Well, okay, so it’s actually her forearm, but we needed to make the headline work. Tattoos play a pivotal role in Jaws, coming at the end of a rare light-hearted moment of bonding on Ora after Quint, Brody and Hooper have finished comparing scars and drinking to one another’s legs.
Brody spots something on Quint’s arm and asks what it is, it is soon revealed to be an old tattoo, from his time onboard the USS Indianapolis. Ashley, 27, lives just over the water from Liverpool in England, in a place called Wallasey.
To get to it you have to take the ‘ferry cross the Mersey’ (like in the song by Gerry and the Pacemakers), but thankfully Ashley has never had the nautical issues Quint has had when taking that trip.
The mum of three – when not watching Jaws – is studying forensic psychology and criminal justice at university (one suspects she didn’t need her degree to tell her that it wasn’t Jack the Ripper that killed poor Chrissie Watkins), although she admits she is only studying that as they didn’t do a degree in “watching big ass sharks do their thing.” (We’d so love to see that as a specialised chosen subject on Mastermind).
So, here is Ashley’s Jaws journey that takes us from the long gone Jaws ride at Universal Florida to swimming with sharks and finally to the tattooists chair, all for the love of Jaws.
The Daily Jaws (TDJ): When did you decide you wanted a Jaws tattoo?
Ashley: I have always been big into tattoos and knew I would always get a Jaws one once I found the right artist and specific one I wanted. I had watched the film so many times that I knew I didn't want a generic Jaws poster scene tattoo. As cool as they are I wanted something a little bit different, and I thought about what part I absolutely adored within the movie.
TDJ: What made you pick the scene that you did?
Ashley: I sat down one night to watch it, and when Bruce spy hopped Brody for the first time whilst he was chumming I got the whole; oh my god I f*****g love this movie moment and knew thats the scene I wanted. In that scene all Brody’s fears were realised and it was (to me) his complete, oh shit moment!
TDJ: It looks a pretty large tattoo, did it take long to complete.
Ashley: The tattoo took nine hours in total, which we did in one sitting, and covers my entire forearm. I decided it would go over an old tattoo on my forearm for everyone to see, if I'm gonna have a sick Jaws tatt, I wanted it somewhere everyone could see it!
TDJ: It must be quite the conversation piece. What sort of reaction do you get from people when they see it?
Ashley: When I first got the tattoo, my parents laughed their heads off and couldn’t believe I’d actually had it done, it had been a talking point of mine for a while and something I think everyone just assumed I wanted but would never actually get. I get a massively mixed reaction from all different types of people. I work in a bar when I’m not in university and I either get the amazed reactions of ‘oh my god, that is incredible!’ & ‘Ughh why would you want a man with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth on your arm?’ or my personal favourite… ‘women shouldn’t get such masculine looking tattoos.’ Those who know me though know it is me all over; I’ve always had a love for Jaws and sharks in general. It’s not the only shark tattoo I’ve got, but it is by far the best! My eldest son absolutely loved it when I got it, my other two were too young to even understand what it was and just know it as mummy’s Bruce, my fiancé absolutely loves it. I think it helps that the artist behind it was absolutely incredible also, a shout out to Rose Price at Crown of Thorns Tattoo, the tattooist behind this amazing piece. Even my grandparents - who absolutely hate tattoos - couldn’t help but love this one I got as they know my love for the film and even took me to Universal Studios Florida multiple times when I was younger so I could go on the Jaws ride and get a feel of the film for myself.
TDJ: Have you always been a big fan of the film? Can you remember when you first saw it?
Ashley: I’ve always had a strange fascination with sharks from a really young age, and in 1999 my grandparents and parents took us to Florida for the first time, where we visited Universal Studios and there in all its glory was the ride, Jaws. Complete with a huge plastic shark hanging from its tail outside the ride. I begged my dad to take me on and he agreed, whilst we were queuing he told me this was based on a film called Jaws and told me all about the film, we went on the ride and I was smitten. All other children on it were screaming about wanting to get off and I was in awe of this huge rubber shark making its way to our boat! I admit did make my dad move me to the middle of the row as the shark got a bit too close for comfort. Once we were home from holiday my dad and I set up the front room and he let me watch Jaws, that’s when I fell in love with the film (although he did skip a few of the more ‘gruesome’ scenes which I didn’t see for a few years afterwards). I remember being in awe of this gigantic shark with a bad attitude and completely besotted with him and the cast!
TDJ: So, like Quint, you’ve got a tattoo, you’ve got Brody on your arm, but it’s fair to say you are a little Matt Hooper as well aren’t you?
Ashley: Yes, I had been diving with sharks in Florida when I was younger, but they were only baby hammerheads baby and lemon sharks, it was free diving in a lagoon and I loved absolutely every second of it! I was actually planning on travelling to South Africa the year before last and had spoken to a company who specialises in great white conservation and they had offered me to join them for three weeks, but as it got closer I just couldn’t leave my children and fiancé for that long. I was absolutely devastated though as it is my dream to work with great whites, even just to see one in person would have been amazing! So two of my friends who knew how gutted I was, decided to book me into a shark dive at a conservation aquarium. I shit myself getting into the tank as their main resident, who was a bowmouth guitar shark, came in at 12 feet - which is a little bit bigger than my 5 ft 1inch frame. He was really inquisitive in the net and bumped me a few times to check me out, which was just a sheer adrenaline rush, he was incredible though! The whole time being underwater was like being on a different planet, it was just unbelievable to see these incredible sharks up close and personal just swimming around doing their own thing. There were also black tip and white tip reefs, a couple of nurse sharks and a big ass grouper who didn’t leave the bottom of the net as soon as it was lowered. My dream is that one day I’ll be able to dive with all different species of sharks again, but mostly the great white. Once I see a great white in person, I will die happy.
Have you got a Jaws tattoo tale that you’d like to share with us? We’d love to see your Jaws tattoos and hear your stories behind them. Even if it does say ‘Mother’.
Ashleigh was interviewed by Dean Newman
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