The days of narrow-minded ideals of beauty are over. Embracing your individuality and candidly expressing yourself in the manner in which you desire reigns supreme as means of self love. Tattooed model and trailblazer, Nik Hampshire, is making his mark in the world of modeling and celebrating alternative means of beauty along the way. I touched base with the trendsetter who has been photographed around the world by elite and prestigious photographers; here’s what Nik had to say.
Tell us about yourself. Where were you born and raised and how has it help shape the man that you are today?
My name’s Nik Hampshire and I was actually born in Lawrence, Massachusetts but grew up in Derry, New Hampshire. NH is pretty low key with not a lot going on so we had to make our own fun. Summer’s filled with hiking and cliff jumping. Winters spent shredding the mountains on our snowboards. Also, not a whole lot of diversity so being half black I kinda always felt like the odd man out, which was fine by me. Forced me to be unique and confident in who I was. That’s definitely something I carried with me always.
What intrigues you about being a model?
Being a model is really rad because it allows me to challenge and change up my style often. It also gives me a bit of a platform to help make tattoos and piercings a little more acceptable throughout society as I’m seen more and more places with different brands. My favorite part about it tho is it’s allowed me to live life just being myself. I don’t have to work someone else’s terms or schedules. I don’t have to wear a uniform or do anything that I don’t really want to do. the freedom to travel and meet people and experience more of the world is by far my favorite part about modeling.
What has been your favorite shoot/campaign work to date?
My shoot with the fam, Love Sick London has DEFINITELY been my favorite campaign. In one shoot I became part of a family that I’ll have forever! The brand is rad as hell and Danny and James are brothers for life now. The homie Haris Nukem made us all look like the baddest kids on the whole damn planet and the rest of us all just became family from that point on. So rad!
How many tattoos do you have in total? Is there any particular tattoo artist that you would like to recognize?
I have no idea how many tattoos I have. It’s seems like such a strange question once you get as covered as I am. Most of them are connected at this point so it’s hard to differentiate. An artist I’d like to recognize is another Love Sick brother, Travis Cross! The kid does killer work! Smashed it on my “mates before dates” Adventure Time tattoo!
How would you describe your personal style? Where do you derive inspiration from?
I often refer to my style as “ragged”. By this I mean my appearance alone, before you even add clothes, is a little rough. My tattoos and piercings are evidence that I’m not “pure” or “clean cut”. It’s this raggedness that plays into whatever I decide to wear over it that makes up my style. Whether I’m leaning into my hardcore/punk sensibilities with shredded black jeans, vans and a leather jacket or done up in a collared shirt and a blazer, that ragged, seasoned look of experience I think is seen and allows me to bring a bit of a unique style to whatever I’m wearing. I love taking classic looks and just bending them around my personality until they come off as something new and expressive of my own personal style.
Tell us about your first tattoo.
My first tattoo was of a varsity X on each of my forearms. They represented my commitment to the straight edge lifestyle back when I was 18. For those that don’t know, straight edge is a counterculture movement/philosophy about abstaining from drugs and drinking and being sexually responsible. It was founded and still mostly exists in the hardcore music scene. This lifestyle has helped define me as a person and I still adhere to it today!
What is your perception of the Pokemon Go craze?
“I want to be the very best! Like no one ever was!” Yo I was so hype for this game before most people even knew it was coming out haha. I actually made a new Apple ID with a fake Australian address so I could download it a day early because they got it before the US did! I was a fan of the original three games but haven’t played since back then so it’s so fun getting back into that world in a fun social and healthy way. I think it’s really great how well it’s gotten people out of the house, got them exercising and meeting new people. Anyone hating on it is lame as hell. I think it’s so sad when people feel the need to hate on something just because they don’t get into it. I’m all about my Star Wars, my comics and my Pokemon!
How important is communication between yourself and the photographer that you’ll be working with? How do you prepare yourself for an upcoming shoot?
Communication is imperative in pretty much every facet of life when dealing with other people. This is especially true when two artists are working together to create a shared project like photography, especially when the art will primarily showcase me. I want to be aware of how I will be represented as we create together. So we talk about concept and style. We talk location and mood. A lot goes into the shoot before we ever even meet a lot of times. To prepare I just make sure we both share a similar an idea for the end product as we can and show up bringing that heat!
Any final words for aspiring models/influencers?
Lastly, I’d just say: Do you! It’s true that originality is hard to come by these days as everything’s been done before but we as people are individuals and you should always strive to represent that through your style and actions! Find a way to make things your own!