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'For a word it has a lot of meaning:' Why one Hedley fan covered her tattoo

'For a word it has a lot of meaning:' Why one Hedley fan covered her tattoo
From CBC - March 15, 2018

Staring at her Hedley tattoo one last time, Sabrina Johnston is ready to erase everything it represents.

Inside a Toronto tattoo parlour, she twists her wrist around for a glimpse at the black ink marking that reads: "Invincible." It's the title of a Hedley song many fans consider among their most resonanta story of moving past the darkest timesand Johnston wants it gone forever.

"It has a lot of meaning," the 20-year-old says, explaining why she chose the word three years ago. Partly an homage to a Hedley anthem, she also considered it a symbol of her perseverance through several emotionally trying experiences as a teenager.

"But a lot of people associate it with a Hedley song," she adds. "And that's not what I want now."

Hedley's lead singer Jacob Hoggard was accused of sexual misconduct earlier this year, and while his lawyer denied any wrongdoing, the singer acknowledged his "reckless" and "dismissive" behaviour towards women in the past.

None of it sat well with Johnston, who asked herself whether she was comfortable with the message her tattoo sent.

"I can separate the music," Johnston says. "But at the same time, people in my life have gone through things like that, so I could not support that [with my tattoo]."

Over the past several weeks, Johnston has been considering how to deal with her once celebratory tattoo, which had become a festering representation of negativity.

She read a social media post by a tattoo artist offering to conceal Hedley ink for a nominal priceor free if fans could not afford to pay.

Johnston decided it was a prime opportunity to make the ultimate choice and cover her tattoo. She booked an appointment with Lizzie Renaud, the owner of Speakeasy Tattoo, and drove an hour and a half from Cambridge, Ont., to downtown Toronto.

Upstairs in Renaud's shop, her colleagues buzz away on their own designs, but she's firmly stuck to a promise of finding space in her schedule to overwrite Hedley markings.

After making the offer several weeks ago, she's received about a dozen serious expressions of interest. This will be the third Hedley cover-up she's completed this month.

The attention she's received for her offer is more than she anticipated. It has not all been positive, but Renaud says she's committed to delivering on her promise.

'A very practice-what-you-preach moment'

The idea sprung from conversations with her female colleagues around Christmas last year, as the ripples of the #MeToo movement began affecting the tattooing community.

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