Best Ink, a reality-series that “lays bare the cutthroat and wildly unpredictable world of tattoo artistry,” got a little visit from our favorite celebrity good girls, Vanessa and Angela Simmons. The two served as guest judges for the newly premiered show in which 10 tattoo artists from across the U.S. compete for a $100,000 cash prize and a cover feature in Tattoo magazine. To spice up the competition, there’s a “flash challenge” in which the competitors' artistic abilities—not their skills with the needle—are showcased and judged. Last week, Angela and Vanessa Simmons guest judged, presenting their Pastry shoe-line as a canvas for the competitors.
EBONY: What made you all want to bring Pastry on board for the Best Ink competition?
Vanessa Simmons: We thought it’d be really interesting to [pair] the art of tattooing with our brand. [For Pastry], it’s always been about individuality and expressing yourself through fashion, and tattooing kind of offers the same thing for people all around the globe, so we thought it’d be an interesting connection.
EBONY: Tattoos are definitely used as a form of personal expression. What is one of the highlights from your guest-star appearance on the show?
Angela Simmons: I guess just being able to see the other artists’ work. I think as an artist, being able to look at other people's creativity inspires me. So just being able to see what they do and watch them do it on the spot was really cool.
EBONY: Were there any works that stood out to you?
AS: There were a couple of different ones. There was one that kind of used my dad for inspiration—
VS: Yeah, that was awesome!
AS: I found that very creative and a cool concept which you get to see. I really just appreciated the artists' work.
VS: It was really hard to actually judge, because we respect artists so much and we respect their work. Having to pick one was just… hard.
EBONY: That’s understandable. Will the winning artwork be made available for purchase through Pastry, or was this something just meant to be fun and artistic?
VS: It was definitely something fun and artistic for us to be a part of. The Flash Challenge contestants did win a prize though.
EBONY: Of course your involvement in the shows brings up the question as to whether you ladies have any tattoos. Do either of you have any?
VS: Angela has, like, a million! The only one tattoo that I have was [from being] peer-pressured by Angela herself. It’s behind my right ear—it’s a little pink heart. I don’t feel too bad about it, because both my mom and her have it, so it’s like our little thing.
AS: I have nine tattoos. They’re fun and they’re cool, and it’s another creative outlet that you can have on your body. For me, I use it for different inspirational things. I’ll put some quotes that are inspiring to me or something that I’ll wake up and think about daily, just as a reminder for myself. I have one on my shoulder that says “just breathe,” because I feel like some days I just need to breathe. So there are different things on me that remind me of how I feel.
EBONY: What’s in store next for each of you? I know you ladies like to stay busy!
VS: Well, Pastry is definitely something that we’re both doing together, and at this time, I’ve just been really concentrating on being a professional actress and working consistently in that way. But otherwise, I’m still doing fashion with my sister!
AS: I’m currently working on my website, which is AngelaIAm.com; working on putting an e-commerce site on there. That should hopefully be launched in the next few months. I'm also working on my clothing line, Angela by Angela Simmons. There’s just really interesting stuff that I’m doing on television as well. Last week, I was on BET's The Game, so I’m excited to see that.
Best Ink airs Wednesdays at 10 ET/PT on Oxygen.