Lonni Pike is known as “Gray Hair and Tattoos” on TikTok, where she has 1 million followers.
Pike uses her platform to challenge the stereotype placed on women with tattoos in their fifties.
Pike told Insider that people assume she’s in a biker gang because of her ink.
Lonni Pike, a social media influencer from California, has gone viral on TikTok after challenging the stereotypes placed on women in their fifties.
In one of her first TikTok videos, posted in November 2020, Pike said that being 56 is “not what you think it looks like, cause it looks like this.” The 15-second clip has over 4 million views as of Thursday.
In May 2022, she reached 1 million followers on the platform.
Speaking to Insider, Pike said she started making videos to challenge “the tattoo age gap” that is placed upon women.
“I hear women, especially in their forties, people telling them, ‘You’re too old.’ And they’re like, ‘We like to wear band T-shirts. We have tattoos. People are telling us we’re going through a midlife crisis,’ Pike said. “And I’m basically just telling them that no matter what you’re hearing, no matter what society is telling you, it’s okay for you to be you.”
“That’s just like the whole tattoo age gap, because when you’re younger, you’re told that your tattoos aren’t gonna look good when you’re older. And when you’re older, you’re told that you’re too old to have tattoos. There’s never a good time to have a tattoo, according to society,” she added.
Pike also encourages women to embrace their own fashion sense, regardless of what society decides is appropriate for their age. In one TikTok video posted on June 27 that currently has over 840,000 views, she can be seen wearing a pair of ripped jeans, a strappy white top, and sunglasses. She captioned the video: “Wear what you want at any age!”
Pike got her first tattoo 27 years ago
Pike told Insider that she got her first tattoo — barbed wire around her ankle — after separating from her husband when she was 30.
“For me, it represented how I felt trapped where I was because barbed wire either keeps people in or keeps people out,” she said. “And that was the duality of why I got that…I wanted to remember that I never wanted to feel that way again.”
She said she now has an estimated 25 or 30 tattoos, including ink behind her ear, on her lower stomach, her back, both sleeves, and calves.
“People’s perception of tattoos is so different from what it really is,” Pike said. “People have in their minds, this ideology of like, people with tattoos are uneducated or they’re criminals, or, you know, you have no idea how many people think I have a Harley Davidson and I’m in a biker gang. I’m almost 58 years old — I can’t even ride a bicycle.”
“It’s been such an incredible honor to be able to be in front of like the entire world and be like, ‘No, you got that wrong.'” she said.
“You know what? We’re moms, we’re grandmas, we’re students. We are women. We are who we are, and we’re just time stamping ourselves to remember who we are,” she added.
Read the original article on Insider