Downtown Peterborough piercing studio committed to being a ‘safe space’

Jessie Darling standing in a piercing studio, decorated in bright pinks and oranges, with metallic surfaces and loud designs.
Piercer Jessie Darling in the Pretty Little Prix studio. Photograph by Eddy Sweeney.
Edward Sweeney - CFFF - PeterboroughON | 24-08-2023
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Inside Riverside Tattoo Shop & Skate Shop on Simcoe Street in downtown Peterborough there is a piercing studio that challenges the norms of the body piercing industry in many ways. Pretty Little Prix piercing, run by piercer Jessie Darling, opened in Peterborough in autumn 2022, and has been providing a “safe space” for body piercing for almost a year.

Visually, the Pretty Little Prix studio is a different space than many tattoo and piercing shops; the dark woods and vintage style décor of Riverside Tattoo Shop are replaced with bright pinks, chrome balloons, and stuffed animals.

“I chose pink because, obviously, I thoroughly enjoy pink,” says Darling about the choice of design.

For Darling, colour scheme and choice of decoration is more than just personal preference: the studio was intentionally designed to be loudly feminine. Darling wanted to create a space that welcomes those who may not feel comfortable in the traditionally masculine environments that can be common in the body modification industry.

This attitude of creating a welcoming environment extends beyond the decorations: the studio has repeatedly used the phrase “safe space” in their social media and advertising.

“Our core value at Pretty Little Prix, is to make sure we offer a safe space for body piercing, where all bodies feel welcome, respected, and protected,” says Darling.

And, though being a “safe space” includes ensuring physical safety, this studio extends that safety to include people of all diverse identities.

“When you come into a space and you know that somebody is going out of their way to use your pronouns, or the name you’d like to be called by, or things that people don’t do every day," says Darling, who uses Fae pronouns.

Although Darling doesn’t find anything wrong with piercings being “tough,” it is much more important for Pretty Little Prix to provide a space that inspires “confidence” and makes people feel “beautiful.”

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