PHOTOS Tiffany ‘Tattooz’ Perez is ready for the spotlight with Black Ink Crew Season 5

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Black Ink Crew
is heating things up with some major new cast additions for Season 5, and perhaps none of the fresh faces are better prepared for their time in the spotlight’s glare than Tiffany Perez. She’s definitely no stranger to reality TV cameras–though for a reason she might like to forget–and, as a woman, has been wrestling for attention in an overwhelmingly male industry from day one.

The official Tiffany Perez Black Ink Crew bio informs us that she got her start in the industry thanks to a curious birthday gift:

Tiffany Perez was born and raised in Patterson, NJ and started tattooing at the age of 21 after her father bought her a tattoo gun for her birthday. Dutchess prevented Tiffany from previously working at Black Ink, but now she’s back and ready to prove she deserves to be on staff.

Having worked for many years in the male-dominated tattoo industry, Tiffany has learned how to go after what she wants and isn’t afraid to go toe to toe with the guys in the shop—or the females in the shop, for that matter.

Devotees of tattoo-based reality TV shows will recall that Tiffany, 28, got her start in front of the cameras when she appeared on a 2012 episode of Oxygen’s Best Ink. Unfortunately, Tiffany wound up with the dubious distinction of being the show’s first-ever eliminated contestant. As Tiffany herself explained at the time, she had “only been tattooing for about two-and-a-half years,” and was initially self-taught. But it wasn’t long before she had an awakening: “I said, ‘Well, you know, I want to learn the professional way.” Putting tattoos on you[rself] is permanent, so I decided to do an apprenticeship.”

But, before becoming a tattoo artist full-time, Tiffany was a prominent hip-hop dancer, as well as a member of her sorority’s step team. “That was my main focus,” she explained. “So, now that I’m in this field, I’m just going head-on strong.”

Tattoo artistry took Tiffany to Miami for a time, but, while there, her life would take a tragic turn. The aunt with whom Tiffany had been living was killed in what Tiffany’s artist bio refers to as “a tragic domestic homicide.” In the wake of that tragedy, Tiffany decided to move back to New Jersey “for good.”

As we’ll see during Black Ink Crew Season 5, Tiffany’s passion is black and gray work–a skill she’s honed to an expert point at Ink Gallery, her very own studio in West Paterson NJ, just across the river from the Black Ink Crew’s digs. Here’s a small sample of some of her work:

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One of Tiffany’s more prominent clients is former Love & Hip Hop Hollywood star Omarion. His shoulder work is all Tiffany:

#Freshout I been working. ??? OG #newvisualscoming #newmusiccoming

A video posted by Omarion (@1omarion) on

Other high-profile clients include Maino; James Ihedigbo of the Buffalo Bills; and former MTV Real World contestant Nick Brown. And, last but not least, Teen Mom 2‘s Javi Marroquin is a more recent client:

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You can follow Tiffany on Twitter here, and on Instagram here; you can also book a session with her through her official web site. And, of course, don’t forget to check her out when Black Ink Crew Season 5 drops Wednesday nights on VH1.

(Photo credits: Who is Tiffany Perez via Twitter, Oxygen, VH1, Instagram)

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