The Ink Link is an ongoing project at CN&CO that showcases tattoos in the workplace. One of the great things about a tattoo is it goes against the commonly-held viewpoint that “what you see is what you get”. There’s a misguided belief in certain quarters that in order to be a working professional, it is categorically *impossible* to have a tattoo… because how can someone with a tattoo be a professional? We are putting paid to that perception through the stories showcased in the Ink Link. If you or anyone you know would like to be featured, please get in contact with us. This week’s Ink Link is written by Emi and is the second part of her Italian Ink Link, featuring her cousin Mirella Cannata (now McKivergan). 

For those of you who don’t know Gianluca and I, we form part of one BIG FAT ITALIAN FAMIGLIA. A large part of growing up involved being surround by cousins and family, in the comfort of family homes. Mix in a bunch of parents (genitori), Zia’s (aunts), Zio’s (uncles), Nonni (grandparents) and cugini (cousins) and voila, the family tree is complete

I like to think of my family as a perfect pizza – a mix of a perfectly cooked pizza base (my grandparents), a rich, flavoursome Napoletana sauce (my parents), fleshly sliced mozzarella cheese (my uncle and aunts) and of course all the best Italian toppings you can think of (my  cousins). One of which is this month’s Ink Link candidate. My cousin and soul sister, Mirella, better known to me as Miri.

I once received a random phone call from Miri asking me to go on a secret mission with her. I wish I could say I was surprised to say that we landed up at a tattoo parlour but this was by no means the case, with Miri having already sneakily visited her tattoo artists for a few small yet extremely significant works of art that would be on her body permanently. That day was no different, as I watched the transformation of her tattoo from a few lines on her ribs begin to take shape and finally form a magnificent feather. Having always remembered this experience, I sat with Miri to discuss her other tattoos and what they mean to her in the context of her life, work and personal brand.


E: Can you tell everyone a little bit about yourself?

M: I did a stupid Facebook test once and it actually sums me up perfectly “Mirella is a rebel who tries to keep her fire alive. She tames the fire inside her but will never let anybody else tame her. She is a non-conformist who will not follow the herd just because the masses do. She will question everything about it.

In my real life I am a Digital Marketing Specialist Consultant. What makes me really tick is taking photo’s while I go on the craziest adventures to places not many people want to go to, living my life through Mi, Myself & I. Coupled with that, what makes my heart the happiest, is Yoga! I am busy doing my Yoga Teacher Training and its been one of the best and one of the most real journeys I have ever been on. I am very much a spiritual being, who will always choose happiness and will always do it with kindness. To every being, not just the human ones.

E: How many tattoos do you currently have?

M: I have 5! An outline of a star on my left wrist. Writing on my left ankle. A heart on the inside of one of my right fingers. A feather on my left ribs. The last one is a lotus on the back of my right arm, just above my elbow. All meaningful. All true to Mi, Myself & I.

E: Have your tattoos compromised your career in any way?

M: I am one of the lucky ones! I work in Advertising so it’s a lot more ‘accepted’ I suppose. Up until this year, my tattoos were easily hidden, but even now that I have more of a visible one, its been chilled. Maybe it’s also because of who I am – I have never conformed – I am very much a free spirit and it has always shown. Maybe it is also because I don’t care about other opinions or what they think. If I want to wear torn jeans and takkies to a meeting, then that’s what I do, its what I have always done as this is me, so why must I try being someone else. Having tattoos and wearing what you feel comfortable in, does not mean your work is going to be shit. Completely the opposite I think – if you can be who you truly are and comfortable with yourself and your abilities, then your work will just be that much better, it will be a true reflection of you, it will be the best that you can be! That’s all that matters.

E: Can you tell me about how your tattoo journey began? 

M: I have always been fascinated by them. I have always wanted one. My brother and I made a pact when I was about 14, that on my 18th birthday and his 21st birthday – we would go together to get one. I got to 18 and was so super keen. Him on the other hand not so much. Every year I waited, hoping he would finally get the courage but that never happened. When I was 25, my cousin said she wanted one, I jumped to the opportunity and we went together. We share the same one in the same place, which made it even more special. Every couple of years after that, I get one. I am a creative, I don’t really talk about my true feelings, so I guess I express it in other ways, tattoos being one of them.

E: How do your tattoos speak to your lifestyle/work/personal brand?

M: They are just a true reflection of who I am. If you know me, then they will make sense to you and you will understand without having to ask too much. The symbols, the writing, the shapes – they all sum up my beliefs, how I want to grow, what matters to me and all about just being happy and free with who I am. They remind me to love myself, to believe in myself and to be kind, especially to others. As the saying goes ‘No Mud No Lotus.’ Its all a journey, but you need to remember its your journey and the truer you are to yourself, the happier your life will be and the more positive impact you will have on those around you.

E: How do you choose the themes for your tattoos, if there are any? 

M: Moments in life have defined the ones I have got. They all mean something to me. They are all true to who I am, to Mi, Myself & I. They are all pure, clean, plain yet always a little different, like me. I stick to line work and stay away from colour.

E: Is there any tattoo you regret getting? 

M: Not for a second!!

E: What is your favourite tattoo thus far? 

M: Wow! I love all of them, otherwise I wouldn’t have got them *laughs* but if I had to choose – my feather and lotus.

E: I know this is normally a secret, but do you have any upcoming tattoos planned and if so, what are they? 

M: I think my mother would literally kill me if I answered this question!!

I will always want another one but will have to see what moments I have ahead to define the answer to this. At the end of the day, it will always be what’s best for Mi, Myself & I.

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Earlier this year, I had the honour of standing by Miri’s side as she said “I do” and began the next chapter of her life as a married woman. A moment I will never forget.

Miri and I are bound by more than just a bond as family members. She is my saving grace at the best and worst of times. Her free spirited nature entices me daily as I am reminded to let go of the structure that I often confine myself to and do what makes me grow and glow.

She is and will always be an irreplaceable part of my life – the only thing missing is the tattoo that binds us together.

Watch this space 😉