SPIZOIKY AKA JOSH MARIO JOHN
As you know, I found Josh Mario John via internet meme in May, you can refresh your memory here. Through the kindness of strangers, I was able to connect with him for this JaBG interview exclusive (I absolutely love the sound of this and it’s my goal to hunt down more people I find interesting and bring them to your eyeholes). I was super curiouso to learn a little more about the man who, you will soon discover, is much more than chiseled features of bearded & tattooed greatness. But he’s still that…too…as well… *ahem* Now, sit back and enjoy my...
J- Well to start, I work for a child welfare agency and am also a practicing clinician, so by virtue of my position I feel that I influence people’s attitudes and ideals in an indirect manner. I speak for myself and don’t let the tattoos define who I am professionally. When it comes to client interactions my experience has been that people are somewhat surprised, but more so relieved to see me, as they feel that I’m more approachable and less judgmental. Further to that tattoos can sometimes be a great start for rapport building.
Were you discovered because of your look, as in this has always been you or did you somewhat create this because you saw an opportunity within a niche market?
J- It’s funny, people also pose questions around “being discovered”; I haven’t had that perceived notion of my experience modeling. Things have just seemed to happen over the past year, and it’s been a lot to do with marketing myself and my own look, not someone else’s. However, I will say that I do appreciate the beard much more than I did 12 months ago! Haha
Can you share an experience where your look was perceived negatively? How did you handle it?
J- I’ve only once ever had a negative experience relative to my tattoos, and it was simply a work related comment made by an individual. I was working jointly with a woman from a government agency (not modeling) and she looked at me (in front of the client), commented on my hand tattoos and smugly said “I’d have never have hired you”; I was taken aback and I didn’t have anything witty to retort with. The funny thing was, that it was the client who spoke up to more or less defend my credibility. It wasn’t till after that I was driving home that her arrogance started to swell within me. It was a frustrating feeling knowing her comment had nothing to do with my experience or credentials, but was soley based on my physical appearance.
I’ve been outspoken about the stereotypes and misconceptions of black women for awhile. There was one instance, not too long ago, the sparked the rebirth of my blogging career. Racism is everywhere and seems to be more out in the open than ever before since social media has given a platform to any and everyone to sound off. Was there any moment you can recall where you made the conscious decision to advocate for tattooed individuals in professional settings?
J- The above mentioned incident didn’t spark the decision for me, but more so reinforced it for me. My initial motivation had come out of people telling me “you shouldn’t do that” or “you won’t be able to get a good job” etc.. I found the concept ridiculous, and was not willing to accept that decisions with respect to my own body now had to be based upon some arbitrary vocational expectation or parameter. So I said fuck it, I’m going to do what I want with my body, and I’m going to educate and tool myself for success, so that when I’m speaking with someone that the tattoos fade into the background, and that it’s me commanding the situation.
How do you explain to someone facing this issue how to “wear” their tattoos so it’s not defining you in a professional atmosphere?
J- Well it’s simple, take any person, tattooed or not…if you aren’t professional, if you don’t dress professional, then people won’t perceive you as being a professional. if you let the tattoos define you, then they will. Being heavily tattooed in a professional atmosphere isn’t the issue, it’s an issue when people let their tattoos do the talking, where they intentionally draw attention to them and force the issue. I don’t necessarily “hide” my tattoos, but i also don’t make them my focal point at work… Yeah they are there, but I still keep it classy. But at the end of the day, someone who is intelligent, excels at their job, and ultimately delivers can will be defined by that, not a tattoo
I hear a racial slur directed toward me every few weeks in this city. It doesn’t even offend me anymore, which is a horrible thing to say. No person should “get used to” racism. It does make me sad for those growing up, learning from these individuals. Is there any treatment you’ve received that still surprises you even though we live in 2014?
J- Relative to your experience, I haven’t had much of significance; but I can say that I do find it funny that people let a “job” define how they live their lives and define themselves
Are you able to differentiate good admiration from the insincere? An example: Black women are a fetish to some men. I’ve experienced it too many times. The majority of my dating life has been in interracial unions. But there’s always that one conversation that comes up about race where I realize this person doesn’t want me, Arianne, because of our common interests, our ability to learn from each other, my personality, my sense of humour…you catch my drift. This person wants to experiment with a black girl. I’m a body that fits their fantasy. Have you ever dealt with something similar?
J- Can’t say that I’ve experienced that directly; but indirect sure! I see all the beard and tattoo memes out there… Sure there are bearded and tattooed men out there who are just waiting to fall prey to someone’s “experiment” haha
Was psychology always an interest of yours? Can you explain “Experimental Psychology” in Layman’s terms for us (ahem…or just me, haha)?
J- Haha in post grad psychology there are different streams, i.e forensic, clinical….experimental psychology was my choice as I wanted the degree, but knew I didn’t want to practice as a psychologist/associate. So with experimental I had a little more freedom with my direction, and got to avoid all the ethics/placement nastiness!!
What did you want to do with your degree? Are you doing it now?
J- I had no idea! Just knew I wanted masters, and wanted to make money! Haha – I do have a job where it is a minimum requirement, so I guess I’m one of the few psych students who will ever use their degree directly ahahaha