Photo Courtesy of Spike TV
Dan Lorenzo: The last time we spoke you said something that I loved: "I don't think people should get married unless they plan on staying married." Why do you think at least fifty percent of married people split up?
Duffy Fortner: Every marriage has its ups and downs, but at the end of the day it's a commitment and it's something you have to work at. It's just not something that I personally take lightly. Of course there are automatic deal breakers, like cheating. I think people grow and change and potentially grow apart, but if this is the person you vow to spend the rest of your life with, you'll grow with them! Trust me, I don't judge anybody for divorce. There are so many different circumstances in which I'm sure divorce is the answer!
How hard was it for you being on Ink Master and being away from your family?
I knew it was going to be hard, but it wasn't until I got there and that first night, I was laying alone in a single bed without my husband or daughter there and I realized, oh shit, this sucks! I dreaded leaving them, but the excitement and the nerves took it out of my mind until that moment. And from there, each day and night got a little harder. Once I was there for a few weeks, I snapped out of that sad, depressed "I'm missing my family" feeling and realized, if I'm going to be here and spend this time away from my daughter, I need to make it worth it. I also come from a huge family so I had endless support! I still missed them, but I put my head in the game and got as far as I did!
Now that some time has passed, does your Ink Master notoriety still effect you?
It definitely does! It's crazy to be out in public somewhere, almost anywhere, and someone recognize you! And on top of that, people tell you that you're an inspiration to them or how proud they are of you?! It's like, who me?! [laughs] I mean it makes me feel good about the person I am and the role model I can be. I'll never get tired of it!
Were you rooting for anybody in particular to win with last season's Ink Master finale that Ryan Ashley eventually won?
I thought there were so many amazing artists on this last season! I for sure was rooting for Kelly... been following her for years. She really set the bar for artists in future seasons. I didn't really know Gian's work that well, but once I started following him he was right up there with Kelly. Not to take anything away from anyone else, especially the winner!
Is it easier to be a female starting to tattoo today than it was when you were coming into the scene?
There are so many great female tattooers now. Back when I was learning — which is almost 15 years ago — there were a lot of female tattooers, just not a lot that got recognition. I think that it's still a male dominated industry, but as long as you can hold your own you'll get the respect you deserve!
I was surprised to hear that you told me in addition to children's shows, you're also a fan of "trash" television. What was it that made you watch VH1's Rock Of Love?
I don't know!!! [laughs] If you have a brain like mine, then you're in overdrive like all the time. I guess just flipping the TV on and watching something you don't have to think about too much is why I like it. And kids' movies are great! You laugh, you cry, you sing along. I get the news in when I need it, but for the most part I like something I don't have to pay attention to when I turn the TV on.
I'm never pushy about religion, but I'm a church going man. Without getting too particular... it's safe to say you're not an atheist, right Duffy?
Not atheist, I'm actually baptized Catholic. There's lots of values that I can love and appreciate from a lot of different religions though. I don't ever for a second judge or have an opinion about what religion anybody practices.
What kind of ink do you prefer?
I'm all over the place. I use Intenze Formula23 to line right now, or Silverback Stupid Black. For colors it's a good mix of Eternal and World Famous. Both good stuff!
What about machines?
I have the same liner that I started with. [laughs] It's a Micky Sharpz and it's 14 years old. I have several other liners, Tim Hendericks, Chris Smith, and a few more. For shading I'm all rotaries. I switch between a Bishop and a Halo.
I just recently started to Tatuderm everything... that stuff is awesome! And once that comes off just unscented lotion.
Are you set in your ways as far as supplies or do you try new products?
I do like to try new things. I didn't used to, but I got better at it. But I'm pretty easy going. I could put stencils on with green soap and tattoo with A&D if I had to, [laughs] but I'm glad I have so many other options now!
Did I ever mention that I work for PainfulPleasures?
Oh was that you? I wasn't sure. [laughs]
Anything else you would like our readers to know about you?
I'm a mom, a wife, I run a business, and so many other things! Tattooing is all I've ever known. My parents opened our first shop when I was six [years old] and I'm a second generation tattooer. It's important to have a passion in life. I'm fortunate to have two, being a mom and tattooing!
For more on Duffy check out her Instagram @DuffyFortner