Name: Melissa Liu
Place of Business and position: Piercings By Wikilea, Owner
Years of piercing experience: 2 years
What is your favorite piercing to perform, and why? Conch piercings are my favorite; they're versatile, can hold massive statement pieces, and my first ever ear project was a triple conch.
What is your least favorite piercing to perform, and why? I find joy in every piercing because of the range of challenges they can individually present. That being said, tongue piercings are my least favorite piercing to perform due to the occasional excess of saliva.
If you could be a professional piercer anywhere in the world, where would it be? CHINA. I'd love to go back to my hometown in Guangzhou and sling some fine body jewelry with my friends.
What is a piercing technique you struggled with and overcame? What was the experience like? It took me longer than I'd like to admit to getting the hand of industrial piercings—the split between finding a technique that suited my style paired with an extreme perfectionist standpoint of self-criticism was challenging to manage. I considered the experience frustrating at the moment, but extremely helpful because it expanded my understanding of each technique and how to work with specific anatomy.
Yellow, White, or Rose Gold? I'm a mixed metal lady! I'd be happy to throw titanium, niobium, and steel into the mix as well.
What hobbies do you enjoy outside of piercing? Virtually all my time outside of the shop consists of me spending time with my animals. Toki, my dog/deer hybrid, is my well-known logo, but my household also consists of two cats, a bearded dragon, a tarantula, and a big ole fish tank! I also enjoy strategizing how to fill my house with as many plants as possible.
What is one thing you would like to say to someone who has been piercing for 1-2 years? Speaking as someone who just recently hit their two-year mark, a distinct memory is someone who told me to slow down and focus on the journey of the needle. There is no need to rush a piercing, and in the moment, it is better to take an extra second to make sure that the needle is precisely where you want it to be.
Daiths. Pierce top-down or bottom-up? I like to do top-down, but if the anatomy calls for a bottom-up, I am happy to oblige.
Favorite piece of jewelry and from where? I have two favorite pieces: A rose gold boulder opal set by my friend Origins Handmade and the Sushi Balloon Piercing logo made by Zadamer.
If you could only perform one piercing for the rest of your career, what would it be? Lobe piercings. Hear me out: y'all know I love my stacked lobe ear projects. I could do them all day, every day.
How do you want your clients to feel when they leave after being pierced by you? Ecstatic. Confident. Filled with self-love.
What is something the piercing community needs? I feel strongly that we need to work together to distribute the wealth of knowledge throughout the entire community, not just through well-known names and private groups. There is a shocking divide between a "good" piercer and a "bad" piercer that needs to be closed. The piercing industry should welcome all folks; modern piercers need to focus on dismantling the detrimental mindset of gatekeeping. There also needs to be a more substantial focus regarding Piercers of Color + International Piercers and our part in both the industry and history. It is frustrating to see how American piercers are held on a pedestal while other countries exhibit fabulous piercers that get less recognition due to region. Piercing is a worldwide phenomenon, and the industry needs to critically address how inclusivity works within our community.
Make sure you follow Melissa on her piercing path!