Jessica Gahring Gets Me Going [An Interview With Tattooist And Pin Up Sensation Ms Retro Dixie]

I am SO excited to share this with you today!! I for one, love this lady’s work – in print and on skin!

It all started a couple of months ago when I read “Msretrodixie is now following you”.
To say that I was excited would only be a fraction to explain the amount of squealing I was doing! It’s true – I’m a sucker for Pin Up!

After a cheeky email, Ms Retro Dixie agreed to an interview for all you gals (and guys) with lashings of ink and who love Pin Up as much as myself!

So here she is, Ms Jessica Gahring!

My name is Jessica Lynn Gahring and I make 1950s ankle rocks ruffle, hehe. I make myself laugh sometimes.
I am actually a tattoo artist by day and a Pin Up model in my free time. I was last seen on TLC’s hit reality series, NY INK, where my drive for the art of tattooing was displayed through 2 entire seasons. I am currently tattooing full-time in the Albany, NY area and couldn’t be happier.

Outside of my profession, I am a very dedicated Mommy and put my family above all else. My daughter is 7 and is just as spunky and feisty as myself. I have an extensive background in Education and like to leave that knowledge sitting in the back of my mind for when I need it.


(YRB Magazine Article. Credit:

What was your first tattoo? How many do you have in total?
My first tattoo was a butterfly in between my shoulder blades that I got at the age of 18. I took my best friend and Mom with me on this devirgining experience but my friend was the only other person that walked out with a new tattoo, hehe.
I have actually covered my first 3 tattoos with art that is significantly better and more consistent with my style.


What’s your favourite drink?
My favorite drink, hands down, is water. I don’t drink soda often and when I do it is ALWAYS a Coca~Cola! When it comes to alcohol, I love wine, Pabst Blue Ribbon and any sort of Whiskey or Vodka. Mmmmm… vodka!

What were your reasons for getting into pin up art and becoming Ms Retro Dixie? Who are your idols? (if any)
I was actually drawn to the era of the 1950s and what family meant back then way before I was drawn to the actual art of Pin Up styling.
I have a BA in Sociology and a large part of my studies was geared toward the Sociology of the Family. I loved that in that era married couples would trudge through issues for the sake of family. I feel that there are way too many people getting divorced these days over small issues.
As my research continued I found myself drawn to the women who stayed at home and were essentially the building blocks of entire family units. The Pin Up was that extension to the Military Man.

(Sneak peek of my Celeste Giuliano photography shoot!)

I love doing photos for my Man now, knowing that it will make him happy and hold him over for the next time that he sees me.
There is something so sultry, sexy and strong about a Pin Up woman (and definitely confidence!) that how could someone NOT love Pin Up Art?!

As far as my name, Ms. Retro Dixie, goes… “Retro” is a term to mean a new version of something older (made today that is like yesterday… I’m a modern Pin Up of that era) and “Dixie” refers to my country upbringing. I grew up riding 4-wheelers, playing in the mud, hunting with my dad, etc. I love the country artists of the old days, as well: Johnny Cash, Whalon Jennings, etc.

What style of illustrations are your favourite to tattoo?
The majority of my tattoo work revolves around black & grey photorealism OR traditional tattoo images (bold outlines, simple coloring, 2D images).

I started as a black & grey artist and I feel that because of my Pin Up nature, I started getting a following of military men (and women) who were drawn to traditional style tattoos and coloring.
I got into traditional tattoos out of client desire and actually love doing that style now, as well.

More traditional requests, yayy! (I didn’t do the random tribal)

When you’re not busy tattooing or modeling, what’s your favourite thing to do?
If I am not busy tattooing or modeling, you will find me spending non-stop time with both my friends and family OR in thinking up my next big idea. I enjoy splitting my professional and private life, as I prefer to give my daughter and man nonstop attention when I’m with them. I believe very much in family and couldn’t be where I am currently without their love and support.

(Msretrodixie IG

What can’t you live without?
I feel like this goes without saying: FAMILY!

Do you have any favourite cosmetics and accessories?
I LOVE LOVE LOVE my false eyelashes! My eyes are so bright blue that when I accent my eyes with those lashes my eyes just pop right out. I don’t mean to brag, but they’re slightly enticing (one of the reasons I love hiding them with my glasses, hehe).

I mean, I love make up in general so give me a lipstick and I’ll be happier than a pig in shit! Ha.

How are you enjoying being the manager at NY Ink?
I have actually left this position and pursued my tattooing full-time. I figured that it was better to leave the management up to an individual who was 100% content being a manager.
I have done Management many times in my past and was ready to branch out, follow my passions and leave that to others.
The only time you will find me in that capacity again is when I open my own tattoo studio… But I’ll be able to balance that with my tattoo appointments so I’ll be a happy lil’ diva then!


Do you have dress down days or do you continue the look at home?
For the most part, I continue the look at home. It is often difficult to do in NY winters so jeans are often a must.

However, I always have on some sort of vintage flare and there is no question that I have that look or hints of it at all times.


(Msretrodixie IG:

Do you have any funny quirks?
I think that I am nothing but a big funny quirk, hehe. I like to play the girl card a lot, even though I am a pretty tough badass bitch.

I giggle a lot and I can burp like nobodies business (sorry boys, hehe). Other than that, I’m your regular “Girl Next Door”.

Do you have any words of wisdom for the decorated lady and Pin Up aspirer?

Make all clothing and styling decisions based on how you want yourself to be viewed.
NEVER give in to the desires of others unless those desires are in line with your own.

(Photo by East Coast Pinups. Stlying by My Fancy Fetish.
A little humor while on our shoot in Atlantic Highlands, NJ)

Find the era that you are most drawn to and find local vintage stores and antique auctions to really live out your passions.
My Pin Up love extends beyond just clothing and into my home decorations, the appliances that I have in my home & my decor. Basically, if I could have been born in another era it would definitely be the era of the Kirby Vacuum discovery!

Isn’t Jessica just WONDERFUL!

Seriously, I am so amazed by her confidence and astounding advice for aspiring Pin Ups (It’s given myself a kick and some helpful tips which I get to put to use very soon!)

You can find Jessica here and also on her Facebook page.

Please share this post. Not only is Jessica an amazing tattoo artist, but is also multiple bucketfuls of inspiration!

Lots of love!

3 responses to “Jessica Gahring Gets Me Going [An Interview With Tattooist And Pin Up Sensation Ms Retro Dixie]

  1. What an amazing post Rachael you lucky girl. The mum and her daughter tattoo of Jessica’s is amazing! Such an interesting read, love it!

  2. Excellent read amazing!! Great advice EMBRACE YOUR CURVES JUST AS YOU WERE MADE xx

  3. A very interesting read! Nice to hear such a beautiful lady telling all these other beautiful ladies to just accept themselves the way they are. So true! 🙂