guy that removes it and one of our sales associates, I think it was Gigi also she wanted to cry with me because it's such a part of you, you know?
Jessica: Was that the same with your nostril piercing or-
Gigi: It was difficult. The first, okay so last time I got pierced like a year prior or whatever. That was devastating for me to take out because it was infected and I had to clean it in and I couldn't get it was like a whole thing. And I was also going through really tough times. So I felt I was losing another piece of myself and so, because I was in such a bad place at that time, it was very devastating. But right now because I knew like, Okay, I know I can get this repierced, it's not the end of the world. I have the jewelry like this sucks but I was in a much better place so I was very okay with putting it on pause and being able to be to say like, I can come back to this. It's a temporary thing.
Gigi: But it was very difficult. I think if I had to get a tattoo removed, I would cry because I love it. I think about how it's like I get into like an accident or something and like skin burns off or something or like-
Jessica: I do too.
Gigi: Right? And I was like "No, [inaudible 25:04]"
Jessica: You have to get stitches and they stitch it crooked.
Piercings are temporary
Gigi: Right? Or it's like you have surgery and they have to ruin or they mess it up and I'm like, "Oh, that's terrifying." Like, that's my biggest fear. When it comes to my body modifications, I think what I love about piercings is that they can be temporary. You can put them back in like it's, but like, anything happens to my tattoo and I'm like, okay, like I'm devastated.
Jessica: Yes, no, I would be yeah, that's true. Piercings are almost like temporary permanence.
Jessica: You can have it as long as you want but it also like you can remove it and do it again, you know?
Jessica: Sometimes there's limitations. You can really only pierce scar tissue so many times before it becomes a problem.
Gigi: It's so true.
Jessica: Those are probably good, you're fine.
Gigi: I know, right? well, I've had my ears pierced 14 times throughout my life in the same spot because let me tell you. Growing up, I'd always go, it was before like tattoo guns were illegal. I always would get it with a tattoo gun, it always get infected and always close up. Where I came to, I went to a shop, a tattoo piercing shop and they pierce it properly, and I had no issues and I was so ecstatic because I've had my ears pierced for three years now and they haven't closed up and for me, that was the best thing, the best day ever was like knowing that like okay, it's not gonna close up again because I wanted my ears pierced so bad. You could just never sick. It always get infected like super super infected like have to be on antibiotics.
Gigi: It was just like, I think that was one of the most frustrating things for me--growing up was because I just like I wanted it so bad.
Jessica: I understand. Were you pierced with the piercing guns before?
Gigi: Yeah, that's what I'm saying. The first 13 times were piercing gun and then when I did it with the needle, out of piercing shop, amazing.
Jessica: So that's one of the things we're doing at Avanti is mostly we cut, so when I came on to Avanti, I knew nothing about piercing, other than like I've been pierced.
Jessica: And so we're like, whoever customers also know nothing and I'm like it's probably everybody. So I'm like really realistically like at least 90% probably don't necessarily know why piercing- I didn't know why piercing guns were bad.
Gigi: Yeah, me neither.
Jessica: Right? I was 22 and got my second stun with a piercing gun.
Gigi: Yeah, just like [inaudible 27:52] and you're done
Jessica: And then I start working at Avanti and I learned why you don't do use piercing guns and like it does blunt force trauma and that's actually why they tell you to twist your earrings? Piercing guns because the trauma causes the tissue to grow over the earring. When you're pierced with a needle, that doesn't happen.
Gigi: That's insane.
What are we doing here in Avanti?
Jessica: Yeah and so it's a whole new world to me and I am like "Oh, so that's one of the things we're doing at Avanti." And actually one of the reasons why we're doing all these interviews is to bring, first off bring hope to everybody, because everybody needs a little hope, especially today.
Jessica: Also to empower everybody to just continue to be themselves, check in with our regulars and be like, "Hey, how you doing? We're still here." And to also educate everybody because I know better and I've been tempted to pierce myself like -
Gigi: Right? Yeah.
Jessica: Other people are out there feeling the same way and we just got to bond together. It'll be over soon.
Gigi: We just gotta hold it in. Breathe.
Jessica: We gotta hold it in.
Gigi: I know because like, man. I think when I was kid like four, I wanted my ears pierced so bad and my older sister was eight and we were like, let's just do it so she put pierce on my ear and then took the earring and it's bleeding and my mom was like, "What are you doing?!"
Gigi: Yeah, lots of fun experiences. I'm sure people are trying to pierce themselves through this time.
Jessica: I know. I've seen it on TikTok.
Gigi: Oh, really? I've been seeing all the cutting hair videos and like dyeing your hair video and I'm like, that's a mood, that's a mood right? I'm like, don't shave your head, Gigi. It wants you but don't do it.
Jessica: I did. I like my razors actually out like my buds cutter? Yeah, you can hold up you don't need it because I've been growing my hair out -
Gigi: Yeah, me too.
Jessica: -this year sometime. No, it's up in the air because of the pandemic but I've been growing my hair out for the wedding and I'm like, I could be a bald bride.
Gigi: Literally, right?
Jessica: You've been growing your hair out for a year, you got to hold on to it.
Gigi: Right? I shaved my head sophomore year of high school and then this is what this is since then, this is what's grown.
Jessica: Oh, that's awesome!
Gigi: I know and I'm like, don't, don't do it. Just get through this part of your life where you need the long hair and then you can do whatever afterwards.
Jessica: Well, I think I will wrap it up here.
Jessica: But I have enjoyed talking to you so much.
Gigi: I know, I concur. It's been wonderful.
Jessica: I'm really excited to see you when this is all over so we can get your nostril repierced.