AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Inked is one of the nation’s leading tattoo magazines, and Austintown’s Deborah Caggiano wants to be its cover girl.
Tuesday afternoon, at the Classroom Elite Fitness Studio in Austintown that she owns, Caggiano led a spinning class.
She’s passionate about fitness and about the tattoos that adorn her body.
“You know, I think tattoos can take you back to a place that was really dark and remind you that you got out of it. They also can take you back to a place of new life or new beginnings,” she said.
Caggiano is so proud of her tattoos that she has entered a contest to be the cover girl for Inked magazine, with the winner getting $25,000.
“I kind of assumed they were looking for like legit models, not just like the everyday girl,” Caggiano said.
She is 48 with two grown sons.
“The more I looked into it, I was like, you know, this would be kind of cool,” Caggiano said.
She was about 40 years old when she got her first tattoo.
“Just shy of 40. Jeremy from Artistic Dermagraphics did my very first one and I’ve been lucky enough to be tattooed by several local tattoo artists and they all are just impeccable. I give all the props to the tattoo artists,” Caggiano said.
Her tattoos have stories, some centering on her late father. Her first one ever was his Air Force wings across her back. After he died, she would often see hummingbirds, which she put on her right arm next to grains of wheat, which represent new life.
“I put the new life and the hummingbird together because when my father passed away, I really felt like man, I just didn’t really feel like I had any life left,” Caggiano said.
Her left arm is wrapped with a piece of twisted metal.
“This was something very, very deep and dark for me when I was in a state of anorexia, and just how twisted and congested and chaotic my life was,” she said.
Caggiano currently has 21 tattoos that cost between $8,000 and $10,000.
She understands they can offend some people.
“You know, I would definitely be willing to cover them up. I want to make sure I’m respectful wherever I go. But luckily for me, in the fitness industry, I’m able to display them and I’m super proud of them and I can’t wait to get more,” she said.
Caggiano has a scar on her lower stomach — the result of surgery — that she was self-conscious of. She had a tattoo drawn around it and now calls it something beautiful.
She already has plans for the $25,000 grand prize.
“I’ll put some into my local economy with some more ink and give back where I can. I’d love to be able to help my sister out and maybe take a vacation,” Caggiano said.
To vote for Caggiano, head over to her Facebook page for the link. You can vote every day until Jan. 28.