By Katie Brünk
Lotus Clubs is not a word a lot of people in Denver who are heavily tattooed like to hear. It is true that they reject anyone with face, hand, and neck tattoos. I for one, a heavily tattooed woman who used to get pretty riled up for being judged improperly due to my tattoos, have come to really appreciate some of the team who work for Lotus, and this is why. I began a new spiritual adventure in my life following what is called, “The divine” or as some may know it, destiny. I told myself I wasn’t going to say no to any opportunity unless it involved the potential to violate my morals or lead to self harm. Carrie, the marketing director at Chlòe, contacted me asking if I wanted to be in a bikini contest for their yearly calendar. Normally, I’d say no to this. Yes, even with $500 on the table. It’s too intimidating. Walking in a bikini in front of everyone, attending Chlòe on a Friday night didn’t sound appealing. I thought to myself, “I’m too tattooed to be in a LOTUS Club Calendar” but I couldn’t say no, it was an opportunity, I had to do it. No excuses.
So I went and made runner up my first night. The girls at Chlòe told me they were tired of blonde, tan girls winning. They wanted a girl like me to be in the calendar for once. That changed my whole perspective on this competition. I went back again and won. Winning $500 wasn’t even the most exciting part of my night. It was the fact I even got picked, that I have the possibility of paving some kind of road for tattoo acceptance at Lotus Clubs. Some of my closest friends refused show up to the competition because they didn’t want to give their business to a place that discriminates against tattoos. It makes many people I know very angry, and throughout this whole process, I have learned a few things about how we judge others. In order to gain tattoo acceptance, we must be willing to practice acceptance. If we want respect, then we must give that to receive.
After this whole process, Carrie asked me to become the face of a local clothing company, Guise Ink. I think very often…if I were like many tattooed Denverites and I turned down this opportunity because of my anger toward Lotus’s tattoo policy, I would lose some meaningful friendships I have made with some of the great women at Chlòe, about $700, and no tattooed girl would be in the yearly Chlòe calendar breaking barriers. Moral of the story – if we wish to see some change, we must make friends, not enemies.