Tattoo My Name
Tatted Up Holly is a work of art
Words Sean Malcolm
Images Andrew Link

Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in the October/November 2014 issue of XXL Magazine.

"Instagram made my career... Hallelujah!" laughs Stephanie Marrero on the singular reason for her meteoric rise in the social media landscape under her moniker, Tatted Up Holly. “Instagram got me noticed internationally and through different boroughs. I stopped bartending and started hosting. So I’m hosting in all these different places where they would not have seen me if it wasn’t for Instagram.”

Though the 24-year-old Bronx hottie, who started her journey serving drinks at New York City strip clubs like Sin City, Sue’s Rendezvous and Starlets, has only two music videos under her belt (“Smoke” by 50 Cent and Fat Joe’s “Ballin’”), it’s the 310,000-plus followers on the video and photo sharing site that view Holly’s 34C-28-44 thickness as a blessing. “In the beginning I had a lot of selfies,” remembers Holly, who is now shifting her focus to showcasing her talents on the small screen. “Now it looks more professional, like I take a pic of me with a photographer or someone takes a picture of me at a red carpet event. My Instagram is a little bit boring but definitely more successful.”

Here’s a toast to success.

XXL: I get the “Tatted Up” part to your stage name, but where did Holly come from since your name is Stephanie?
Tatted Up Holly: I started getting tattoos since I was 14, which got me in a lot of trouble. Ironically, my mom loves them now. But my name from before used to be Hollywood, ’cause that’s how I used to act. You know, act like my shit don’t stink. So when I got into Instagram, to use “Tatted Up Hollywood” would’ve been too long. So it was Tatted Up Holly and now I go by just Holly.

So you’re dropping “Tatted Up?”
I introduce myself as Holly sometimes; I introduce myself as Stephanie sometimes.

Give me an example of when you’d introduce yourself as Holly and when you’d introduce yourself as Stephanie to people.
Well now that I’m trying to change up my image, because Tatted Up Holly was more of a bartender, video vixen, so when I used to meet people in the industry I’d introduce myself as Holly. But now that I’m trying to branch off into acting, branding myself and being the face of companies, I’m Stephanie again.

Why the image change?
I’m trying to clean up my image because I have a little sister. I know she’s on my page, she tells me all the time. I have people looking at me where their opinion really matters. Some people, I could really give a fuck. But my mom and my sister are watching. That was before my mom had an Instagram; now she has an Instagram, my sister, my grandmother has an Instagram. So, you can’t just block your family.

How much of it is a struggle for you in terms of trying to not post something deemed as inappropriate?
I mean it’s hard because you always want to keep having dope pictures on your Instagram and you don’t want people to forget about you. So it’s like if they don’t see you on their newsfeed, unless they’re searching your name, how they going to remember you?

Since you started out as one, how is it that bartenders in strip clubs in New York are now the main attraction instead of the women who actually take off their clothes?
I love it, actually. But it’s becoming a battle. Girls who are dancers are noticing that the bartenders are getting more attention, more money, so now everybody wants to be a bartender...and they don’t have to take off their clothes.

Photo Credit: Andrew Link

 

Photo Credit: Andrew Link