Student highlights: tattoos, henna and piercings

Trinity students share their body modifications and explain the stories behind them


Gia Campolo

Andie Hadley and Karishma Bhakta

College is a time to try new things and find new ways to express yourself. Tattoos are a great accessory and can hold memories that will last forever. More temporary options, like henna and piercings, are also enjoyable. The Trinitonian talked to four students about their body art.

Andie Hadley, sophomore neuroscience major, and Karishma Bhakta, sophomore business major, own and operate a henna service on campus. Hadley and Bhakta have been roommates since their first year at Trinity and share a love for the art of henna.

Karishma Bhakta, sophmore business major. Her roommate, Andie Hadley, and her run a henna business. Fin d them @342henna on Instagram! (Gia Campolo)

“You design [henna] on your hand and then just wash it off and leave an imprint for a few days and so we kind of do … everything, whatever anyone wants, but we do front hand, backhand, a sleeve. So if you do … one side of your hand, just the hand part, it’ll be $10. Same with the back and then if we do one whole side, that’ll be $15. And then two, if you get a full front and a whole back, that’d be 30 bucks,” Bhakta said.

Hadley and Bhakta get their henna, or temporary ink, from Amazon and take requests through word of mouth and Instagram (@342henna). Hadley found her passion for henna first and subsequently introduced Bhakta to it. Bhakta describes henna as an art form.

Andie and Kash’s Henna. (Gia Campolo)

“I think it’s a good relaxing thing. It’s like, super chill. I feel like it’s very similar to tattoo art. But I feel like it’s more fun because I can freehand it and there are no consequences,” Bhakta said.

Body art, like the many tattoos of Jenna Rossignol, a junior psychology major from San Angelo, is also a form of personal expression.

“I got my first one a week after my 18th birthday,” Rossignol said. “It’s a sunflower that takes up most of my thigh and it has my mom’s handwriting in the stem. It says stand tall, something that my mom has always told me.”

Rossignol knew she wanted tattoos from the age of 16 and even got a close family friend to do her first tattoo. She has developed a close relationship with her tattoo artist and trusts him enough to free-hand designs.

“I’d have to say my favorite one, which was a butterfly, I have on my leg. It’s a single-line drawing. My tattoo artist took some creative liberty in that one and he drew some fun shapes in the petals that he did not tell me about before he put them on my body, but I trusted him so it turned out beautiful. It is my favorite tattoo,” Rossignol said.

Jenna Rossignol’s favorite tattoo, her free-hand butterfly. (Gia Campolo)

Rossignol also stresses that tattoos don’t all have to have important, personal meanings. It is up to the individual.

“Not all of them [have meaning], like I have this little one on the back of my arm. That one was just for fun. I’ve traveled to Hawaii and I love the culture there. So that’s like a little bit of a piece of it. But I also just think it looks really cool.”

Rossignol also shared some advice for Trinity students who want tattoos, but don’t know where to start. She recommends asking friends and upperclassmen who have tattoos where they go and developing a close relationship with your artist. Rossignol embraces commitment and encourages others to do the same.

“And I would say for commitment, just go for it. If it’s something you’re super worried about, put it somewhere that you won’t see it super often … I like to think of [tattoos] as an accessory in outfits. It’s no different than jewelry or hair pieces,” Rossignol said.

Prajna Srinivas, a sophomore neuroscience major, has five distinct pieces. Her approach to tattoos is more holistic.

“The thing is, a lot of my tattoos are kind of just built upon like, I just get one and then I add a bunch of it. So technically I have five separate pieces, but I’ve gotten them all over a period of time,” Srinivas said.

She recommends finding an artist you like and working with them to create a unique, personal design. Srinivas’ favorite piece has been built up over time and probably isn’t finished yet.

“My most recent one is this butterfly on my back. And it’s half butterfly and half lotus. My favorite tattoo I’ve ever gotten … It’s a mermaid, but it’s an Indian mermaid.”

Srinivas explained her experience with both male and female artists and her frustration with the lack of diversity in the tattoo industry.

“I think the reason why I want a female tattoo artist again is just because I feel awkward, not because [men weren’t] super, super professional and everything like that, you know, I just like having a female artist [especially for sensitive] areas. I have never been [to a tattoo] artist of color … especially like an Asian tattoo artist,” Srinivas told Trinitonian.

Prajna Srinivas, sophomore intended neuroscience major. (Gia Campolo)

Srinivas also has multiple piercings. Piercings can be just as painful as tattoos but are usually much quicker. They can be a type of body modification that is less permanent since the jewelry is removable and changeable. You can swap out your jewelry to match different outfits, and even go without jewelry to more formal events.

Body art and modification can be a form of expression, a way to remember and honor special moments or a fun way to accessorize your wardrobe. Whatever it means to you, embrace it and wear it with confidence.