‘Ink Master: Rivals’ exclusive: Emily Elegado on strategy, illness and life after the show

Ink MasterEmily Elegado was easily one of the most polarizing personalities on “Ink Master: Rivals” but she was definitely one of our favorites. She produced some pretty bad ass tattoos, she played the game hard and kept everyone on their toes – so what are we going to do without her?

Luckily we had a chance to chat with Emily about her time on the show and she opened up to us about her strong personality, her game play, how difficult it was to have her illness exposed on the show and what life has been like since being on “Ink Master”.

CarterMatt: What made you want to try out for “Ink Master” and if you were asked back would you do it again?

Emily Elegado: Yes, I’d go back for another season. Nothing would make me happier than to have another chance at 100k.

What was it like being part of this competition, was it as stressful as it looks?

This competition was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done in my life. The stress really effects you. I’ll never look at a reality competition again and think, that looks easy, I could do that. It was crazy, but I loved it.

The reaction to you from fans this season has been polarizing – what has life been like outside of the show?

Life outside of the show has been stressful. While it’s endearing to receive all the well wishes and bouts of encouragement from fans, it’s difficult to stomach all the negativity from “the haters”. I try to not let it bother me, and just keep on tattooing.

You had a very strong personality on the show and you were able to really get into people’s heads – was this part of your game play strategy?

Yes, I felt after seeing all of the real competition in the house I had to be ruthless. I wasn’t going to roll over and die. I think my strategy helped me and hindered me in some aspects, but I don’t regret the choices I made.

We saw you battling endometriosis on the show, how difficult was it to push through the pain and tattoo?

That was a horrible day for me. I never wanted anything like that to come out on national television, but sometimes you can’t control your body and stress will do incredible things to it. I was proud of myself for pushing through even though it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever been through. I came there to tattoo and that’s what I was going to do, come hell or high water.

You tried to put one over on Angel during the gluteus maximus challenge: Did you realize that the canvas was going to be affected as a result of that?

What I did to Angel was a test. I wanted to see if he’d realize the mistake that he was going to make. I also wanted to see if he would redraw the design at all. He didn’t decide to redraw it, I don’t believe that the canvas suffered for the piece, I still like that design.

Did you really think that Joshua was trying to put one over on Julia during the interlocking tattoo challenge or was that game play?

I truly believe that Josh was trying to pull one over on Julia in the forearm challenge. It was very obvious that she wasn’t going to succeed. Maybe if they would’ve done some fun girly colorful flowers or something along those lines, something Julia does on a daily basis, it would’ve been an equal match. But with it being portraits, it was obvious that Josh knew Julia was going to fail.

Has your rivalry with Aaron been squashed since the show?

For the most part, Aaron and my rivalry has been squashed. We still bicker like a married couple, but we get along much better having gone through this insane adventure together.

Now that you are no longer on the show, who are you rooting for to win?

Who am I rooting for to win? That is a toss up. I know who’s amazing and I know who isn’t. As far as a winner, I just can’t wait to see who it’ll be.

If clients want to book you for a tattoo, what is the best way for them to do that?

Bookings can be done by calling my home shop “Roses and Ruins” at 843.419.6532. They can also go online to my personal Facebook page and message me there. I’m always booking for conventions and guest spots so keep up with me on all of my social media outlets.


Emily is someone we are definitely going to miss watching every week: As we have been saying all season – she entertained us every week and we hope Spike TV decides to offer her a headlining show. They have so many tattoo shows, but none of them are headlined by a woman (just as “Ink Master” is still missing a female winner after 5 seasons)… Emily would be perfect.

If you are looking for more news on “Ink Master: Rivals” then head over to the link here where you can check out previews, reviews, interviews with eliminated artists (Caroline Evans, Elton “LT” Duarte, Jayvo Scott, Tim Lees, Ryan Eternal, Robbie Ripoll, Ty’Esha Reels and Angel Bauta) and podcasts all about the show (or head here if you want to download our podcasts from iTunes).

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