Words by Simba Nguyen
Photographed by Arman
My name is Simba Nguyen
I am 24 years old and I’m from Washington D.C. I moved to Oakland, CA about 4 years ago to finish college and dropped out the moment I found my tattoo apprenticeship. I completed that in a little over a year and have been tattooing professionally for a year now, but my first interaction with tattooing started in high school. One day I was approached by a classmate who saw something I drew for his girlfriend, so he asked me to tattoo him even though I had no idea what I was doing. He taught me everything he knew at the time and I ended up tattooing just about anybody in my school. I remember cutting class everyday just to go to someone’s house to tattoo them. This definitely wasn’t the best way to get started but it inspired me to learn more and pursue it the right way.
I was 6 when I put on my first pair of skates
I remember they were white with pink wheels and a barbie logo on the side. At the time I was only interested in it because it was another hobby and as a kid I didn’t have many friends from being the class nerd (kids are mean >.<). It wasn’t until June 2018 that I put on skates again because I was in awe watching these badass females crushing it in skatepark bowls. I’ve always had a natural talent for anything I tried to do and rollerskating was a bit of a challenge, which only made me want to get even better at it. To be honest, it was something that helped me cope with my mom passing away in May. I guess falling a fuckload of times helped manage a lot of emotional pain. Anyways, I can’t imagine my life without rollerskating now. Not only is it a lot of fun but it’s introduced me to some of the most amazing females this world has to offer. All of my roller girls are so unique in their own way.
My passions stem from who I am and what makes me feel whole.
With tattooing, it’s the idea of making someone feel better about themselves. It’s that moment they look in the mirror and smile really hard cause of something I did on them. Tattoos have always made me feel a lot more confident in myself and I love making people feel more beautiful than they already are. I also love the connections you make. People are so prone to get very intimate with me and tell me some of their deepest desires, secrets, thoughts, etc. It’s almost like I’m their therapist without actually being a doctor. All in all, it’s very rewarding to know people trust me so much without even knowing me. But sometimes giving myself to people gets exhausting and I need my own “therapy” which is where rollerskating comes to play. When I’m skating I don’t have to impress anyone but myself. It challenges me physically and mentally which is something I’m not used to. Most importantly, it’s so much fun! Roller skating makes me feel like a kid again and who doesn’t want to feel that way after hustling all day to pay bills?!