12 Hours in a Tattoo Cave in Paris: Rebranding Life After 50

ALyson Howard Hoag, CEO of Genuist Beauty, gets her 8th tattoo in Paris from Tattoo in Bloom.

A few weeks ago, I found myself underground in a Parisian cave of sorts where I sat for 12 hours having art imprinted on me. The sound of the buzz from the machine was our soundtrack as the artist went to work on her canvas, my body, for well over half a day. As the machine and artist worked in tandem, inking my body with symbols of my life’s greatest pursuits, I had plenty of time to ponder, how did I get here? What started in daylight ended in dark yet by the end of those hours, I was now beaming with color, on me and from within me, and out into the world, my message, that’s been long seared on my heart, and that could now be viewed for the world to see. 

Photography by Matthieu Piriou. Assistant to the photographer Madeline Fuhrman

Tattooed Timelines of My Life

My tattoos are very deliberate. I had 7 leading up to my Paris trip in October and each one tells a different story from my life. I got my first tattoo at 35 when the realization hit me that I wouldn’t be an Olympic athlete or that my first marriage was nearing the end of its course. In a sea of sadness and what ifs, I longed for a life raft of hope. How did I want to live this next chapter of my life when some chapters seemed to slam shut with such force? And onto my body, all those years ago, I had these Olympic words beautifully seared onto my skin. “Citius-Altius-Fortius”, “Faster Higher Stronger”, my rallying cry to myself and the world that I may not be an actual Olympian, but I could live Olympically for the rest of my life. I decided then that every tattoo moving forward was going to be another symbol on my map of living an authentic life.

Seven tattoos later, I knew this new tattoo from Paris would be the penultimate vignette of my life, one that would define who I wanted to be after 50, when the world says women are no longer enough and they often get ignored. This message was going to articulate who I wanted to be in 2023 at age 55 and beyond and also represent a culmination of my entire life’s callings to encourage women of all ages, particularly those 50 and up, to write their own daring and unique narratives. 

Lastly, this tattoo would forever be my reminder to defy the odds and push back against negative norms that hold women back, and that keep us anchored in quicksands of shame, comparisons and not good enoughs. Through inked imagery on my upper arm, this would say to me and to others: 

“Launch your life lavishly and lovingly forward. Live stunningly in the present, older, wiser, beautiful, and brilliant ones. Off we go into epic unknowns as we excitedly strut into our 50s and beyond, fully enough.” 

Photography by Matthieu Piriou. Assistant to the photographer Madeline Fuhrman

The Disruptor of the Scarlet Letter A (Age)

The idea for my new tattoo was a work in progress, and I started envisioning the design after I read an article in the Telegraph titled “Why Women of 40 and 50 are the New ‘Ageless Generation’.” The author of that story said, “The Perennials are ever-blooming, relevant people of all ages who live in the present time, know what’s happening in the world, stay current with technology, and have friends of all ages. We get involved, stay curious, mentor others, are passionate, compassionate, creative, confident, collaborative, global-minded risk takers who continue to push up against our growing edge and know how to hustle. We comprise an inclusive, enduring mindset, not a divisive demographic.” Read more about being a Perennial on our blog here.

Suffice it to say, I left that article feeling absolutely, “Oh Captain My Captain,” stand-on-a-desk, inspired. This Perennial concept of living ageless lives, beyond time, and not bound by the social constructs and stratifications that Scarlet Letter A us because of age, would later become the inspiration of my Parisian tattoo. It would also be a part of the inspiration behind my new cosmetics line, Genuist Beauty, and inspire the designs of my website, marketing, and product packaging too. In fact, this concept stuck with me so much I wanted it permanently on my body and have the flowers represent women blooming into their best lives! 

Perennials & Pinterest 

I started a Pinterest Board six years ago for my Perennial inspired tattoo and much like I do with the Image Journey Makeup Lesson, I collected images of things that inspired me and made my soul sing as I explored this message of being a timeless and ageless Perennial who no longer dreaded turning ages and instead turned bold and daring adjectives year after year. I paid attention to the tattoo artists I was drawn to and looked at hundreds, if not thousands, of different artists’ work. For several years, I searched but no design really won me over.

Then, I started seeing watercolor tattoos and I was amazed at what artists around the world were creating, particularly Korean artists. I thought for sure I could find someone in NYC that could do what I wanted but to no avail. Then, in 2018, I found an artist that does botanical tattoos in Toronto and her work was resplendent. The world noticed her too and her waiting list was gargantuan to say the least.  Her appointment book only opens a few times a year and you must submit your designs to her to be approved for an appointment. Of course, I sent her my inspirations and my Pinterest board to boot, and she declined.

Disappointed but still Olympic with hope, I kept working on my aesthetic knowing that the right tattoo artist would emerge. 

Photography by Matthieu Piriou. Assistant to the photographer Madeline Fuhrman

“Hope blooms when the time is ready.”  – Debasish Mridha

It was during the pandemic that I came across a tattoo artist whose work bloomed from the digital page, and go figure, the artist’s page is called Tattoo Will Bloom. For months, I followed this woman’s work, and with each page visit, I became more and more convinced that this was my girl. Xenia hails from St. Petersburg, Russia and is a talented global ink artist that travels the world creating her tattoo art in major cities such as Paris.

As the months lingered on through the pandemic, I decided to launch Genuist Beauty, a cosmetics line for everyone but particularly for women 40 and up, with products that are easy to use, that produce incredible results and that are made of clean formulas, in environmentally friendly packaging for Perennial women who want to live their best lives and look good while doing that.

Over the many months, I kept viewing her Instagram feed to keep an eye on her available dates and locations of her tour of ink. What is the hard part about being in Atlanta during a hot pursuit of a talented Russian tattoo artist? Logistics! As CEO of a newly founded cosmetics company, Genuist Beauty came first. We launched our new beauty brand in early 2023 and shared with the world our first three products, including the Roller Brow dermaroller with brow enhancing serum, the Roller Brow Defining Pen and the Tiny Liner. Still, the tattoo forever loomed in my thoughts.  

The Sisterhood of the Travelling Tattoo

In the meantime, I came up with the vision for the next 3 Genuist Beauty products that will be launching in 2024, and I continued to pursue Xenia’s Instagram announcements until she announced another stint in Paris. Eventually, the stars aligned, and she was free. She booked my tattoo appointment at noon on a Friday in October and in Paris of all places. How fitting because Genuist Beauty is inspired by French beauty and elegance, and women who are authentically themselves. 

From there, the idea of a photoshoot for Genuist Beauty and our new products just seemed like the next natural fit and my team and I booked our travels for Paris soon thereafter. 

Photography and Video by Matthieu Piriou. Assistant to the photographer Madeline Fuhrman


Once my team and I made it to Paris, we traveled to our hotel, conveniently located just a few blocks away from the place where I would get my tattoo. We dropped off our bags and I met Xenia at the studio that housed international tattoo artists in a Parisian basement that was literally a cave.

Before we began, we chose colors that are in alignment with Genuist Beauty and Xenia mapped out her art on my upper arm. Then, for the next 12 hours, I slept, took breaks, and took some work calls while she created her art. I even listened to Tony Robbins and had a call with my senior leaders too. 

Did it hurt? The tattoo application didn’t hurt, though my arm was a little sore during the healing process, but that only lasted for a short time. Overall, I found the process relaxing, and Xenia’s energy was so centering and calm. As an artist, she was quiet, determined, focused and precise. During breaks, I learned more about Xenia and then she soldiered on with her work.  

Photography by Matthieu Piriou. Assistant to the photographer Madeline Fuhrman


12 hours later, my Perennial tattoo was done. It was midnight and the mood was one of satisfaction, elation, and calm. All was right in my world. I thanked Xenia and it was lovely spending those hours with such a talented soul. I would wear her art proudly on my person for the rest of my life and as I made my way back to the hotel, I couldn’t help but thank the universe for all that had transpired over those hours at just the right time in my life. After that, my time in Paris would be punctuated by photoshoots of our Genuist Beauty products over the next few days but that’s another blog for another time.

When I returned to Atlanta, a friend asked me about the highlights of my trip, and I told her about my Parisian tattoo. She gave me a look. “Think you are too old to get a tattoo,” I asked her. “Think again,” I clapped back. “I got my 8th tattoo in Paris at age 55!”

Photography by Matthieu Piriou. Assistant to the photographer Madeline Fuhrman

What Daring Thing Will You Do, Perennial? 

Are you a Perennial who wants a new tattoo? Or maybe you want to go on a daring adventure, start a new career, take up a new hobby or sport, or redefine what beauty looks like to you now? Whatever your “tattoo” is, I encourage you to do it now, stunning Perennial. Don’t wait.  

One of the easiest ways to get started is to take a look at what resonates with you, and what calls and sings to your heart. We do this work from the inside out and if you haven’t read Sarah Ban Breathnach’s Simple Abundance and Something More, run and don’t walk to your nearest library, bookstore or reading app to explore her work. 

No matter what, I want to encourage you today, right where you are, to continue blooming into your authentic self. This is an ongoing journey that sometimes does take Olympic attitudes and a sprinkle of “Citius-Altius-Fortius” to power on. If the world says you are too old, I say you are only getting started and every leap you take towards authenticity is victory and an Olympic gold. 

Photography by Matthieu Piriou. Assistant to the photographer Madeline Fuhrman

Redefining Beauty After 40

Once you’ve done an emotional deep dive, the practice on the pages of your life begins, and this is a great time to give yourself the gift of nurturing, self care and attention along the way. We created a transformational makeup lesson at Authentic Beauty called the Image Journey that helps you love what you see when you look in the mirror and to create an external image that is a reflection of your authentic, inner self. I cannot recommend this enough. 

As a Perennial taking on an adventurous lifestyle, we also know you want to look polished while you are on-the-go, that is why Genuist Beauty was created. Genuist Beauty’s Roller Brow is a revolutionary brow dermaroller that uses tiny microneedles to infuse damaged skin with a clean, brow-enhancing serum that stimulates dormant hair follicles while addressing previous brow hair damage. Yes, you can get your brows blooming again at 40, 50, 60 and beyond with the Roller Brow

best brows atlanta Authentic Beauty

Authentic Beauty’s Black Friday Holiday Sales Specials Perfect for Perennials  

One other thing, Perennial. We have big beauty sales coming up starting on Black Friday weekend and our Holiday party and one day sale on December 14th that are going to be an absolute, Oh What Fun, blast! Replete with serious savings on our beauty services and products including our new Genuist Beauty products, you really don’t want to miss out.  

Black Friday Weekend Beauty specials in Atlanta at Authentic Beauty

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