Life

By Niamh Shackleton

 

A mum-of-three who boasts over 100 tattoos across her entire body says she could be the most tattooed mum in the UK.

Shelby Toms, 36, from Howden, Newcastle, is almost completely covered from head to toe in tattoos after having her first tattoo aged 17.

But Shelby has plans to get even more tattoos in the future as it’s her mission that he body – not including her face – is 100 per cent covered in art work.

She has even gone on to recently win the title of Miss Alternative Model 2019 – a pageant for models who for those in the ‘alternative community’.

Shelby, who is a tattooist, said: “I’ve got over 100 tattoos, all over my body – my neck, arms, ribs, legs, all over, but not on my face.

“My face is probably one of the few places I don’t want a tattoo!

“I got my first tattoo at the age of 17, then I just continued round there.

“I sadly lost my mum and brother to suicide in 2009 and 2015, so from then on decided that I was going to live life to full and do what I really wanted, which in my case was get lots of tattoos!

“When I started getting more tattoos and being who I really wanted to be, I almost felt reborn and rediscovered.”

Shelby is mum to Katlin, 15, Macey, 10, and six-year-old Michael who all love her tattoos.

Both Katlin and Shelby started dabbling in modelling when a friend of Shelby’s who’s a student photographer asked them to model for her.

Following this, photographer friend Debbie Todd suggested Shelby put herself forward for the  Miss Alternative Model 2019 competition, which she went on to win over 162 other candidates.

Shelby said: “I was amazed when I went on to win the competition; I honestly didn’t think I would win.

“I had to do an audition to get to the finals, the do two cat walks before the judges chose me as the winner.

“Following my win, I got a modelling contract which I couldn’t believe since I’ve only been doing it since April.

“I’ve got three shoots this month and even have things booked in for next year!”

Shelby loves being an ambassador for alternative models and encourages anyone else thinking of doing it to put themselves forward.

She said: “I love being an ‘alternative model’ – it’s great for those who are a bit different to your usual stereotypical model.

“This line of modelling is perfect for all shapes and sizes where you can truly be yourself and express yourself too!

“It’s really helped build up my confidence, so I’d really encourage anyone else who needs a confidence boost to give it a try too.”