Kymme shares her story of why she got a tattoo

Kymme, Tattoo + You, A Photo Story of Body Ink

Kymme shares her story of why she got a tattoo in Tattoo + You, A Photo Story of Body Ink. 

In her words: 

They say that every tattoo has a story; here’s mine.

I never thought I would ever get a tattoo. I thought it would be a hindrance to being a performer playing different roles. 

I was diagnosed with oral cancer at the base of the tongue and my whole world turned upside down. This would be devastating to anyone; as a performer-teacher-director I knew it would be paralyzing if I was to let it take hold. 

As treatment goes, if they couldn’t fry this cancer with radiation, then they would have to cut out my tongue. No thanks! Not a part of my plan! Keeping positive with a sense of humour and a vision for the future was my plan.

Prior to being dealt the cancer-card my plan was to go and work with elephants. Elephants fascinate and inspire me. So my happy place during my many rounds of radiation was to imagine looking into the eye of an elephant. I had always used the mantra Trunks Up when working with students and cast and crew of new productions. Trunks Up means good luck and remove all obstacles

Support and encouragement came from my students, past and current, their families and the whole community. Everybody (including my nurses and oncologists) was wearing Trunks Up pins. It was a long journey with many continuing challenges but I am grateful for what I have. 

Never leave things unsaid and pass on a Trunks Up to anyone who needs it because we all have obstacles to remove. Surrounded by my team of supporters I received my first tattoo designed by a former student.  I beat cancer, I looked into the eye of an elephant and, yes, I got a tattoo.


Check out a larger image of Kymme and the growing gallery of tattoo portraits and their stories. 

Tattoo + You, A Photo Story of Body Ink began as a book 10 years ago. The project continues online today. If you would like to participate in this project, please send a message below:

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