The Tattooed Glam-Ma |

We first met Mo Deeley, the self-proclaimed tattooed glam-ma back in 2011 at the London Tattoo Convention. The following year, we spent a day in her life up in Yorkshire. We told her story in our second print issue. Meet her here…

Photos: Heather Shuker

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I started getting tattoos in the late ‘80s after my divorce, a whistling worm on my ankle and two smaller ones on my shoulder blades, but never anything more than that. The bigger ones I have now were started in May 2011, when I went to my local tattooist to have the small ones on my back covered up. At the consultation, I explained that I was unsure what I wanted, but if I was a little bit younger I would have a full backpiece with a theme.

I honestly thought I was too old to get a full back tattoo. I’m 56-year-old grandmother. However, Tef the tattooist told me I should do as I want and it doesn’t matter at all about age – I should follow my heart. And so he started work on the back tattoo, which just seemed to creep over my shoulder and onto the front of my shoulder.

_MG_0189This was never enough and I kept thinking of different ideas, which we sat and discussed together. Then I started getting tattooed every weekend, I absolutely loved it. I also became very friendly with Tef the tattooist, which always helps, and I completely trust him.

I suppose my tattoo inspiration comes from happy memories of my childhood and, in a profound way, the loss of my dad spurred me on to keep going. I just thought life was too short. My Audrey Hepburn tattoo I got in memory of my dad, as we played Moon River at his funeral and I think he fancied her a bit.



I’ve got six children, and my son who’s 20 still lives with me, so he gets very spoilt, he’s my baby – I even bought him a full sleeve for Christmas, he loves tattoos too. At first, my daughters were against the idea of me getting so many tattoos and kept telling me I needed to stop. But now I think they are quite proud that I am who I am. They were very quick to state, “That’s my mum” when we retuned from London to find Things&Ink were looking for me on Facebook. 

I had been at the London Tattoo Convention with my Husband, Paul, and I felt like I was being chased by the paparazzi. I’m a nan of 18 being followed by photographers from the USA and everywhere. I had been to a smaller event in Liverpool, but that was when I didn’t have as many tattoos. People would look at me, but nothing out of the ordinary. But when I was at the London Tattoo Convention – it was mental, I couldn’t sit down anywhere without people asking for a photo with me. I felt like Cheryl Cole [this was in 2011]. This reaction took my breath away. Paul spent most of the convention carrying a rather fetching handbag and vanity case for me, so I could oblige people who stopped me to look at my tattoos and pose for picture. I loved every minute of it. It was my photo taken by Things&Ink at the convention that has turned me into a bit of a celeb and won me a subscription to the magazine – which I adore [We had a competition to win a subscription to our print mag, we got got people to pose as it they were on the cover of the magazine and Mo won! Of course…]. I have never won anything before, and I couldn’t believe how many comments the photo received on Facebook.


After that, I got invited down to London for the Things&Ink launch party. As soon as I saw the Things&Ink launch issue cover, I knew I wanted it tattooed on me. I was just unsure how to incorporate it into a design. I told Tef my intentions and we set to work on a design. I think 2012 was an amazing year in my life and I tried to incorporate this into my tattoo. I also have a Yorkshire terrier to represent the amazing time I had at Rockalily vintage salon – they have a salon dog called Ellington – even there I was treated like royalty. I feel like it is a place that I just fit in, with my vintage styling and tattoos showing. I am also adding a wallpaper pattern to the tattoo, which reminds me of my best friend Pat – she has just put up some new beautiful patterned wallpaper and has the best taste in interiors. Pat’s home is lovely and full of vintage knicknacks, which I love.

_MG_0086-2 (1)My grandkids, all 18 of them and another on the way, live very near to me, and sometimes my granddaughter comes in to see me when I am getting tattooed, she loves showing me off as her nan. Don’t think any of her friends have a nan quite like me, and they all seem to find it quite cool. My grandchildren call me Glam-ma and always bring their friends to meet me – they all say they wish their nan was more like me.

I live in a small mining village, Maltby in Rotherham, and seem to attract a lot of attention – some nice comments, but mainly stares from people who don’t know me. People I grew up with accept me as I am, I have never really been one to conform to other peoples idea of “normal.” My husband says I’m a prototype not a stereotype.


I love big and bold clothing mainly in a ’50s style, I am also looking into collecting more garments from the 1940s. I have followed every fashion trend since my teens. Tartan, shoulder pads – the works. I love shoes and they used to be my overriding thoughts, but shoes have now been replaced by tattoos. I think about ink all the time.

I like to spend time with my family and friends, and I am quite lucky that Pat likes a lot of the same things I do. We can spend a whole day trawling vintage fairs and second-hand shops. I also often pop and see my daughter in the fish and chip shop she works, she recently won the Guiness world record for being the fast chip wrapper, so she’s a bit of a local celeb too. It must run in the family.


My life in a nutshell – born in a sleepy mining village, married very young to a mine-worker, with whom I had five children, which kept me very busy. I think I only ever really wanted to be a mum and love having my kids around me. I divorced in 1989, went a little bit off the rails I think. But my second husband, Paul, put me back on track. We have been married for 17 years now and have a son together. Paul’s my rock, he’s so placid compared to me, so we’re the perfect fit. He treats me like a queen and I love him with all my heart. During our marriage, we have travelled around a bit, but we always end up coming back to Maltby, it’s our home. We ran a pub together in Scotland, but I missed my family too much. Home is where the heart is and I am a very content and happy lady, even if some people think I look a little out of the ordinary. ❦

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