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Who is Ryan Ashley Malarkey, winner of Ink Master Season 8?

Ryan Ashley Malarkey, the first female winner of Ink Master. Pic: @ryanashleymalarkey/Instagram

Ryan Ashley Malarkey became the first ever woman to claim the Ink Master crown when she won the Spike reality TV tattooing show.

But who is she, and what is her background?

Incredibly, Ryan, fro Kingston, Pennsylvania, had only been tattooing for four years before she appeared on Ink Master, starting when she was 24 years old.

As well as being a tattoo artist, she is the owner of The Strange & Unusual Oddities Parlor which has branches in both Kingston and Philadelphia, PA, and which she set up with her fiance Josh Balz.

Ryan with her fiance Josh Balz
Ryan with her fiance Josh Balz. Pic: @ryanashleymalarkey/Instagram

It sells a bizarre collection of, well, strange and unusual things from around the world — including things like taxidermied animals, skulls, bones, rare antiques, and novelty items.

But obviously, she also does tattoo art for clients through her website Ryan Ashley Tattoo.

Thanks to her appearance on Ink Master, she’s now also a big personality online, with more than 400,000 fans on her Instagram, 50,000 on Facebook and 65,000 fans on Twitter at the time of writing.

Her Instagram is probably your main port of call if you want to check her out online, where you can check out pictures of her day-to-day life as well as pictures of her artwork.

Being a tattoo artist, Ryan is a fan of body art herself and is covered in tattoos pretty much everywhere — including on her legs, arms, torso, neck and the side of her face.

A photo of Ashley showing the extent of her tattoos. Pic: @ryanashleymalarkey/Instagram

Many of the tattoos on her body focus on nature, with several featuring things like flowers and insects. All of them are black and grey, rather than color.

She has the year 1993 tattooed across the fingers of one hand, and also has several piercings, including one in her nose.

Ryan studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, and was in the class of 2007.

Before getting into tattooing she worked as a design associate/developmental artist at a private label fashion company in Manhattan, Meryl Diamond Ltd.

Julian is the editor of Monsters & Critics. He has worked as a journalist for more than ten years, previously as an editor at the... read more
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