The latest hit show on Netflix might be made in America, but there is a distinct Kiwi accent in there courtesy of one of its main stars.
New Zealand-born and New York-based tattoo artist Rose Hardy is one of the stars of "Tattoo Redo", currently streaming on Netflix, and she's tasked with some of the toughest tattoo cover-ups on the show.
Hardy, who is originally from Whangārei, started tattooing after she moved to Auckland with her mum, before leaving New Zealand in 2007.
She now lives in New York, where she continues to grow as a tattoo artist, and her career as taken an unlikely turn as she found herself one of the main stars of a Netflix show.
"Working on Tattoo Redo was a lot of fun - such a great cast and crew. It was also challenging because we filmed in 2020 when things were still super hectic with Covid," she recalls.
Filming a show during a pandemic came with its own set of challenges, particularly a show that involved such close contact between people. The whole cast and crew had to follow strict regulations to ensure everyone was kept safe.
The premise of "Tattoo Redo" is fairly simple: a friend or family member brings someone along who has a hideous tattoo that must be covered up. The tattoo artist has to come up with a design that will simultaneously make the person happy but also cover up the terrible tattoo. The catch? The person who chooses the design is the friend who nominated the person getting tattooed - and the person getting the tattoo doesn't see it until it's all done.
Hardy and the team of tattooists working on the show don't get a whole lot of time to come up with a cover-up. According to the Kiwi artist, it really is all as you see it played out on the screen, with maximum enthusiasm but minimal notice.
"Tattooing on the show was quite stressful," she says. "We really didn't have any heads-up in any way, so had to design the tattoo the night of filming the consultation, then be on set at 6am the following day to do the tattoo. It was also kind of crazy just wracking your brain the whole time, hoping the design will be what they want and actually do a good job of it."
In one of the episodes, Hardy says she particularly enjoys cover-ups because, while they have their own tricky design limitations, people are always happier to get rid of a bad tattoo.
She's got plenty of cover-ups to her name to date, to the point where she can't quite remember the worst one - but there's definitely one that sticks in her mind as the funniest: "It's a portrait of Christina Aguilera with a microphone in her hand. But the microphone (she was holding up to her mouth) looked exactly like penis. It was so bad! But at least the client had a good sense of humour about it too," she recalls.
'New Zealand is such a special place'
The Kiwi tattoo artist left New Zealand in 2007 to grow her career as an artist overseas.
"I grew up in Whangārei and lived there until I was 14, when I moved to Auckland with my mum Debbie. I attended Metropolitan college in Mt Eden, then I took a year off to decide whether to go to Elam art school or not. This is when the opportunity to get into tattooing arose, so I took that path instead," Hardy recalls.
She served an apprenticeship and also had a lot of help from renowned Auckland tattoo artists Adam Craft and Dean Sacred, before eventually leaving New Zealand to travel and tattoo around the world.
She's left her mark - quite literally, on people's bodies - all over the world, working in London, Brisbane and Melbourne, before settling in New York seven years ago.
New Zealand will forever be home and, especially as a counterbalance to the hectic life of New York City, Hardy says she finds herself even more drawn to Aotearoa's shores.
"I always came back every year, and since living in New York for the last seven years, I come home for four to eight weeks a year," she tells the Herald.
"I really love and miss it so much, spending time with my family and friends is really important for me. I also need the break from the US, the city, life here in general. New Zealand really is home and it is so laid back compared to NY - I need the balance of both."
When asked what she misses the most about New Zealand she says, half jokingly, "free healthcare".
"In all seriousness, I obviously miss my family and friends the most. New Zealand is such a special place and I honestly can't put into words the feeling of getting off the plane and just feeling calm and relaxed and home."
• "Tattoo Redo" is currently streaming on Netflix in New Zealand.