The Untold Truth About Ink Master's Tatu Baby

Katherine Flores, more popularly known as Tatu Baby, is a professional tattoo artist who rose to fame when she joined the second season of "Ink Master" in 2012. She finished the competition in fourth place but was invited back on the third season, where she placed third. Although Flores didn't win the title of Ink Master, her appearance on the show boosted her career.

In an interview with Inked, Tatu Baby shared how difficult it was to become a tattoo artist because of her gender and ethnicity. "So many people told me no. That I couldn't do it because I'm a girl and I'm Hispanic," she said. According to her, there were even clients who did not want to get their tattoos done by her, as they assumed she wouldn't do a good job. Despite the challenges, Tatu Baby was adamant about pursuing her dreams, so she figured she needed to work twice as hard. Her chance to put herself out there came knocking when she applied for a spot on "Ink Master" and she was chosen. "It's a great opportunity to be on the show, especially for my career," she told Miami News Times.

She had her first tattoo at 14 years old

Tatu Baby was always interested in art, and her love for tattoos started in her early teens. Her mother wasn't a typical parent, and she allowed a young Tatu Baby to have her first tattoo at just 14 years old. In fact, the two got a matching piece, according to Big Tattoo Planet. After that, Tatu Baby knew that was what she wanted to do in life. Her parents were extremely supportive of her decision as well. She said that her mother always told her that it didn't matter what she wanted to do in life as long as she did her best doing it.

Throughout her teens, Tatu Baby tried different mediums when it came to her artwork. However, she realized that she loved tattooing the most. The first tattoo she did was on her father's ankle — a tiny tribal design. "My very first tattoo was a little tribal on my dad's ankle. I was so nervous, but it actually came out good," she recalled.

She's a proud Latina

Katherine Flores was born in Queens, New York to Colombian parents. The family moved to Miami, Florida when she was 6 years old. Despite growing up in the United States, Tatu Baby makes it a point to keep her Colombian roots alive. In an interview with the Miami News Times, she said that she incorporates her Latina side into the tattoos that she does on clients. "I feel like I represent my country, so I do a lot of Latino-inspired tattoos," she stated.

Tatu Baby has a young son named Deniro Roman Soto who was born in 2014, and she also does her best to pass down cultural traditions to him. "In my household, it's important to have our traditions. We only speak Spanish, eat Latin food, dance salsa, and pass traditions to kids," she said. Tatu Baby often posts photos and videos of her son on her Instagram account doing activities together.

Her father was a drug kingpin

In 2019, Tatu Baby joined the cast of "Cartel Crew" — a reality TV series that features the lives of people in Miami who had relatives to drug cartels. Tatu Baby's biological father was a drug kingpin, but he was killed when Tatu Baby was just 4 years old. As she shared with Distractify, she initially didn't know about her father's background. She just came to know about him after she mentioned his name to a friend's father who she said went as pale as a ghost upon hearing who her father was. "He said, 'Don't go around repeating to people that he was your father'," she said.

It was at that point when Tatu Baby decided to ask her mother about her father. After her father's death, her mother decided to live a life away from the cartel life. "All she knew when my dad passed away was that she wanted to run away as far away from it and put it behind her," Tatu Baby recalled. Tatu Baby has a close relationship with her mother, but talking about her father causes tension between them. However, Tatu Baby said that she just wants to learn more about her father, as it's part of her history.

She is also a painter

Tatu Baby loves her career as a tattoo artist, but she also expresses herself through painting. She took up painting in 2018, and since then, she has developed her skills, and she's happy with her work. According to her, she wants to be recognized as a painter too. "I hope to be known as much for my painting as I am for tattooing," she said in an interview with Inked magazine. Although she can express herself in both mediums, she says there is less constraint when it comes to painting.

For Tatu Baby, painting is a way to get away from hours of tattooing and just do what she wants. She doesn't have to follow rules, and she gets to do as she pleases on a canvas, unlike tattooing where she needs to be precise in order to give her clients what they want. "I just go by the feeling, sometimes I'll work on a painting for four or five sessions until I'm happy with the colors," she shared.

She's the owner of Till the End Tattoos

After appearing on "Ink Master," Tatu Baby decided to open her own tattoo parlor in Miami, Florida called Till the End Tattoos. She charges $200 and hour for a minimum of three hours to do tattoos (via Bodys Jewelry Reviews). Tatu Baby has her own process when doing tattoos for clients. She gains background information on the designs and the meanings behind them. "I talk to my clients a lot more now. I want to know what the story is, what things mean to them. Nothing here is rushed," she told the Miami News Times.

In addition, Tatu Baby also mentors budding tattoo artists. She teaches them the technical skills, but she also makes it a point to impart her knowledge on how to be a great artist. "I have the ability to teach my artists how to be great, not just how to make a career out of tattooing. I teach them how to strive to be an award-winning tattooer," she told Inked magazine.