Cause Celeb highlights a celebrity’s work on behalf of a specific cause. This week, we speak with award-winning New York City tattoo artist and parlor co-owner Michelle Myles and musician-artist Lauren Denitzio about their support for Planned Parenthood.
Myles has set her art on such big names as Joan Jett, Whoopi Goldberg, Vincent Gallo and Boy George. She has been featured on ABC's "The View," MTV’s "TRL" and TLC’s “Tattoo Wars” competition, which she won.
Denitzio has been active in the punk community with her art work and writing, as well as playing in the bands The Measure [sa] and Worriers.
The Planned Parenthood Federation of America, in affiliation with International Planned Parenthood Federation, provides health services such as reproductive health, maternal and child care, and other services relating to pregnancy, abortion and STDs.
Michelle Myles intro and interview by Rich Dally III
Lauren Denitzio intro and interview by Jesse Strauch
Q:Could you tell us a bit about your charitable work and what you are doing to help?
Myles: I support Planned Parenthood because of all the help they offer to women. They offer care, treatment and education to many women who have nowhere else to turn for their health care needs. Every year I donate a tattoo for one of their New York City Planned Parenthood summer fundraiser silent auctions.
Q:What was it that made you want to get involved with this organization?
Myles: I like to support Planned Parenthood because when I was much younger it was the place I turned to for my health care needs that was affordable and safe for a young, starving-artist type. Plus, right now I feel it's especially important to support them while they are coming under a lot of fire from people trying to damage their reputation and discredit the tremendous amount of service they offer to women who have no where else to turn.
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Q: Has your affiliation with PPFA affected your art?
Myles: I look forward to meeting the women who bid on and win the gift certificates I donate to the silent auction every year. I feel like it brings someone in that is a little outside of my customer base that cares about some of the same issues I do.
Q: What do you think people do not know about PPFA that you can show them?
Myles: I don't think people realize the wide range of services that Planned Parenthood offers. Also they are passionate advocates for policies that promote women's health, and promote education.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Myles: This is a vital service for many people who have no where else to turn. It's a safe place that offers essential care and information that might otherwise be out of reach. I read that at least one in five American women turn to Planned Parenthood at least once in their lives.
Q: So Oct. 4th Paper & Plastic Records released the album “Are You With The Band?” that you curated. Could you tell me a little bit the project and how it came to be?
Denitzio: Vinnie [owner of Paper & Plastic Records] approached me with the idea of putting something like that together. He thought that it might be something I would be interested in because I’m connected with a lot of pop punk bands that may not be involved with the label but fit with the sound. From there, it became my job to the find the bands and basically put everything together.
Q: Are there plans for future such releases?
Denitzio: There aren’t right now but we will try and do more.
Q: How did you select the bands to be on the album?
Denitzio: I really just looked for female-fronted bands in the pop-punk scene that I personally liked.
Q: I know that aside from playing in a band that is featured on the album, you also work as an artist. Does any of your work appear in this record?
Denitzio: I did the cover art and a few of the pages.
Q: What made you choose Planed Parenthood?
Denitzio: I gave it some thought but only a little. It was really only Planned Parenthood. With them always in the news about losing funding, it just seemed like they could use the help.
Q: Did you guys tell Planned Parenthood before starting this project?
Denitzio: Ha, ha! No, I don’t think they even know now. We’re just sort of going to make donations to them.
Q: Anything else you would like to add?
Denitzio: Maybe mention that it will come out as a vinyl so the LP booklet will be big, which is cool because the art is a big part of the project.
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