Alternative Women of St. Louis
By Devon Fulford
Ahh, St. Louis, the “Gateway to the West.” Smacked down in central, Midwestern America, St. Louis isn’t a sleepy little burb by any stretch of the imagination. Home to several professional sports teams, the acclaimed City Museum, Forest Park, and—of course—the notable Gateway Arch, St. Louis is loaded with culture and art everywhere you look. St. Louis is situated on the Mississippi River and was founded in 1764 by Frenchmen who named the city after the King of France, Louis IX. From these illustrious beginnings, a city unlike any others in the States was formed.
Perhaps lesser known that some of this more celebrated information, is that St. Louis is also the birthplace and current home to many people who thrive in the alternative culture of this nation. Tattooed, pierced, and with multi-colored tresses, these unique individuals inhabit the boutiques, universities, clubs, offices, restaurants, and streets of St. Louis. To know them is to adore them, so let’s spend some time meeting a few of these distinctive beings, shall we?
Nikki Miller is an alternative model who’s been rocking the ink for the past ten years and doing so in front of the camera for nine. She says, “Alt modeling is a great way for us to express ourselves—sometimes in ways we didn’t think possible. Getting ink done is very important in my life because every tattoo represents a different chapter/story of my life. All my major stories are now on me, for all to see.” Is there any better reason to get ink? Nikki’s got it on lock.
Audery Leigh Bakke takes her experience as a tattooed model seriously. “Being an alternative model is important for me, because I get to be a part of the modeling world that showcases and embraces the uniqueness of beauty in our society. Especially being [both] multiracial and tattooed, I get an opportunity to represent other women in this spectrum.” Audery clearly has a full life, rife with gratitude and happiness. She says, “Tattoos enable me to express my individuality—creatively and artistically. All of [my tattoos] represent a spiritual element of who I am at the core, beneath the skin. To be able to showcase that art beautifully on my body means so much to me. Not only that, it is an honor to represent the many local artists that took so many hours to help me achieve the masterpiece that now adorns my body. I feel blessed and privileged to be recognized as an alternative model in the Saint Louis area.”
Gratified mother and alternative model Nicky Cauble has been getting tattoos for the past eleven years. Like many ink collectors, she’s proud of wearing her art on her body. She proclaims, “I love my ink. Every tattoo has a meaning and story behind it. My ink is the story of my life.” She goes on to describe some of her tattoos: “I got pancreatitis and was in the hospital for 31 days and the ICU for three—I almost died. The Calla lilies are a sign of rebirth.” Nicky, like many, was able to come out of a terrible experience changed by what had occurred. She opted not only to wear a memorial on her skin, but to alter other parts of her life as well. “After having a near death experience, I had a new look on life. I made amends with people I had fallen out with, got closer to family, and got involved in my community.”
Finally, one of St. Louis’ finest fashionistas, lifestyle and beauty blogger Jill Firns boasts some colorful artwork in the form of her ink—and her flashy hair. You can read more about Jill here, on her ever-evolving blog.
Next time you’re traveling across the country, make sure to allot some time to hang out in St. Louis. The food and brews are noteworthy, and there are tons of rad things to do, but the alternative people you’ll encounter are genuinely some of the best in the nation.