• Anita Karr

Ryan Ashley and the Magical Scrunchie Exchange: Part 2

Matt took out his phone and made a call to Sami Hajar, Creative Director of Inked Magazine. Moments later, as we made our way toward the doors which hosted the convention, out came Sami, looking all serious, as he always does. “You guys made it,” he said, as he hugged Matt and then hugged me. He handed me a large manila envelope, the contents of which were six wristbands and four lanyards that had vendor and artist credentials attached to them - we were almost in! I was so freaking excited I almost forgot to breathe! “Follow me and I’ll show you where to set up,” Sami said in a serious voice. I think Matt tried to crack a joke with Sami to see if he would lighten up a bit, but it didn’t work; even though Matt and I both laughed nervously.

As we walked through the doors of the convention Sami pointed out our little area and where we would set up our booth - it was right in the same row, connected to Inked Magazine’s top artists; some of the top artists in the industry. We introduced ourselves to a few people that we didn’t really know and continued to set up our booth for the weekend. Left and right artists and vendors were walking by, saying hello to their old friends and acquaintances, making new ones. This was so damn cool to me! I couldn’t believe that I was there. And then it happened! Then I saw her! My favorite female tattoo artist! The one that I’ve been reserving a premiere spot on my body for - the one and only, outstandingly and otherworldly captivating Ryan Ashley Malarkey. My jaw hit the floor. I was frozen except for my right arm which was hitting Matt’s arm so hard and fast that I definitely bruised him.

Her beauty and presence are very hard to miss, with her silvery long hair infectious smile. Matt looked up and saw her too, but was too busy putting the finishing touches on the booth to be bothered. I sat there for a little while and just fawned and fangirled over her - I mean, I have seen her on tv and social media, but there was, just a few feet away and in the flesh. Ahhhhh! I was losing my shit. She was right down the row from us in the same set of booths! I was determined to meet her before the weekend was over. I couldn’t stop talking about her and droning on about how I needed to meet her. But I was shy and a little embarrassed by the full-on fangirl episode I was having.

Finally after about a half hour of my nonstop Ryan Ashley rant, Matt had had enough so he stood up, waved over Sami, and said, “Sam, Anita is driving me crazy. Can you take her over to meet Ryan Ashley, please?” My eyes almost popped out of my head. I think I punched Matt again even harder than before and tried to play it cool at the same time. That wasn’t working. Sami smiled devilishly because he could detect my embarrassment, eagerness, and desire to meet her - he also loved the flex, so this was perfect for him. I think this is the first time I had seen him smile all day. He grabbed my hand as I took a deep breath and whisked me about ten yards down the row to where she was setting up her booth.

As my soul left my body, I thought to myself, "OMG! This was it!

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