Betty Burger is a 31-year old tattooed model based in Montpellier, France. We speak to her about modelling, being an apprentice tattoo artist, life and everything in-between.
Hi Betty! So you've been a tattoo model since 2013, can you tell us a bit about about yourself and how you got into modelling?
My passion for tattoo comes from my dad who was an artist. It has been a therapy for me after he passed away. I have been living in an artistic and underground world.
I like the idea that a tattoo is a decorative representation of who you are. It can tell a story, or it can be an ornament, just as if you were decorating your home.
My journey began after been spotted by the photographer of the tattoo magazine "Inked" at the Sonisphere Festival. The brand ITC contacted me some months later offering me to be their brand ambassador. After that I have been contacted by many photographers from Paris and Luxembourg, which allowed me to appear on many magazine covers: Inkedmag, Rise Magazine, Tatouage Magazine, Inksonparadise, Tattoo Life & Worldwideinkmag.
On social media we notice you play a few instruments as well. Is music a big part of your life and what other hobbies take up your spare time?
Music is also a very big part of my life, as I'm playing the harp and the piano.
I'm also doing a lot of skateboarding, as I enjoy extreme sports.
Apart from modelling, what else keeps you busy?
As for my job, I am a manager for a fitness club in France called Basic Fit. My Model Agency is based in Paris and called Wanted. This allows me to pursue artistic projects beside my job: photography, TV film, music videos...
I've also been an apprentice for a few months, I started at the beginning of the year 2022
And how is that going? any bad experiences?
As a tattoo model I was quickly judged by a few tattoo artists. I know that evil people were waiting for me around the corner... That's why I had to work even more than a classic apprentice.
The worst experience was losing my two apprenticeship masters, I felt like the John Snow of the tattoo…laughs. Nevertheless, it often happens that in a shop the artists prefer to leave and I can always ask them for advice from a distance.
Also, I didn't quit my main job in sports, which some tattoo artists don't like. I was therefore made several remarks telling me that tattooing for me was a hobby when it is my passion.
Of course these kind of remarks gives me even more strength to finish my apprenticeship and become a tattoo artist.
You have so many tattoos, what was your first? and do you have a favourite?
Yes, my first tattoo was at 17 and it was a barcode with important dates in my life.
My favourite tattoo is the one under the chin. This is a "hurt me first" lettering
This tattoo is the symbol of my freedom. I suffered domestic violence and after coming out of this bad experience this tattoo was my first. It's a kind of resurrection. It was made in Metz by the artist Okult.
Which tattoo artist is responsible for the majority of your ink?
The tattoo artist who piqued me the most is Marin Xa who is in Nancy at the Steeve art tattoo shop. There is also the La Chapelle tattoo in Montpellier.
Not to many artists have tattooed me, I like to stay faithful to those I trust will give the exact result that I want. To name a few: @sailorxa @okult_tattoo @ls_tattoo @fatkush_mgt @peku_quentin @remyb @nico7_tattoo @jerryonetattoo @peter.morgan @tesscarminatattoo @merikos.mi.corazon @kbn.sensibilitey @damien_tello_tattoo @chavi_tattoo @juda_tattooer @black.Sabass.ttt
Tell us a bit more about your tattoos and how they have opened doors to other exciting experiences.
My body is 80% tattooed so I'm getting close to a full suit body. Most of my tattoos are traditional style, with a mix of neo trad and new school. I like to mix the tattoos like a puzzle, that's why I have neo trad pieces mixing with lettering and ornamental. I also have a realistic piece on my belly, which fits pretty well with the traditional tattoos around it. I have decided to finish my legs with Japanese style, in order to assemblage all my flash tattoos and make one whole piece.
Since 2016 I have started to be a hostess and show presentator in tattoo conventions like Brussel Tattoo Convention, Deauville Festival, Cezaenne convention. I have also recently been asked to host some conventions myself.
Following my features in Magazines, some brands have asked me to be their ambassador and promote their products: Vepar, Sullenclothing, Formybio tattoo, Jconly, Hellotattoomed, 7plis, Sullen, Kilogramme de cbd, Crève, Hyraw, Younghearted.cl.
Betty, we would love to see you over here in Australia soon now travel is getting back to normal. So with all that's been going on over the last few years, how have you been affected by the pandemic? And do you have any travel plans in the near future?
The pandemic affected me a lot, I suffered domestic violence, but that's what made me want to resume my tattoo learning and do photography again. This experience almost destroyed my career but made me stronger.
And yes I planned to go to Belgium with my pro team from Formybio tattoo as well as to Milan. I also have a shoot planned with Sullen Angel's photographer in the USA.
As for Australia, yes I would like to go there in 2 years.
Well Betty, its been amazing talking to you and we look forward to seeing more from you on social media and hope to see you here in Australia soon!
You can keep up to date with tattooed model Betty Burger bbz and all of her creative ventures on Instagram at @bettyburgerbbz.
Images by Charly Schwarz