Brookline tattoo artist happy with 2nd place on Spike reality show
Sarah Miller may have lost the “Ink Master” title to fellow contestant Steve Tefft, but the cheery Brookline tattoo artist remains thrilled and puts the life-changing experience in perspective.
Out of some 13,000 tattoo artists — many of whom are at least 10 years older than the 27-year-old Miller — who applied to compete on the Spike television-reality show, Miller came in second place among 16 contestants. That is huge, says Miller, of the North Side.
“I'm feeling really great,” Miller says. “As I only have six years of experience, if they would have given me the title of Ink Master, I would have gotten a lot of flack from people in the industry. ... They respect somebody who was more of a veteran.
“I'm totally fine with it,” Miller says about the results. “I'm happy for Steve.”
As Miller stood there on stage with the other two finalists — Tefft and Sebastian Murphy — and sweated it out during those agonizing pauses from the judges who announced the contestants' fate, she breathed a sigh of relief when she wasn't eliminated by the popular vote. Murphy was eliminated because he got the fewest votes of the three from viewers throughout the show's third season.
“I'm so happy that I did not get voted off by America. That was my biggest fear. I had butterflies in my stomach,” Miller says. “As long as America didn't hate me, I was totally cool with whatever happened.”
The judges praised Miller's final project — two tattoos depicting a male and female figure from Norse mythology — for the tattoos' beauty and details, but they criticized the lack of color contrast with black.
On Tuesday, two dozen supporters gathered at her Wyld Chyld Tattoo parlor in Brookline to watch the live finale of “Ink Master.” Miller's tense friends, co-workers and clients held their breath as they waited for the judges to announce the final verdict on television. While they were disappointed that Miller didn't get the “Ink Master” title, her supporters expressed excitement and pride that she got as far as she did.
“I really thought she was going to win,” says Allie “Oxenblood” Nickel, a fellow Wyld Chyld artist. “I'm still very proud of her.
“For her to be ... up against all those guys ... is so impressive,” says Nickel, 24, of Oakland.
Dale Capellanio and Jackie Kirshtein — Miller's former classmates at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, and clients of hers — also expressed pride in Miller.
“Second place is better than no place,” says Capellanio, 35, of Bethel Park. “It was amazing.”
Kirshtein, 29, of Downtown, says she was impressed that Miller continually pushed herself outside her comfort zone as she inked her tattoos during the season.
If you want a tattoo from Miller, get in line. Miller has heard from people around the country — along with Canada, the United Kingdom and other places — who want to come to Pittsburgh to get inked by her. She is booked until July, but she has a waiting list.
Kellie B. Gormly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-320-7824.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Rossi: Looking at the next great Steeler
- Steelers swap draft pick for Eagles cornerback
- After early criticism, Haley has Steelers offense poised to be even better
- McCullers’, McLendon’s prowess in clogging trenches crucial to Steelers defense
- Shell shovels millions into proposed Beaver County plant site
- EPA diktats: Pushing back
- Starting 9: Examining Pirates’ deadline decisions
- Penguins not alone in top-heavy approach to salary cap
- Pirates notebook: New acquisition Happ more than happy to fill spot in rotation
- Steelers notebook: Injuries finally become issue at training camp
- Reds solve Cole, stave off Pirates’ 9th-inning rally