Perma Blend Celebrates Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Perma Blend Celebrates Breast Cancer Awareness Month
"We should celebrate that it’s Pink Week and Breast Cancer Awareness Month as well as all the people out there who are coming to us."
In celebration of Pink Week and Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we spoke to Perma Blend Select Team Member, Vicky Martin, about her unique repertoire of work, the Vicky Martin Method: an incredible 3D Areola tattooing procedure that transforms the bodies of breast cancer survivors. Combined with her qualifications as a Neuro Linguistic Programming practitioner and hypnotist, Vicky is expanding the scope of what permanent makeup artists can achieve and how they can help to transform their clients’ lives.
No stranger to transformation herself, Vicky changed career paths over 20 years ago to become a tattooist after hitting a personal low point and nearly burning out in a high-powered corporate job as an auditor. We also love her for dressing up as an inflatable boob to take on Facebook and their censorship of accounts that share what’s possible for survivors. More on that below.
Q: Introduce yourself for anyone who might not be familiar with you or your work?
A: I am Vicky Martin, the creator of the Vicky Martin Method, which is a minimum trauma, maximum retention way of areola tattooing. I’m also a mind reprogrammer and a hypnotist. I empower people while I’m tattooing them, to feel complete on the inside as well as the outside, so they leave feeling complete all around, with the wisdom of their journey.
Q: What drew you to areola work in particular?
A: I learned to do it on the backend of a course about eyebrows. I received the qualification to practice it from that course but I felt like I’d only been able to do an orange blob and wasn’t sure it was for me. Then I had a client who I’d done eyebrows on for years who got breast cancer. She knew I’d done this course and asked me to do her areola. I said I wasn’t confident, but she said, “You can do standard tattooing so surely you can tattoo a nipple.” I thought, Surely, I can tattoo a nipple! So, I completely disregarded everything I’d learned and just treated it like a normal tattoo. Not only did I not expect the response I got from her, I was surprised by how it made me feel inside. I thought, This is what I’m meant to do in life. From that day on, I knew that this was my calling. I was 100 percent all in on nipples.
Q: Tell us a bit about your work as a mind reprogrammer and hypnotist as it relates to your work.
A: I’m qualified in mind reprogramming or NLP (Neurolinguistic Programing) and something called subconscious dominance. I’m also a hypnotist, so if somebody wants the fear of cancer to go away, I can do seven minutes of hypnosis, but I find that you can also empower people with questions because the mind must answer questions. In a treatment room, if you ask the right ones, someone can be empowered to find the diamond in the dirt, if you get what I mean. When someone’s emotions are quite high when they’re in a treatment room, what we say, or what we ask can really help them to realize that everybody has a bit of legend in them. Everybody has a bit of unstoppable if they just believe it. One of the questions I ask every client is “What is the best thing that’s come out of having breast cancer for you?” Because the mind must answer the question, it must find the best thing. You’d be amazed at some of the answers. There are so many things that women—or men—do differently post breast cancer. They don’t worry about the small stuff; they might’ve left their husband that they hated; they might’ve changed their job, they value their life differently. By asking these questions, I get people to look a bit in a different direction. I’m very aware though, that I haven’t walked the same path, so I am always intrigued by and learning from their answers. I’m sure people would rather not have walked that path but in life, you can’t control what happens to you. You can, however, control your outcome.
Once I’ve finished, before I let them look in the mirror, I ask them to think of a time in their life when they felt healthy, proud, or unstoppable. I get them to close their eyes and go back to that moment in their mind to allow all those feelings to come back into their body. When I see their breath change, I step out of the way of the mirror and ask them to open their eyes. That is called anchoring: it connects that empowerment to the visual of their body. Every time she sees her body in the mirror, she’s going to remember how beautiful and strong she is.
"I’m in awe of every one of my clients. I’m so grateful that they trust me and come to me."
Q: Can you talk about some of your experiences doing this work and some of the transformations you’ve seen in women?
A: The first woman I worked on was so easy that I thought all my clients would be like that. It turns out that the skin I was working on was just a good canvas. After, I went through this whole journey of working on people who had scarred and radiated skin, and I thought maybe I’d lost the ability to do it. Over the years, I realized that you’re only as good as the skin you’re working on. So, I’ve adapted needles, machines, areola pigments, and my techniques because if you don’t understand different skin types, as an artist, you instantly think you can’t do it anymore. You just have to adapt your methods. I swapped from working with magnum needles to using liner needles. I’ve gone through drawing eight nipples on my own legs to master this work. I needed to see where I was going wrong and how I could make it better. Now, I’m genuinely not afraid of working with any kind of skin.
With regards to clients that are happy, I just finished working with a woman who is 26 who had a double mastectomy. It was so beautiful to see her look in the mirror and cry because she was so happy. Society may think, well, why does it matter? No one sees their nipples. But the most important person in the room is the one who sees their body every day and has a constant reminder if there isn’t an areola there. It’s mums not being able to show their bodies to their children because they’re embarrassed and don’t want them to think this is normal. It’s people who are too afraid to take a shower at the gym or go down a water shoot at a water park. It’s about women closing the door and taking control and being able to move forward with the wisdom of their journey.
A: One day, someone asked me if I’d tried the Pink Ribbon set by World Famous Tattoo Ink which is obviously the same family as Perma Blend. They were raving about it, so I tried it and I tell you that normally, if I’d used another brand (I won’t say which one!) I’d have to do touchups, maybe three sit ins. When I swapped to Perma Blend, I was blown away. Everything heals beautifully, the color stays true, it took my work to another level. I was in Vegas and telling everyone to swap to this new brand. I didn’t realize that Brand Director, Anne Marie [Rubino] was listening. I ended up switching to Perma Blend for my PMU business too. Everyone on my team thought it was incredible. Perma Blend is the best brand out there. They wipe the floor with anybody out there. I’m proud to be part of the Select Team.
Q: Can you tell us about your efforts with Facebook?
A: In November 2019, I did the giant, 20-foot inflatable boob in front of the Facebook offices. I was so frustrated with Facebook. With being blocked, shut down, and removed for posting images of my work. Every time I built up my following, my account would be removed. In life, I believe that there’s always another way in if you’re big enough and bold enough. So, I thought I’d put a massive boob in front of their door and hopefully, someone would come out and speak to me. I could’ve been arrested. Doing that resulted in them freeing me on social media to post more of my work, but the problem was that I train other artists and deal with breast cancer survivors who all wanted to show other survivors how good they can look again. If the rules only changed for me, nothing had actually changed. So, I wasn’t going to stop there.
I got Covid over Christmas last year and had this crazy, vivid dream about wearing an inflatable boob. I thought, they can’t arrest us for wearing something! So, I had costumes made and a large group of us decided to go back to Facebook on September 1, 2021 wearing inflatable boob costumes. We had a song written which was beautiful and we sang our protest. I’d been talking to people at Facebook independent of this event, but I wasn’t going to let it go until I saw results. We’re calling for a verification for the medical field. For surgeons and for us. We are working with Facebook but I’m not going to stop until we get results. We’ll do the same campaign in New York and in Canada if nothing changes. I’m also in the process of creating my own platform for medical artists. If you can’t beat them, you can be clever enough to do your own thing.
Q: What would you like other artists who are considering learning areola work to know?
A: I would love for them to know that you don’t have to be heavy handed. My technique is super delicate—it’s a way of getting pigment into the skin with minimum trauma. But more importantly, I’d like them to recognize the power that’s in their hands when they have somebody in their treatment room. You don’t have to be a mind reprogrammer or a hypnotist, just know how to speak to people. Know which questions to ask. As artists, we have this innate power to help people truly love themselves. I wish that they would take on the inner transformation as well as the outside of the body.
We should celebrate that it’s Pink Week and Breast Cancer Awareness Month as well as all the people out there who are coming to us. I’m in awe of every one of my clients. I’m so grateful that they trust me and come to me. They are amazing and showing the world what you can do when something hard hits you.