‘Ink Master’ exclusive: Marisa LaRen on elimination, alliances, and romance with Tyler Nolan

There has never been a female winner on “Ink Master”, so we have been hoping that this was going to be the season that it happened. When we saw that there was only 3 women cast and that they were all apprentices we became worried that the odds were stacked against them, but the women have held their own this season and the woman we were easily the most impressed with was Marisa LaRen.

Marisa only had 3 years tattooing experience (the person with the least experience in the whole competition), but she managed to outlast big players like Miami Burgess, and St. Marq and make it to the halfway point of the competition. She fulfilled every challenge the judges asked of her like a boss and showed a diverse portfolio of styles and techniques, so it was really disappointing to see her go home this week on the Neptune tattoo – which tripped up pretty much every artist there. We had a chance to talk to Marisa about her time on the show, her elimination and her relationship with Tyler Nolan (making her and Tyler the first “Ink Master” power couple), and she was just as cool as she was on the show.


CarterMatt.com: Were you surprised that your Neptune tattoo sent you home over some of the others?

Marisa LaRen: Yes I was. I liked my tattoo and thought that I did a good job that time. My client was incredibly happy about it as well. I fee like there were worse tattoos then mine, but sometimes that is the way the show goes.

If you had a chance to come back into the competition, what would you do differently?

For only tattooing for 3 years being thrown tattoos that I was not comfortable with doing was very stressful, but I think if I went back into the competition I would try to relax myself, so I could put out better tattoos. Over stressing things can really take you out of your game. I had that happen a few times.

You were able to knock out artists with 10, 15, even 20 years experience: Were you worried going into the competition that you had the least amount of experience or did you have a plan of attack?

I feel that I have potential and talent especially for only tattooing 3 short years. I was definitely worried about competing with artists that have been doing this so much longer than me… Not so much because of the talent level (that’s always a concern), but more the fact that with experience comes the ability to be able to adapt to more situations since you have seen more and done more tattoos.

Was there a style of tattoo that you wanted to showcase your talent in, but didn’t have a chance?

I do a lot of neo-traditional tattoos and also dot-work mandalas. I didn’t have a chance to showcase either of those styles.

There were a lot of alliances going on this season, did you find them to be helpful or a hindrance?

I feel like it can be helpful for you to have people that want you to do well as well. At the end of the day you still have to do the tattoos and compete against everyone. So even with someone there having your back, it never provides you safety. It’s still every man for themselves ;)

Do you feel that having a relationship with Tyler helped with the stress of the competition and are you and Tyler still a couple?

I think it definitely helped with the stress. Having someone there that can help calm you down or pep talk you when you have a bad day is always positive. Especially in a stressful situation like a competition. We are still a couple. We are super happy together and I’m lucky to have him.

What has life been like for you now that the show is airing?

It has been pretty much the same. Sometimes people recognize me on the street and that’s interesting to get used to. I stay busy at the shop, so that’s good.

If clients want to book you for a tattoo, what is the best way for them to get in touch with you?

They can email me at [email protected] that’s my work email.


A big thanks to Marisa for chatting with us here at CarterMatt – it was disappointing to see her go, but we were really impressed by how well she did with her limited experience. She obviously had a great mentor in Erik who was able to download a lot of information to her in a short period of time and with her natural talent in tattooing, she showed that she can play ball with the masters.

Were you disappointed to see Marisa go home this week on “Ink Master”? Leave us a comment below and tell us who you thought should’ve gone home.

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