Dan Lorenzo: So after moving to the NY area from Tucson, AZ, have you experienced a full winter up here?
Nikki Simpson: I came here last New Years Eve, and continued visiting every two weeks through the year so I definitely got a taste of what the east coast winters are like! Pretty brutal.
I was surprised to hear from you on a Sunday night at 9:15. I was even more surprised you don't watch Family Guy. You told me you rarely watch television?
Nah, I've never been one to watch much TV. I love watching movies, but if I let myself get too invested in television, I would get nothing done, and I procrastinate enough as it is! Game of Thrones already takes over my life when it airs so I probably shouldn't add to the problem.
I've never seen Lord of The Rings. What am I missing?
Uh just the most incredible cinematic adventure known to man! [laughs]
When Sketchy Lawyer quit, I got my first look at the Ink Master bedrooms. How many of you girls were in one bedroom while you were filming?
We started with five girls when we moved into the house, then Carolyn left, and it was generally 3-4 girls most of the time in that room.
I would hate that. Did the lack of privacy unnerve you at any point?
You do get irritated by the lack of privacy, but not necessarily from the other castmates. I loved hanging with the girls and practically having slumber parties every night. It's more from a production side of things - constantly being microphoned and knowing they're hearing every little thing, wanting to say something important to your friend, but it's gotta be on camera. That's invasion of privacy. But we signed up for it I guess.
Boneface and you did not get along while he was on the show. If you saw him somewhere now, would you be cordial?
Boneface and I have since spoken about everything and he's apologized a few times for what he's said. I can forgive him and be nice, but I don't have to be his friend.
You're young enough to be my daughter, but you listen to Black Sabbath and Slayer. Have you seen them live?
I've seen Slayer countless times, but never Black Sabbath. I'd love to though! Going to concerts is one of my favorite things to do.
You told me last season's winner [Anthony Michaels] has tattooed you twice. Being as you're both from Tucson, did he influence you at all?
I feel like we've always had a mutual respect for each other's art and being Tucson-based tattooers - it's a very tight knit community. I keep up with his work on IG and I'm constantly amazed at what that dude can do.
What other artists have influenced you?
My favorite artists are Jeff Gogue, Emily Rose Murray, and Justin Hartman. But one of my best buddies Josh Hagan has taught me so much about tattooing and everything surrounding it; he's been one of my main influences being that I've always had that open line of communication with him, and he tells it like it is. He's not afraid to tell me when I messed up or when I killed it.
Ten years from now do you believe you'll still be tight with the other females from this season's cast?
I truly think I've made some lifelong friends. Geographically we are not the closest, and I'm sure life will get in the way in 10 years time, but this experience was one that will last a lifetime. Tattooing is in our blood, and therefore those ladies will always be in my life in some way or another. We proved our friendship right off the bat by having each other's backs when we really didn't have to, and we will always cherish that.
Are you somebody who has a definitive plan for 2017 or do you prefer to just let things come naturally?
I once booked myself close to a year, and that was a huge mistake for me. I got very sick and was out of commission for months, and that ruined all the scheduled appointments I had, and made for a lot of disgruntled clients, and changed a lot of plans. Life happens, and it'll never stop because of anyone's schedule. I've learned to appreciate leaving my life up to opportunity and not planning things too far in advance. I want to be open to any and all chances of something interesting coming up, such as conventions, vacations, family events, etc.
Are you going to try to convince your boyfriend to move back to Arizona with you or do you see yourself sticking around New York?
I left Arizona two years ago, and spent a year traveling and living in LA.... I've already let go of my attachment to living in AZ. I still visit and get my doses of home though. Like I said, i plan to keep my life open to all opportunities and new experiences, which is what brought me to NY. I'm loving living here with him.
What would we be surprised to learn about you?
Hmmm... I grew up playing soccer for 14 years... I am very silly at heart, and I'm obsessed with Disney!
Keep up with Nikki Simpson's work and life @NikkiSimpsonTattoos