Name: Ali Pope
IG: @ali.popex
Studio: Native Rituals

Hi! I'm Ali, and I am a body piercer and studio manager at Native Rituals in Oak Forest, IL. I am nonbinary and I use they/them pronouns.

I have been in the piercing industry for 7 years and a member of the APP for 5 of those. 

I love my job, I love my clients, and have always loved jewelry, especially the explosion of luxury jewelry in body piercing. I love making people happy, and my favorite part of my day is when a client looks in the mirror after a service and absolutely lights up. 

My clients are the bomb and it's such a privilege to do what I do.

When not working, I spend my time with my partner and our three hairless dogs in Chicago. I facet gemstones as a hobby, and stay active through powerlifting and swimming, and helping with LGBTQIA+ events at my gym. I try to do everything I do with passion and with a sense of humor.

Let's get to know Ali a bit more..

1. Where are you from, and what studio do you currently pierce out of?
I am from Chicago, Illinois, and currently work out of Native Rituals in Oak Forest, IL. I began my career in Arlington, TX and relocated to Native Rituals in July of 2016

2. What initially got you into piercing?
I have loved the look of piercings as long as I can remember and I've always been interested in jewelry in general. I began hanging out at the only studio with APP members in my area when I was in college in Texas, and eventually they took me on as counter staff, which transitioned into me being an apprentice. The more I learned about piercing and jewelry, the more I wanted to learn, and it was a natural transition for me.

3. How long have you been in the industry?
I have been in the industry for 7 and a half years!

4. What has been the biggest thing that piercing has taught you so far?
Piercing has taught me to be patient with myself, and how to have difficult conversations. I'm a people-pleaser by nature and it was a huge challenge for me to learn how to tell someone that they may not have the anatomy for something, or that I made a mistake (we're human, things happen!). I love my clients a lot and having to tell someone "no" or "hey, this didn't come out how I thought it would, do you mind if we redo it real quick?" is humbling and challenging. I'm grateful to be in a line of work that forced me to grow in this way.

5. If you could give yourself any advice when you started piercing, what would it be?
The advice I'd give myself is to develop an identity outside of piercing, and boundaries. I absolutely love piercing and it is a significant part of my life. The tough thing is that when you're *so* passionate about something, it becomes an all-consuming, 24/7 thing, and that really isn't healthy for me; I need a work-life balance of sorts. When I first began, I would reply to clients who'd contact me at all hours of the day or constantly go into work on my days off and after hours, and let that take away from other things in my life. Now we see lots of classes and advice on having boundaries and avoiding burnout, and they're so needed. I would have saved myself a lot of stress and guilt and burnout had I been more firm with my boundaries.

6. What aspect do you enjoy most about your job and why?  
(ex. interacting with clients, teaching apprentices, the piercing process, curating ear projects etc.) I LOVE interacting with clients, and seeing the smile on someone's face when they see their new piercing. I know how transformative piercing can be as an experience, and it's such a privilege to be able to facilitate that for people. Even if it's something like a nostril with a simple gem, which every piercer does tons and tons of, sharing the excitement with my client afterward never gets old, seriously. It's also really grounding to remember that while I pierce all day, every day, my client who is getting a piercing likely sees this as a somewhat exciting or special occasion. I never want to take that excitement or trust for granted.

7. What are a couple things you love to do outside of piercing? 
Outside of piercing, I compete in powerlifting and facet gemstones! I also spend time with my partner and our three dogs, and am currently working on my degree in accounting

8. What movie could you watch again and again? 
Oh man, this is hard! Honestly, one of my all time favorite movies is Talladega Nights. I rewatch it whenever I'm having a bad day! That or The Silence of the Lambs, probably!

Ali Pope

Name: Ali Pope
IG: @ali.popex
Studio: Native Rituals

Hi! I'm Ali, and I am a body piercer and studio manager at Native Rituals in Oak Forest, IL. I am nonbinary and I use they/them pronouns.

I have been in the piercing industry for 7 years and a member of the APP for 5 of those. 

I love my job, I love my clients, and have always loved jewelry, especially the explosion of luxury jewelry in body piercing. I love making people happy, and my favorite part of my day is when a client looks in the mirror after a service and absolutely lights up. 

My clients are the bomb and it's such a privilege to do what I do.

When not working, I spend my time with my partner and our three hairless dogs in Chicago. I facet gemstones as a hobby, and stay active through powerlifting and swimming, and helping with LGBTQIA+ events at my gym. I try to do everything I do with passion and with a sense of humor.

Let's get to know Ali a bit more..

1. Where are you from, and what studio do you currently pierce out of?
I am from Chicago, Illinois, and currently work out of Native Rituals in Oak Forest, IL. I began my career in Arlington, TX and relocated to Native Rituals in July of 2016

2. What initially got you into piercing?
I have loved the look of piercings as long as I can remember and I've always been interested in jewelry in general. I began hanging out at the only studio with APP members in my area when I was in college in Texas, and eventually they took me on as counter staff, which transitioned into me being an apprentice. The more I learned about piercing and jewelry, the more I wanted to learn, and it was a natural transition for me.

3. How long have you been in the industry?
I have been in the industry for 7 and a half years!

4. What has been the biggest thing that piercing has taught you so far?
Piercing has taught me to be patient with myself, and how to have difficult conversations. I'm a people-pleaser by nature and it was a huge challenge for me to learn how to tell someone that they may not have the anatomy for something, or that I made a mistake (we're human, things happen!). I love my clients a lot and having to tell someone "no" or "hey, this didn't come out how I thought it would, do you mind if we redo it real quick?" is humbling and challenging. I'm grateful to be in a line of work that forced me to grow in this way.

5. If you could give yourself any advice when you started piercing, what would it be?
The advice I'd give myself is to develop an identity outside of piercing, and boundaries. I absolutely love piercing and it is a significant part of my life. The tough thing is that when you're *so* passionate about something, it becomes an all-consuming, 24/7 thing, and that really isn't healthy for me; I need a work-life balance of sorts. When I first began, I would reply to clients who'd contact me at all hours of the day or constantly go into work on my days off and after hours, and let that take away from other things in my life. Now we see lots of classes and advice on having boundaries and avoiding burnout, and they're so needed. I would have saved myself a lot of stress and guilt and burnout had I been more firm with my boundaries.

6. What aspect do you enjoy most about your job and why?  
(ex. interacting with clients, teaching apprentices, the piercing process, curating ear projects etc.) I LOVE interacting with clients, and seeing the smile on someone's face when they see their new piercing. I know how transformative piercing can be as an experience, and it's such a privilege to be able to facilitate that for people. Even if it's something like a nostril with a simple gem, which every piercer does tons and tons of, sharing the excitement with my client afterward never gets old, seriously. It's also really grounding to remember that while I pierce all day, every day, my client who is getting a piercing likely sees this as a somewhat exciting or special occasion. I never want to take that excitement or trust for granted.

7. What are a couple things you love to do outside of piercing? 
Outside of piercing, I compete in powerlifting and facet gemstones! I also spend time with my partner and our three dogs, and am currently working on my degree in accounting

8. What movie could you watch again and again? 
Oh man, this is hard! Honestly, one of my all time favorite movies is Talladega Nights. I rewatch it whenever I'm having a bad day! That or The Silence of the Lambs, probably!