Ink Mistress: Emily Elegado

Ink Mistress: Emily Elegado

Brendan Squitieri, Writer/Editor

Fierce, confident, artistic, fearless, creative, dynamic, inspiring. These words can only describe one talented tattoo artist, the Ink Mistress, Emily Elegado.

Elegado brought a whirlwind of art and aggression to Spike’s 5th season of Ink Master. The show brought 18 artists into a stressful competition of dynamic tattooing, where the winner would take home $100k, a feature in Inked Magazine, and the title of ‘Ink Master.’

She has been tattooing for six years and specializes in realism and portraiture, but enjoys exploring all styles of tattooing. Elegado even completed a three year apprenticeship in Panama City, Florida before entering the competition.

She truly is the complete package for the competition of Ink Master. She even planned on remaining the show ‘Ink Mistress’ after she won. Elegado played the game hard and produced awesome tattoos.

Her time on the show fell short when she was eliminated in the Top 9. Elegado was the only female artist left in the game, which is an accomplishment in itself, making her the Ink Mistress of the show! Her highlights during the competition include her Geisha artwork and beautiful Bio-Mechanical piece.

Elegado made Season 5 notorious through her conflict with the other artists. Drama and stress burned like a wildfire as she clashed with other artist, especially her fellow female artists, Ty’Esha Reels and Julia Carlson. The show also demonstrates drama between Elegado and Joshua Hibbard, Cleen Rock One, Angel, Aaron Is, and Tim Lees, to name a few.

Recently, the Ink Mistress sat down with Carter Matt to discuss her strategy and life on the show.

Matt talked about the stress and dynamics of the reality show. Because of the way T.V. portrays the show, Matt asked Elegado if the show was as stressful as it looked. Elegado answered, “This competition was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done in my life. The stress really effects you. I’ll never look at a reality competition again and think, that looks easy, I could do that. It was crazy, but I loved it.”

Matt and her discussed her attitude and how her attitude affected her strategy. Whenever there was drama on the show, the Ink Mistress was most likely involved one way or another. Matt asked her if this all a part of her strategy. She confidently said “Yes, I felt after seeing all of the real competition in the house I had to be ruthless. I wasn’t going to roll over and die. I think my strategy helped me and hindered me in some aspects, but I don’t regret the choices I made.”

During the interview, they discussed the fans and the ‘haters’ that Elegado has earned just from being on the show. She comments “While it’s endearing to receive all the well wishes and bouts of encouragement from fans, it’s difficult to stomach all the negativity from “the haters”. I try to not let it bother me, and just keep on tattooing.”

The Ink Mistress’ attitude and strategy caused a whirlwind of controversy within the fan-bases of the show. Nicole Gonzalez, a teenager from New York who actively watches the show states, “Emily’s attitude is bold and her strategy was dynamic. I have a love/hate feeling towards her. I love her tattoos and motives, but her in-your-face attitude takes away from her.” Gonzalez also agrees that Elegado’s strategy made Season 5 of Ink Master infamous.

Elegado’s attitude and strategy was claimed to be most infamous when she sat down with Ink Master host and judge Dave Navarro which aired January 6. During the interview Elegado explains that “You can’t come into a competition like this with your tail tucked between your legs. You have to execute power and gain your right to be here… I gained mine, I was here for a reason, and I fought with every ounce of energy in my body.”

It was this attitude, confidence and talent that led Elegado to be the last female tattoo artist standing, making her the Ink Mistress of Ink Master: Season 5.