Pretty, Please… With a Cherry on Top Model Cherokee Meade Redefines Classic Beauty
Beauty and tattoos have something in common: They are both only skin deep. They also have something else in common when viewed in the pictorial context of scarlet-haired raven and model Cherokee Meade: They become the perfect amalgamation of style and substance, and this perfect marriage helps to define the essence of this beautiful stranger. Peel back the layers of the skin and the ink is still there, still visible. Peel back the layers of Cherry, as her childhood friends have nicknamed her, and the beauty is still there as well, proving the timeless “skin deep” adage to be true. Although the phrase itself is cliché and mundane, the model, known to the world as “Cherry Dollface,” is quite the opposite…..
Bubbly, sweet, and steadfast in her morals and beliefs, this one-of-a-kind siren is the most down-to-earth person you could ever hope to meet. She’s much more “girl-next-door” than she is Suicide Girl, in fact, Cherry made her mark without doing nude or lingerie modeling. “I got to where I am just by being myself. You have to think about the future and what you’re going to be able to look back on and be proud of. Morals are something that you just can’t let go of,” Cherry explains when pressed about giving advice to aspiring models.
So how did Cherry get to the cover girl status she enjoys today? Well, by having an amazing sense of who she is, for starters. This self-awareness led to her first modeling experience and her first cover honor—by accident. “I used to go to car shows a lot since I had an old car. I was just sitting in it, and a photographer took a picture of me without my knowledge and it ended up on the cover of a magazine,” she describes with a laugh.
Beyond Cherry’s relaxed and comfortable demeanor, that photographer was undoubtedly captivated by Cherry’s pristine face, one that harkens back to the glory days of old Hollywood glamour and style. Being cut from that cloth has helped her sky-rocket in the pin-up world, though she refuses to be pigeon-holed within the genre. “Pin-up is not a career; most pin-up models have a day job. It’s very hard to make a living off of it. There are probably two or three tops who can do that. For me, I want to do something different and push the boundaries,” she says. Her cutting edge shoots with zany photographer Andy Hartmark have done just that, as they exude a new definition of artistic beauty while diversifying her already impressive portfolio.
Cherry has also tasted success thanks to her unparalleled zest for life, something that also struck the young model by chance. “I have had two heart surgeries, and in my first, I flat-lined for 20 seconds, so I have the image of the flat-line tattooed on my wrist,” she explains. The experience helped her to prioritize her dreams, which are much more rooted in reality than they are in the surreal world of tattoo art. “I want to be a mom and have a family and a husband,” she says, smiling through her words.This aspiring mother laughs when she remembers the way she chose to disclose her heavily tattooed body to her own mother as a 19-year-old. “I kept putting it off until one night I got super drunk and decided to send my mom an email and put it all out on the line. I woke up the next morning to a phone call and her screaming at the top of her lungs!”While she can laugh about it now, Cherry warns young people to be wary of all the baggage and attention that comes along with being heavily tattooed, stressing that the commitment can sometimes be overwhelming. “I never want to get my hands or my neck done, I like to be able to cover mine if I have to,” she says, adding, “I just have an old-school perspective on it. I’m all for people expressing themselves but there’s something kind of off-putting about a person who has a neck or hand tattoo and doesn’t have any other tattoos on the rest of their body.”Her mom has since warmed up to the idea of her daughter having so many tattoos, thanks in part to the mainstream’s sudden acceptance of tattoo art, a trend that Cherry has “mixed feelings” about. She is quick to point out that her tattoos initially helped her get modeling work as she stood out from many of the all-American types, but now times have changed. “Now I’m such a cliché, ‘the heavily tattooed pin up model.’ It’s strange how in five or six years, everything has changed,” she laments.
Cherry can rest assured that she has nothing to worry about, as her timeless beauty, humble attitude, and willingness to push the boundaries of her modeling career will undoubtedly keep her ahead of the pack. She credits many influences with opening her eyes and mind to what art can and should be about, including Sabina Kelly and David LaChappelle. She also acknowledges the group of amazing tattooists that she has worked with over the years. Damon, Jeffery Page, and Taku over at True Tattoo in Hollywood, Eno from Guru in San Diego, and Oliver Peck, whom Cherry worked with on the Warped Tour, have all contributed to her appreciation for tattoo art.
The young girl who began her tattoo career with a cherry on her chest has certainly paid her dues, well beyond rain-soaked evening-gown photo shoots and accidental cover placements. As her playful brown eyes glance into the future, she insists that she takes success in modeling with a grain of salt.“For me, modeling has always been about having fun. If it’s not fun, I don’t want to do it, so I’ll only keep doing it as long as I’m pushing myself and having fun. Once that ends, it ends, y’know? Things start wrinkling and things start sagging, and I want to have a family someday. I also have a day job and a degree, so I take modeling for what it’s worth.”
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