Shonda Mackey is a 33-year-old tattooed model based in Phoenix, Arizona. We talked about her creative work on both sides of a camera, monsters, her tattoos, and her Instagram following, which is bigger than the population of her Colorado hometown.
Hi Shonda! On Instagram, you describe yourself as a tattooed model and a creative, so let’s start there! How did you get into modeling?
I started modeling after I graduated high school and long before the tattoos! I started off in bridal jewelry catalogs and fashion magazines. Since I got tattooed, I’ve modeled for clothing lines, magazines, and commercials.
What was that transition like for you? Did you have any negative experiences when you started getting tattoos?
Yes, I experienced my fair share of criticism for my tattoos in the beginning and still to this day! Lots of agencies, managers, and photographers would tell me their personal opinions about my tattoos and how they assume my career would pan out, but the reality is that the world is literally changing every day and not one person’s personal opinion could ever affect my future and career.
The only difference is that I might not get certain gigs if I don’t fit the image now because I’m different, but different is good! I decided to go all-in because if people really want me to be a model for them then they will accept me as I am!
That’s such a positive approach – it’s important to be yourself, no matter what you’re doing! With the pandemic, how has your work changed over the past year?
I was a full-time videographer for some athletes before the pandemic hit and it has definitely been hard. The last thing I want to do is be in a gym or around sweaty, breathing-heavy athletes. Modeling has taken a toll because there aren’t events or shoots going down, so it has been tough!
At the moment I am working from home, taking on odd jobs here and there, and running my Onlyfans as well as my merchandise store. I’m reworking my goals and future and looking to perhaps start some filming in the medical world, like some bloody brain surgery!
So you’re comfortable on both sides of the camera, plus I saw that you’re a singer and you’ve made everything from stickers to calendars, not to mention your Instagram and OnlyFans content. As such a creative person, what’s your favorite form of art?
I love to sing and wish I knew what I was doing because I would pursue that!
Other than that, I love video work, and I love to be in music videos. I love photoshoots where a photographer says something will be so hard for a model to do I’m like pffft, bring it on! Lemme show you how this is done!
My favorite form of my art though has to be my dark monster images, I love to be a monster TOO much, LOL!
There’s no good way to transition from that to being vegan, but let’s do it anyway! How long have you been plant-based, and what prompted you to give up animal products?
It happened by accident, actually. I went out to eat the night before, had a huge steak with extra butter, and the next day I woke up and thought, “hmmm, I wonder if I could do this vegan diet??”
Oh man, little did I know what I was getting myself into! I’ll never be able to eat meat again, and it’s so weird looking from this side of it. It’s like, how the f— did I eat that for 28 years!? It’s so wild, but learning the educational side of it now through awesome documentaries like Game Changers, I can see how badly I was actually eating on a regular basis and how much better my way of life is for me now!