Covered by Glamour, Allure, Vogue, Cosmo and more, Jessica Knapik, creator of AstroFrecks, is bringing a little magic into the lives of Detroit citizens, and beyond. Merging her love for astrology and permanent makeup, as well as her deep appreciation of pups, Jessica, also known as Magick Brows, has made something that has people sparkling. In this interview, she talks about her beloved Bean, why she became a permanent makeup artist, and how AstroFrecks came to be.
First question everyone always asks and wants to know: how did you get into cosmetic tattooing and why was it something you were drawn to?
So I first got my brows microbladed like 7 years ago or so, before it became super popular. It was done by a lady at a plastic surgeon's office, and the whole process was kind of a nightmare. She was a butcher, and it hurt pretty bad, and after all that it didn't last very long either. At that point, I had a bad taste in my mouth and thought I know I could do this better, and I wonder what different methods there are. Fast forward a bit, I found out about nano brows, and machine work. Essentially microblading, or fine-line hair stroke tattooing, only with a machine. Once I knew that was an option I was in. I've always been a makeup girl, and a punk rock kid, so I'm all about different means of self-expression. Whether it's brows, freckles, hair extensions, breast implants, hair dye, whatever, I will forever back any kind of physical change someone wants to make to boost their self-confidence, and I'm so honored to be part of that for my clients.
What does it feel like to help people transform? What are some of your favorite client moments?
Honestly, after being a longtime bartender, it feels amazing. The service industry is such a thankless, hard job. SHOUT OUT to the service industry peoples out there! People treat you like a dog, worse than a dog. When really 9 out of 10 service industry people I know are just doing it because they're taking a million college classes and will end up being TEN TIMES more successful than their rude customers. EVERYONE should be kinder to each other. Print that. haha
Anyway, yes my job now is beyond rewarding. People are so THANKFUL. I've had people cry, write me to thank me weeks or months after, send me happy selfies from vacations in other countries, it's incredible. I had a girl get AstroFrecks because the constellation was her grandpa's zodiac, I've had many girls get freckles because their grandmother and mom have them and they never got them, I had a client with two young babies get their zodiac constellations on each cheek. It's really cool too because a lot of my clients aren't "tattoo people". This is kind of their first step into that culture. And my cute mom clients really get a kick out of telling people they have face tattoos.
What are some of the top questions you get when it comes to cosmetic tattoos? How do you help ease your clients into the process?
Most people are concerned with pain, and like how we will decide on a shape, color, etc. I send a super thorough email, or I'm always happy to answer any and all questions through DM. And as far as setting people at ease I really just try to be myself. I'm honest, and goofy, and awkward, and I don't think I'm better than anyone else. A friend suggested to me once I should start dressing more professional when I'm tattooing, and I basically went this is me, they can take me or leave me. My work speaks for itself. I want to be comfortable and authentic.
Also, this wonderful thing happened where one girl DM'ed me about an appointment and included a pic of her dog at the end for no reason. I'm obsessed with my dog, and all dogs, so it was honestly the greatest appointment message I had ever gotten. So I posted a screenshot of the exchange plus her dog pic on my Instagram. Well it really snowballed from there, and now a solid 80% of people include a pet pic with their appointment inquiry! It makes my email and DM answering SO much happier, AND I truly believe it melts away that nervousness people have to reach out. They don't feel like they're bothering me because who doesn't love showing off their pet?? It's a win-win for both parties.
Tell us about AstroFrecks and how you came up with the idea. Why do you think it's caught on so well? Do you believe in astrology and the power of the stars?
It's always been really important to me to make things my own. If something is too structured or boring everything in me wants to turn it upside-down. I've always loved a theme, a costume, a gimmick. Anything to spice up a thing that has always been done another way. That said I knew when I started in cosmetic tattooing I'd eventually have to make it my own.
I do believe in astrology. I check my horoscope daily at Astrology.com, because it's quick, short, and surprisingly on point, and I have an ever-growing collection of astrology books. I pull at least one tarot card for myself per day. My favorite deck right now is the Mystic Mondays tarot deck. I also work with crystals, herbs, oils, etc. Most rituals are suggested to be done during certain seasons, and during different moon phases, so I believe my constant attention to that led to AstroFrecks.
Some people say they have their best ideas in the shower, but I think I have my best ones on late-night dog walks. I stare up at the stars, inhale big and say 'In with the good' and then exhale through my mouth and say 'Out with the bad'. I find my center and go on home 100% reset. The moon and stars shine down on my face every night on those walks, and the idea for AstroFrecks just popped in my head. A way for people to secretly connect their zodiac constellation to their face/body.
Beyond cosmetic tattooing, what are you really passionate about? What do you wish you had more time for?
My dog Bean is my number one life homie. He had to have a leg removed in February so we've had a tough year. But he's doing amazing, and he's even more of an inspiration to me now than he was before. If I'm ever feeling lazy or sorry for myself I look at his strength and courage and snap right out of it.
Aside from work and Bean, pretty much all my time lately goes to UFC fights and UFC news and UFC podcasts and all the things. I have a problem. haha .. I was in NY last weekend for UFC 244 at Madison Square Garden, and I went to Chicago in June to watch the fights too. And I don't work Saturdays because the fights are on. My friends may stage an intervention soon.
Other than that, I have a few close friends who are professional paranormal investigators, so I get to spend a good amount of time creeping around haunted places. My friends Greg and Dana Newkirk run The Traveling Museum of the Paranormal and the Occult, so every time I see them I get to hold a new haunted or cursed item. I tend to take home little rocks and trinkets from the haunted places I visit, so my house is pretty active. It's all my fault, really. The Newkirks and my bestie John E. L. Tenney can be seen in a documentary series they made called Hellier on Amazon and YouTube, the second season drops on Black Friday, so check that out if you're into spooky shit.
If you could only read one book, listen to one record, and watch one movie forever, which ones would you choose?
You know this is near impossible to answer. haha .. The last book I read that I couldn't put down was Member of the Family: My Story of Charles Manson, Life Inside His Cult, and the Darkness That Ended the Sixties by Dianne Lake. And the book I'm currently reading is Part Reptile: UFC, MMA, and Me by Dan Hardy (Ex UFC fighter and current commentator, told you I had a problem. lol)
I really don’t know how to pick one album, my favorite bands are (old) Metallica, H2O, Face to Face, Rancid, Strung Out, Comeback Kid, Sick Of It All, The Descendents, The Flatliners, I Am The Avalanche, Minor Threat, Circle Jerks.. ok I gotta stop now. Just know I could list 100 more.
And my all-time favorite movies are Godfather I & II, Jaws, The Shawshank Redemption, Good Will Hunting, and just about every horror movie ever made.
Any projects, travel plans, collabs, etc. coming up in the future that you'd like to promote?
In 2020 I’d love to travel more and do some guest spots. I definitely have a list going of what states I get the most requests from. So if people have an opportunity for me, or want me to visit their town, my DM’s are open!
And I’ll be opening my very own Magick Brows studio in the next couple weeks! So that’s very exciting/making my hair fall out. haha .. But I’m stoked, and my Dad is super proud. I know us tattooed hooligans look a certain way, but we’re just like anyone else, we just wanna make our parents proud.