Some people reach for the stars; others pierce them.
Stephanie Nordyke, 22, a former student at Creston until 2008, left Iowa for California in 2012. She is now a body piercer at Prix, a body piercing and tattoo shop in West Hollywood. There, she pierced celebrities such as actress Jessica Alba and Sharon Osbourne, the wife of singer Ozzy Osbourne.
Nordyke moved to Los Angeles, Calif., in March 2012 with her boyfriend. She began working at Prix, located on the Sunset Strip, and has pierced many celebrities.
“A couple months of living out here, I pierced Joe Perry from Aerosmith and his wife. That was a house call,” Nordyke said. “I guess, at the time, they were working on a new album, and they had had a lot of issues with paparazzi and stuff. So, instead of coming out to the shop, they called for one of us to come there.”
Nordyke described meeting and piercing celebrities as surreal.
“It’s more of a surreal thing at first,” said Nordyke. “Now it’s kind of common, so it’s not as big of a deal.”
Nordyke has been interested in piercing since she was young, when for Creston Middle School Career Day she brought a local piercer to speak.
“(Amy Jo Trenkle Lohoff) was my only influence when I was growing up,” said Nordyke. “She was the one who came in and talked to the class when I was in fifth grade or sixth grade, and she always had her shop open for me when I had questions.”
Lohoff said she still keeps in touch with Nordyke.
“She’s gorgeous. One of the few girls I know whose inner beauty matches the shell,” Lohoff said. “I still keep in contact with her. She actually modeled in one of my House Hotties calendars before moving. I tell her all the time I have to live vicariously through her.”
After graduating high school, Nordyke attended Graceland University for a short time. She then moved to Des Moines and worked at Sacred Skin, a body piercing and tattoo shop, for three months. Sacred Skin is now known as 5 Point Studio.
The owner of Sacred Skin expanded and built another shop in Indiana. Nordyke worked there for three months before moving back to Des Moines and working until she decided to move to Los Angeles.
“That was my big turning point because (the owner’s) name was Earl Ramey. He picked me up as a beginner body piercer when I was 18,” Nordyke said. “But, because of him and being in his shops, I was able to transform the way I pierced.”
Nordyke also worked with piercing artist Leo Ziebol, who currently works for 5 Point Studio.
“Because of him (Ziebol) refining the way I pierced, I was able to have such a top-notch job when I came out to L.A.,” said Nordyke.
Nordyke went through a short apprenticeship while in Des Moines. Her apprenticeship included an in-depth job shadow and internship, and she learned ways to refine her piercing technique. She also took courses in anatomy, CPR, first aid and blood-borne pathogens.
She has considered expanding her knowledge to tattooing as well.
“Hopefully, someday, I would really like to tattoo, but until that opportunity for an apprenticeship opens up, I’m perfectly fine with piercing,” Nordyke said.