The Ink Link is an ongoing project at CN&CO that showcases the diversity of tattoos. One of the great things about a tattoo is that it goes against the commonly-held viewpoint that “what you see is what you get”. There’s a misguided belief in certain quarters that only “some” people get a tattoo. 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 we feature, Vuyiswa (Vuvu) Vena, a senior content developer and manager at a reputation management company. Vuvu is also a blogger and YouTuber who shares her experience and passion for all things books, beauty, hair and lifestyle.

When CN&CO’s Neo asked to feature Vuvu in our InkLink blog series, Vuvu immediately shared a link to her awesome YouTube video where she takes us on a journey to getting her first ever tattoo and what it means to her.

On tattoos and work…

Would you say a visible tattoo cost you a job in an interview or are tattoos becoming more acceptable in the workplace?

I recently got my tattoo, I cannot say with authority how it will be perceived in other work environments. However, I do think that tattoos are extended expressions of people, they show character and individuality. The workplace is a professional space, and as much as we may like to believe we are evolved, a lot of workplaces are still lagging behind in evolution, and for this reason, when choosing a visible tattoo, I’d still advise that we consider this. Certain industries I believe are more accommodating of tattoos than others, one might want to do their research first on the matter. That said, tattoos are accessories, just like we don’t ask for permission about what jewellery to wear on a given day, I think it’s only fair to be allowed to not seek approval for having ink on our bodies – so long as it doesn’t offend the next person. 

What advice do you have for tat enthusiasts about keeping their body art and their careers compatible?

I’d advise they get a firm understanding of their industry and why they want a tattoo. Weigh out the pros and cons for future advancement within the industry and then decide to leap or not. We, however, go nowhere if we do not challenge notions on appearance and expression in controlled environments like the workplace. Not until the CEO of a major corporation pitches to a meeting or elite gathering with tattoos running the length and breadth of his sleeves will people see it as normal. Or maybe he will just be seen as unique or radical, who knows. The point though is to keep pushing and challenging the status quo on matters of identity and expression but always do so with class and dignity so as not to harm the possibilities of the desired results and not to give ammunition to the ‘this is why tattoos aren’t allowed in the workplace’ narrative.

Any plans to get more?

I’ve been negotiating the one I have for almost 10 years now. Lol! I do plan on more, whether or not I will muster the courage though is yet to be seen. You’d think I’d stop being a wuss after the first experience and actually realising there’s nothing there to fear, but yet this is where we find ourselves

Find Vuvu on her bookish blog and YouTube channel Vuvu Vena.